Color Perception: THE DRESS

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What colors does the dress appear to you ?

Gold and White
4
31%
Blue and Black
6
46%
Something Else {please elaborate}
3
23%
 
Total votes : 13

Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on February 28th, 2015, 12:02 pm 

For those who may not have heard this one yet, here's THE DRESS that's rapidly becoming an internet meme and a scientific curiosity both.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/27/health/sc ... index.html

Image

The designer of the dress apparently stumbled across not one but two colors whose precise tints serendipitously straddled a critical perception/interpretation threshold for the rods and cones in the human eye. Some people see the dress clearly and unambiguously as gold and white, and others see it with equal clarity as blue and black, and you can imagine some of the strain among friends and strangers such radically differing perceptions about something so everyday and innocuous have caused.

For example, my Wife sees it as Gold and White, and I see it as Blue and Black. I'd be curious to see if there is any gender or racial fluctuation in the results, or if eye color plays any role ... something that will doubtless undergo future study.

Anyway, it's fun scientific curiosity. Enjoy.
Last edited by Darby on February 28th, 2015, 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on February 28th, 2015, 12:09 pm 

{image merged into post above}
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby mtbturtle on February 28th, 2015, 12:11 pm 

I've seen it as both but first and mostly and the photo above as blue/black.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on February 28th, 2015, 12:14 pm 

Remember to vote.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on February 28th, 2015, 8:07 pm 

I see blue and black. Wife sees gold and beige.

We are gobsmacked by the weirdness. Thanks, we will definitely be following any further study. You could wear the dress (or male sartorial equivalent) at Halloween and say you're dressed as a phenomenologist. You'd get some funny looks, no doubt.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on February 28th, 2015, 8:44 pm 

Sorry for the poll question borkage.

Moderator : pls eliminate choices 4 & 5 ... thx.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby doogles on February 28th, 2015, 9:11 pm 

I'm absolutely gob-smacked too because I see it as blue and black (well, actually blue and dark grey), but my wife sees it as black and white.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BioWizard on February 28th, 2015, 9:51 pm 

I see blue and black. The lady sees white and gold. Does there appear to be a bit of a gender bias, at least in this thread? Or just random coincidence due to small sample size? This is very interesting!

Seemingly plausible hypothesis: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/science-on ... lor-dress/
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BioWizard on February 28th, 2015, 10:20 pm 

it appears that, when seen in reality - rather than in that picture, the dress is decidedly "blue" and "black".
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BadgerJelly on March 1st, 2015, 6:39 am 

Gold and white plain as can be! Interesting.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Positor on March 1st, 2015, 10:30 am 

To my eyes, most of the dress is approximately of the following two shades:

Vista blue and Café Noir.

The wide band at the top has a tinge of dark gold, similar to golden brown, but slightly greyer and darker.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on March 1st, 2015, 10:34 am 

Well, I guess the rest of you gents are eunuchs, because the round curves of that derriere are making me see RED. ;-)

j/k
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2015, 10:40 am 

Ha, inappropriate! Also, creepy.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 1st, 2015, 10:44 am 

So those of us seeing blu/black have more blue cones. Cool. This explains a lot, in terms of my wife's finding blue a less exciting color than I do. And our different perceptions, often, of colors that have some blue in them....many paint choice debates make more sense.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2015, 10:47 am 

Braininvat » 01 Mar 2015 09:44 am wrote:So those of us seeing blu/black have more blue cones. Cool. This explains a lot, in terms of my wife's finding blue a less exciting color than I do. And our different perceptions, often, of colors that have some blue in them....many paint choice debates make more sense.


I'm hapy about this example reaching such popularity. It'll come in handy in future discussions, particularly where people require a little perspective on perspective.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on March 1st, 2015, 11:00 am 

The thing I find especially fascinating here is the criticality of the tints needed to trip the perception thresholds in our eyes, and that said results differ depending on our genetic heritage.

In other words, those of us who are not entirely colorblind can and will nearly always agree that a more typically encountered shade of blue (ex: cobalt blue sky blue, blueberry blue, etc.) appears blue to all of us, but that the precise tint of blue used in this dress does not appear as blue to a significant percentage of us ... therein lies the root of the furor.

To quote the late Spock, "Fascinating".

BioWizard » March 1st, 2015, 9:40 am wrote:Ha, inappropriate! Also, creepy.


In my defense, I feel obliged to point out that the poll results are, in fact, displayed in red. ;)
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on March 1st, 2015, 11:23 am 

I'll be curious to see if the effects of the tints at work here can be reliably replicated in say, interior house paint. If it can, then I suspect they're going to become popular.

Image
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby zetreque on March 1st, 2015, 2:52 pm 

I discovered at a young age that one of my eyes sees more blue than the other eye under just the right lighting and circumstances.

I'd be interested to know if anyone sees a different color depending on which eye they look at it with.

I see blue black in both cases though. It might have something to do with people's monitors also. Monitors can vary a lot on the output of color and light. (of course other than those of you with the wife looking at the same monitor)
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Watson on March 1st, 2015, 2:57 pm 

I wasn't able to vote but blue/gold, depending on which picture I see.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Watson on March 1st, 2015, 3:28 pm 

I have heard several explanations for this. I think it is a somewhat reflective material so the spectrum of light coming off may influence the color we see.
Image
It is the same for me with either eye.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 3rd, 2015, 2:35 pm 

My daughter showed this to me and it's so clearly goldish/tan and off-white to me that she told me she saw blue and black, I suggested a trip to the eye doctor for her. My question is: is it the actual dress or the photograph itself or photographing of the dress, or the viewing of it on a computer/tablet/phone screen the dress that causes this difference in colour perception?
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 3rd, 2015, 7:35 pm 

Reportedly the actual dress is blue-black, so it has something to do with color scales being rendered in a photo. In rea life, where external light is reflecting off the cloth, there is enough blue to activate enough blue cones in most any retina.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Watson on March 3rd, 2015, 7:39 pm 

There was also an expert using the run setting redishness to explain the change, but I'm afraid I didn't get a clear grasp of his meaning. safe to say, you don't need an eye doctor.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 3rd, 2015, 7:45 pm 

Z - my left eyes sees colors a bit more bluish than my right eye. Huh. I suppose it would be rare for the cone balance to be so different in one person that their eyes would split the vote on the scottish dress. What would the brain do in such a case? Make some weird blend?
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 6th, 2015, 1:12 am 

I'm a visual artist and have worked in digital media for about 7 years. So I copied and pasted a version of the controversial photo of the dress into a graphics program called GIMP. When I used the colour picker tool (which samples a colour under the cursor and matches it on a spectrum) on various places of the image. The colour matches were a dull range of light to medium blue-greys (where the actual dress would be royal blue) and beiges (where the actual dress would be black). These colour matches are the colours I see when I look at the photo of the dress, as opposed to the dark blue and dark or blackish colours others are seeing. This means that the photo is a poor/ colour-distorted representation of the actual garment.

(By the way, I also put the controversial dress photo through various adjustments for colour, saturation and value curves and levels. In order for the colour picker tool to return hues that matched the actual colours (blue/black) value had to be darkened and saturation had to be increased.)

The dress in the photo is much lighter in value and far less colour saturated than the dress as seen in news videos and other photos. Hence it seems logical that those able to perceive the relatively true hues and darker values (blue/black) are somehow able to extrapolate beyond what's given in the photo, while others (like me) lumpishly see only what's given. Another explanation could be that when faced with visual ambiguity some people tend to translate it as darker and deeper, while others (like me) see things lighter and duller. Sort of a glass half full, glass half empty response.

On one hand I wish I were among the camp that sees more than what's there in the image, but on the other, as an artist, I'm glad to know that at least in this case, my brain is not fooling my eyes.

As to how this particular photo came to be so different from the real life dress, without knowing anything about the camera or whether the image was photoshopped, I can only guess that the shiny texture of the fabric combined with it being shot in a relatively brighter or backlit background led to auto-correct camera features kicking in (or the photographer resorting to photoshop), which shifted the hues and value.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby vivian maxine on March 6th, 2015, 11:57 am 

Looks blue and brown to me and the brown is not a solid color. May have some gold or tan mixed in.

All that said, though, colors don't always photograph true. Do they?
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby BioWizard on March 6th, 2015, 1:18 pm 

There's definitely an extrapolation element to it. I mean, do see the "faux" colors, but I do interpret these are being the result of altered lighting/shading on what my brain ultimately perceives as a blue/black dress.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 6th, 2015, 2:24 pm 

Hence it seems logical that those able to perceive the relatively true hues and darker values (blue/black) are somehow able to extrapolate beyond what's given in the photo, while others (like me) lumpishly see only what's given.
- MsK.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by extrapolating beyond, in this context. I just plainly see blue and brown as what is given by the photo in the OP. On another website, the brown was a bit darker, like dark chocolate. But the blue seems consistent. It still amazes me that the blue parts could look white to someone.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 6th, 2015, 4:35 pm 

Think of the colour picker tool as serving a similar measuring function and accuracy as a carpenter's level, a light meter, or a plumb line, etc. It is relatively neutral. When I clicked the colour picker tool on part of the dress in the controversial photo that appeared light brown/beige or goldish to me, the software showed me a marker on yellow end of the spectrum within the less saturated, lighter to medium values for that hue. When I clicked on the same place on the dress in an entirely different photo of it, which depicts the colours as would be seen in real life (black and royal blue), the colour picker marker fell in the blue spectrum within the more saturated, darkest values. So, according to the colour picker, and other hue and value measurements I took on the controversial image, the pictured hues and values are actually in the goldish/ light-brownish and whitish/ light blue-grey range -- just as I and many people in the gold/white camp see them. Anyone who runs the colour picker test, including people who perceive the dress in the controversial photo as blue/black would obtain roughly the same results from colour picker and other graphics measurements. For the blue/black camp there would be a striking disparity between their perception of the colours and the muddy, dim, dull counterparts measured by the colour picker (and seen by the gold/ white camp).

The brain fills in for missing or ambiguous information all the time, such as with the blind spot in our visual field. Somehow people in the blue/ black camp could be taking in the bad lighting conditions in the photo and seeing through the bad photography to perceive the actual rather than the depicted colours. It's possible the gold white camp are likewise mentally improving on the drab palette of the controversial photo, going from light grey-blue to starched white and from baby poop hues to an attractive camel or gold colour. There is no doubt that there is a certain something about the controversial photo of the dress that is just confusing enough to cause the brains of many to enter compensation mode.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 6th, 2015, 6:32 pm 

So this is as much neurological as it is pigments in the retina. It's starting to make sense. Makes me wonder about the people who write the software for the color picker - are there fights breaking out between them over these areas along a hue gradient?
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