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Wayyyyyy OT - the dress color debate

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  • Wayyyyyy OT - the dress color debate

    I only post this here because I know (most) of you here to be rational thinkers.

    I'm sure that you have heard about the controversy about the colors of a dress posted on the Internet. I will not trouble the BBS by linking to the image - you can find it yourself with your favorite search engine.

    I bring this up because I saw the colors as gold and white rather than blue and black. I even printed the image and saw the same thing. My wife saw blue and black and my daughter saw gold and white. Somebody is crazy?

    I was able to see the image in blue and black if I viewed with my peripheral vision, but not straight on.

    Later on, after working for some time on a document at the computer, I got up to do something else and as I passed by, happened to glance at the printout. What!!! Sudden Stop. I turned, and looked straight-on and the image of the dress was blue and black! Who is crazy now?

    Now - still later - the image is back to gold and white.

    Curiouser and curiouser.....
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  • #2
    Grau, theure freund,ist alles theorie, und groen das lebens goldner baum.

    In English. Go take a walk in the snow. Feel your heartbeat while the snot freezes.


    • #3
      I had a physics book that described how the human eye discerns colors, and had a picture of the American flag with green and black stripes, and black stars on a yellow background. If you stared at it for a while, and then looked away or closed your eyes, you would see it in the correct colors. The eye becomes conditioned to a color and loses sensitivity, so that when the stimulus is removed, it sees the opposite color. Thus the red/green and blue/yellow inversion. The black/white involves all of the receptors.
      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
      USA Maryland 21030


      • #4
        Never forget that the reality you experience is filtered heavily by your brain! I had a similar experience to Weston Bye - colors flop between white and gold and blue and dark brown/black depending on how much of the photo I'm seeing, etc.

        In reality, the dress is blue and black:


        • #5
          Some of it is likely to be the eye/brain, mixed with what color you THINK the lighting in the picture is.

          The rest of it is a bit fake, due to the brightness of the image. If you take the image, and adjust the brightness, it will go through pretty much all the color combos that people report.

          A very lightened image will tend to show such a light blue that it is assumed by the eye/brain to be white that is affected by outside lighting.

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan


          • #6
            This is a pretty good explanation ... with a surprising conclusion (for me anyway).



            • #7
              This is the sort of **** that happens when there are no (American) football games to watch on the telly.
              Errol Groff

              New England Model Engineering Society

              YouTube channel:


              • #8
                Roughly how long have you been taking LSD, it seems some is getting in my tea too, or it may be the mushrooms I picked


                • #9
                  The time to worry is when you don't know you're confused but if you don't know you're confused, you don't know there's anything to worry about. Is there some sort of problem here?


                  • #10
                    There's a bunch of photos of the dress out there but the one that is making everyone crazy is this one.


                    The colors reproduced by the camera are so bad there's no way to know what color the dress is. I would have to remove it from the wearer and analyze it with a spectral tool.


                    • #11
                      How we humans see and perceive color is a complicated subject. Although there are instruments that can measure a given color down to many decimal places, the human eye is not one of them. There are many factors that can influence the color that a person "sees". They include the lighting, the visual environment, the recent history of their viewing, and how their brain interprets what the eye is sending to it. Since this is over the internet, add to that the computer used and how it processes color AND the monitor on that computer and how it is set up. And these are just the ones that come immediately to mind.

                      As a TV engineer I had to set-up and match color cameras for my whole career. If there were three or more cameras on a "shoot" then they had to show "true" colors and, even more importantly, MATCH each other as closely as possible. This was not an easy job with earlier cameras that used tube type pickups (vidicon and plumbican tubes). My first consideration was the room and it's lighting. Then I needed a high quality picture monitor that was properly set up FOR MY EYES. Then, and only then, could I proceed to try to properly set the colors on the cameras and to match them to each other.

                      The room lighting is important because different types of lighting have different color temperatures (basic colors). White is not just one color. White is how a white surface looks under the existing lighting. The type of ambient light has a large effect on this. Of course, you can have different "white" surfaces and some are better than others. Some cost a lot of money for just a white card. The kicker in this is that the human eye, or at least the brain behind it, will try to see objects of a known color in their proper colors. So, skin will look like skin, even if the light is colored with another color. You adapt your visual processes to make what you "know" to be true, true.

                      Other factors in the visual environment can have an effect. If there are a lot of red objects in your field of view, they will tend to make a white object look more blue-green. Likewise for other colors. Basically this means that your eye/brain combination may not adapt perfectly to the surrounding lighting conditions.

                      If you recently looked at a colored image or scene, then your eyes have probably adapted to that colored vision. It will take time for them to change. In that time interval, you can see some strange colors. This is a combination of a short term and a longer term effect so it can be confusing.

                      Many modern computers attempt to "correct" the colors you see on the screen. If you look at your display driver, you may see these features. They may not be properly set up and may distort some or all colors.

                      Finally, each display device (screen) will have it's own unique set of differences in how it displays colors. In my TV days, I found that even the professional display monitors that cost tens of thousands of dollars could show differences between two identical models that only differed by one digit in their serial numbers, could show differences in their side by side display of the same picture after the most careful set up possible. Believe me, I spent hours trying to match a pair and there was always some scene that showed a small difference. Thus, mass produced displays that only cost a few hundred dollars will also show differences, some large and some small. But there will be differences.

                      I do not find it the least bit surprising that these dresses, which probably also play tricks with the light, appear to be different colors to different people. No surprise at all. In fact, I would be surprised by the opposite.
                      Paul A.
                      SE Texas

                      Make it fit.
                      You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


                      • #12
                        That's the same picture, but a totally different brightness. That one is obviously the color the designer says it is (black and blue).

                        There are other pictures floating around which pick up the shiny highlights on the lace, which seem to be reflected yellow-gold, and THOSE pictures are "designed" to show up very light blue (or maybe white with a reflection) and gold, apparently by lightening up the colors, or possibly correcting the picture by selecting the blue and saying it should be white.

                        I just took the linked one, and adjusted the brightness and contrast etc, until it would look nearly any way I want.

                        Basically, there are so many versions floating around that your chances of seeing the same one as another person are probably nil by now.

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan


                        • #13
                          My understanding is the picture I linked is the original and only significant image in the debate. Other images will look different. It is useful to know that the linked image looks nothing like the actual dress. It can't be known why but it may be a simple as a low battery in the camera.

                          Here's a photo series I took at a party in South Dakota during Sturgis week. The last few pictures faded because the camera battery was going dead. The last photo isn't shown because it wasn 't recorded.


                          That was a hell of a fun ride, too, cuz we took the long way from Seattle to Sturgis. It starts here:

                          Hard to believe that was 15 years ago - I still have the bike.


                          • #14
                            save the image to your computer and then view it with a credible photo manipulation software like PaintShopPro etc. Adjust the brightness up and down. normal will be blue and black. When you get to the max bright it will appear gold and white....If your printer printed's not working correctly


                            • #15
                              Reality is only a persistent illusion.

                              White is what the brain expects, as are the other colors.

                              You can change your reality just by "talking" to yourself.

                              Words are THAT powerful.

                              Try for yourself, don't take my mention of it as anything but more illusion.