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Carol the Dabbler

The Dress (color perception)

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3 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I now think that's the whole key -- it's not black at all, it's a very dark brown.

 

1 hour ago, Caya said:

 

You're saying no because the manufacturer refers to the color as black?  I don't consider that an airtight refutation, because a lot of "black" things (e.g., black cats and licorice whips) are actually a very dark brown -- but they're *so* dark that it's traditional to refer to them as black.

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Nah, I'm saying so because, in a pic with proper lighting and camera, the original dress is quite definitely black and blue:

https://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/thedress

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Well, the first picture is not like that because of the lighting, it has nothing to do with the colors of the actual dress, which would NEVER look like this in RL. It's just bad Photoshop.
 

I tried it myself with the image from Amazon - after letting the automatic filter to balance all the blue in the picture, that's what I got:
dresssales28f-4-web.jpg

If I make it lighter, because it seems too dark, I'll get this. Looks familiar?
dresssales28f-4-web.jpg

And I haven't even started with special effects yet. :D

And OF COURSE, the other mentioned picture looks different because it was taken with a different camera in a different light and processed by different people with different tastes for colors. 

 

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1 hour ago, Caya said:

Nah, I'm saying so because, in a pic with proper lighting and camera, the original dress is quite definitely black and blue: 

https://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/thedress

Right, and in a picture with good lighting and camera, a black cat will look black.  But if you photograph the individual hairs with strong backlighting, they're dark brown.  There are very few actual black things in nature.  Of course The Dress may be dyed with chemical dyes, which may produce an actual black.  But I tend to doubt it.

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I think we've strayed off the original point, though, which is that some people see this picture:

On 9/3/2019 at 8:43 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

The_Dress_%28viral_phenomenon%29.png

and accurately identify it as a blue and black dress. So it doesn't matter whether the image is photoshopped or not ... some people still manage to see blue and black (or blue and dark brown).

I didn't find the "scientific explanation" very satisfactory, by the way. I'd be more convinced by an argument that involves the function of rods and cones in different people's eyes, for example. But I accept that some people accurately identify the dress as blue and black, based on this photo ... as impossible as it seems to me.

We may also mixing up the difference between light and pigments. Carol's right that there's no truly white or black pigments. They all have a color cast of some kind. But there is "true" white light (which is all the colors at once) ... and "true" black is the absolute absence of light. Which probably isn't a significant factor in this case, but it's fun to point it out. :-) 

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I accept that some people accurately identify the dress as blue and black, based on this photo ... as impossible as it seems to me.

Actually, the "impossible" thing is that some people can look at a photo of a dress that's OBVIOUSLY some shade of light blue and some very dark color, and see white and gold.  I mean, even my (literally) color-blind husband sees light purple and dark brown.

You guys are pulling my leg, right?

 

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Well, you have to differentiate between seeing and interpretation of what you see.
The question was not "what colors do you see?" but "what color is this dress?" First is about seeing, second is about an interpretation.

I see light blue and brownish. But by the overexposed background, the picture suggests, it was taken on a  bright sunny day and the dress is in a shadow. Because of my experience with photography, I know that on sunny days shadows are always bluish and usually make white appear as blue, I interpret it as white and some kind of brown (grey minus blue will give you brown as I showed with my experiment with the pic from Amazon)
Here is another explanation https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/02/27/if-it-isnt-llamas-its-dresses/

This is by the way, what your brain makes all the time without your knowing - adjusting colors. :D
 

PS: Do you see that squares A and B are of the same color? :P

Checker_shadow_illusion.svg


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_shadow_illusion

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6 hours ago, J.P. said:

Do you see that squares A and B are of the same color?

Not really.  I see what you're getting at, but I opened the image in a separate tab (which makes it really big) and made a pasteboard mask to block out everything except the centers of those two squares, and A still looks somewhat darker than B.  Maybe it has to do with my settings?

But even if my eyes did see the two squares as the same color, I'm sure my brain would insist that A is really darker than B, which looks dark only because it's in a shadow.  Which I assume was your point.

6 hours ago, J.P. said:

I see light blue and brownish. But by the overexposed background, the picture suggests, it was taken on a  bright sunny day and the dress is in a shadow. Because of my experience with photography, I know that on sunny days shadows are always bluish and usually make white appear as blue, I interpret it as white and some kind of brown (grey minus blue will give you brown....

Are you saying that the bright background, together with the shadow that the dress is apparently in, combined to create an optical illusion -- at least for some people?

I've read somewhere that certain optical illusions are culturally biased.  For example, people (e.g., you and I) who are surrounded in their everyday life with rectangles will see certain images as rectangles-seen-from-an-angle, whereas people who live in a more natural setting will see them as their actual shape (trapezoids or whatever).  Maybe the woman who made the infamous photo of the dress accidentally created one of those illusions.  Which may be kinda what you and that article are both getting at.

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First of all - making this picture into science is BS. It's based on a bad, washed-out image, seen on different monitors that may show colors very differently. Secondly, the crucial question is what people were asked for in the original posting. Because if you asked me about the colors and not about the dress, I would say bluish and greyish, because it's what I see. But because you asked for the dress, I forgot about what I actually see and told you what I think I see.

And before they start making assumptions about physiology and psychology of participants, they should ask a simple question: how often have you made photos in your life or are you a visual artist. I bet my socks it's the main factor. This would also explain why older people don't have this bias. Photography was much seldom a hobby before smartphones and digital cameras - and it's quite likely older ppl had less contact with this technology.

PS. Even if a part of the illusion is thinking, it mostly happens beyond the conscious (as the example with the checkered field shows). Because initially, I could hardly imagine the dark color could be anything near black, now I can. Because I know it is. :D

9 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

A still looks somewhat darker than B.  Maybe it has to do with my settings?

If you mean settings in your brain - yes. :P

1*Nde_wHxuhjvG5BS45KKnEQ.png

The picture we have about the world outside only partially is made of what we see. AFAIK it's not even the half. The rest is imagination, or what our brain assumes it sees - based on former experience. Otherwise, any kind of visual arts, probably including photography, wouldn't be possible.

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On 9/7/2019 at 12:27 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

You guys are pulling my leg, right?

Nope. The only way I can see the "gold" color as a dark color is to squint so much that everything looks dark. And even then it doesn't look black or dark brown, just medium-gray. I do have the brightness turned up high on my monitor, so that might be a factor. But didn't one of those articles say they took that into account somehow?

On 9/7/2019 at 1:42 PM, J.P. said:

PS: Do you see that squares A and B are of the same color?

Not unless they're next to each other. Law of contrasts.

13 hours ago, J.P. said:

The picture we have about the world outside only partially is made of what we see. AFAIK it's not even the half. The rest is imagination, or what our brain assumes it sees - 

That's a good point. For example, I know my beginning art students really struggle with drawing in perspective … because the brain is so good at interpreting what the eyes see, they have trouble seeing what the eyes actually see. In other words, if they look at a scene like this:

4gHjvsw.jpg?1

they have a tendency to draw something like this:

QyzWYiY.jpg

because their brain (quite accurately) understands that roof and the floor, which photograph as "slanted" perspective lines, are actually parallel to each other. (Can't blame them; I'm getting confused just trying to describe the phenomenon.) So they draw what they know, instead of what they see. My illustration is a bit extreme, but hopefully you see my point. I'm sure other factors are involved as well, but it's interesting how consistently "newbies" struggle with it. I was trained to draw in perspective, and I use it often, so it now comes rather naturally to me; because I "know" the slanted lines are actually "correct." (Huh? :smile:)

 

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