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

Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 7th, 2015, 10:52 am 

Colour pickers are fairly standard in graphics software. To be scientific, I could load the dress photo into photoshop, ArtRage and SketchbookPro. I'm pretty sure it would be dull blue-greys and baby poo hues all around.

I think it's fascinating that I see what is there but you see what should be there (without all of the there there). This is seeing as visualizing.

Another thing, I cut and pasted a small piece of the dress containing the two main colours as a new GIMP image. I suspected people in both the blue/black, gold/white camps would see roughly the same palette. So far two members of my family (blue/ black believers) and I (gold/white camp) see the same blah mid-tones in the cut and pasted section of the dress, no black no royal blue. I believe the context/ background of the dress is what causes the ambiguity that triggers the brain to fill in the blanks.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Dave_C on March 7th, 2015, 1:16 pm 

I don't understand how this has anything to do with science or color perception at all. Am I the only one?

Here's a similar set of photos of the dress as seen in the OP's CNN video:

Image

CNN shows a similar set one minute in. The original picture is in the center.
The one on the left had +40% contrast and +40% brightness which makes it look more white and gold.
The one on the right had +40% contrast and -30% brightness so it looks more black and blue.

If you take the photo in the OP and put it on your desktop, you can do the same thing by opening it with Microsoft Office Picture Manager (or whatever program you have) and adjusting the contrast and brightness. You can do that to any photo that has a tinge of blue or some other very light color in it and another color that's very dark and you get the same results. Take my word for it, I wasted too much time doing this. Or do it yourself. Find a picture with some tinge of color and move around the contrast and brightness.

Isn't all this all about how apparent colors change when you stick them in a photo editor and tweak the contrast and brightness? How does that have anything to do with color perception? I'm lost...
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 7th, 2015, 2:20 pm 

Dave_C, 'the dress' has become a topic for scientists because some people see the original photo (the one in the centre of your photo above) as blue and black, without altering the image in photoshop. Two people seeing just the centre image of the dress on the same screen (phone, tablet or computer) will perceive the hues as either one of the two leftmost, lighter dresses pictured in your photo (gold and white or tan and light blue), or as the rightmost darker picture (brownish-black and blue.) The former group of people are seeing colours presented in the centre photo, while the latter are seeing colours that are quite different from the original photo. Somehow those who see the dress as blue/blackish are able to visually and/or mentally compensate to perceive the intended colour of the dress (black/ royal blue). This is curious.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Braininvat on March 7th, 2015, 4:02 pm 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jexnhNfOzHg


Dave, this really helps. (thanks to MsK. for posting this elsewhere)
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Dave_C on March 7th, 2015, 4:27 pm 

Thanks for that MsK, BiV. I kinda get it I suppose. Would it be correct to say, "People will say something's a certain color based not only on the actual color but also depending on surrounding colors and ... " (something else, not sure what it is)?

I don't see the dress as blue and black and I wouldn't say it's white and gold. Looks like a grayish, kinda dingy light blue with dark bands that have a tinge of tan or copper or gold.

This reminds me of when I was a toddler and my best friend from across the street had "red" hair. I kept telling him it was orange. Definately not red! I think he might have been insulted, so eventually I agreed it was red.

I voted "something else".
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 7th, 2015, 5:46 pm 

Hee hee Dave_C. I see the drab colours exactly as you described them and red hair is ORANGE.

And yes, I'm not a scientist, but people perceiving the extrapolated colours, rather than the drab ones in the original photo, definitely has something to do with context (lighting in this case). Whether one falls into the drab camp, the gold/white camp or the blue/black camp, it seems that some of us see only what's given, some of us embellish what's given and some extrapolate from the subject and context to arrive at the actual colours. This poses several questions across the fields of optics, neurology and maybe psychology, which is pretty cool.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Dave_C on March 8th, 2015, 9:25 am 

Hi MsK. I see you're an artist so you must appreciate variations in color, the subtle differences, what bits of color are mixed in, etc... not sure how an artist would put it exactly. I think what you said here though begs a question, "... some of us see only what's given, some of us embellish what's given and some extrapolate from the subject and context to arrive at the actual colours."

I suspect we all see essentially the same colors. Unfortunately, that experience is subjective in nature, what's known as a phenomenal experience in philosophy. The brain assigns a meaning to those experiences. In other words, our brain has to take into account the amount of light available, so at dusk for example when snow might take on a bluish gray appearance, our brains adjust the meaning of that perception according to our experiences with snow and ambient lighting. The brain then assigns a meaning to the perception which allows you to believe what you are looking at is white rather than simply assigning the actual color which we subjectively experience.

I suspect that's all that's going on here. I suspect people all experience the same drab colors, but our brains try to interpret those colors (ie: assign meaning to them). Being the picture is of a dress, it could be the lighting in the photo is off so some people think the actual dress is white/gold while others assign blue/black to what they are experiencing, perhaps believing that those particular colors in the photo don't make sense for a dress. They are too drab so they must be some other color that's being affected by ambient lighting.

A more interesting question to me is whether or not people can all describe the colors they perceive without embelishing. Can people describe the shade of blue as drab, light, slightly gray, etc... ? From all the argument, it seems they can't.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby msklystron on March 8th, 2015, 11:40 am 

Dave_C, what you describe fits with what is happening when people look at the dress photo. Whiteness is a quality of snow, but a dress can be any colour. Also adding to the ambiguity is that this is a photo. The other senses receive no information that would help to sort out the lighting. It's also a bad photo, which has been altered in hue, value and saturation (probably some auto-correct feature), but we don't necessarily know this when initially confronted with the photo. The background of the photo gives us very few clues as well. It's just whitish and bright with the odd colourful shape. If there were a tree in the background, for instance, we would have the green of foliage to judge against the dress colour. The dress photo presents us with a visually high-ambiguity puzzle.

If most first see the true drab colours, it's for such a brief time (or the information is quickly mentally discarded) for the blue/black camp that they will claim not to have ever seen anything but blue and black. Shown the drab colour picker samples, and acknowledging that they see them as drab, the members of my family in the blue/ black camp continued to see the dress in the photo as blue/black. (Likewise shown a picture of the dress in its correct hues, the gold/white, drab camp will continue to see the photo that way. Having said this, I've encountered a few people who see the dress each way, depending on some conditions I'm unable to determine. So their brains appear to have stored the various colour versions of the dress.

Hmmm... regarding your question, my guess would be that the people who see the drab colours first and continue to see only the drab colours would have a better chance of not embellishing or extrapolating. But this might rely on experience and other variables. For example someone seeing snow for the first time, might not recognize it at night. As a person with crummy vision (from birth and now getting worse with age) I know I compensate (let my brain and other senses fill in sketchy info) and know the value of compensating.

The differing perceptions of the dress photo from the point of view of someone who attempts to depict form, colour, texture and lighting via a medium -- and beyond that attempts to direct the eye, trick, delight (or annoy), paint what can't be seen but only felt (emotionally), touched, heard, smelled or tasted -- are rather exciting in terms of my own work. Visual art is, among other things, the business of filling a formerly blank space with information. In my work I often use a combination of realism and abstraction, which means, like the dress photo, I give the viewer something fairly fully described along with information-fuzzy parts, which I invite the (subjective) viewer to fill in with content, contexts and/or meanings. The dress photo, for me, has 'shed light' on what viewers bring to interpreting a painting particularly in terms of optic and brain responses to ambiguity in lighting. I will no doubt play with this idea in future work.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby Darby on March 11th, 2015, 8:59 am 

On a loosely related note, here's a clever ad campaign by the salvation army in South Africa which makes use of The Dress's newfound Meme status to spotlight domestic abuse.

Title this one "Why is it so hard to see 'Black and Blue' ?".



BTW, I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the statistical claims of the video, nor commenting on the subject matter ... I only posted it here because I found the use of the dress meme clever, and for the purposes of this thread, interesting enough to be on topic.
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Re: Color Perception: THE DRESS

Postby doogles on March 11th, 2015, 5:47 pm 

Braininvat » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:24 pm wrote:
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.


Does anyone remember the days when the weekly wash consisted of boiling up all the linen in a 'copper' and then finally rinsing in clear water with 'Reckett's (or Rickett's) Blue' added. It was a block of blue dye in a compressed one-inch cube. I worked Saturday mornings in a corner grocer shop from the age of 11, and this item was on everyone's weekly shopping list. The advertising claim, and the result, was that "it made everyone's whites whiter".
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