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Author Topic: What color was the dress?  (Read 10041 times)

digitaldog

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2015, 09:35:14 PM »

I know what you are asking me to explain. I've answered several times. I have no idea what these people are seeing.
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Andrew Rodney
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elliot_n

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #61 on: February 28, 2015, 09:39:40 PM »

I know what you are asking me to explain. I've answered several times. I have no idea what these people are seeing.

Ok, fair enough. You can't get your head around it.
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digitaldog

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #62 on: February 28, 2015, 09:44:10 PM »

Ok, fair enough. You can't get your head around it.
Currently, my head's being used to work on a color project that feeds the wife and dogs.
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Andrew Rodney
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #63 on: February 28, 2015, 09:49:00 PM »

Not blue/green?...

Actually, the BBC article did allow the third option: blue - olive green.

But here is the kicker: the image in the BBC article TO ME TODAY isn't the one I saw yesterday. Yesterday, I said blue/black, today I say, looking at the BBC image, white/gold. Now, there is no way for me to know if that is because the image BBC used is indeed a different one, or my mind has already been "polutted" by all the other images in the meantime. The only thing I am certain of is that yesterday, when I saw the image for the first time in my life, I said blue/black, and the other person in the room said white/gold.

elliot_n

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #64 on: February 28, 2015, 09:55:33 PM »

Actually, the BBC article did allow the third option: blue - olive green.

But here is the kicker: the image in the BBC article TO ME TODAY isn't the one I saw yesterday. Yesterday, I said blue/black, today I say, looking at the BBC image, white/gold. Now, there is no way for me to know if that is because the image BBC used is indeed a different one, or my mind has already been "polutted" by all the other images in the meantime. The only thing I am certain of is that yesterday, when I saw the image for the first time in my life, I said blue/black, and the other person in the room said white/gold.

Interesting. For me it went the other way on the BBC site. First I saw white/gold. Now I'm seeing blue/black. I don't believe they're switching jpegs. If I leave it a few hours before revisiting the image, my initial impression is white/gold, but in seconds it turns to blue/black.

One thing I'm fairly sure of - it has nothing to do with rods and cones (the BBC roving reporter's theory).
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 09:57:11 PM by elliot_n »
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digitaldog

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #65 on: February 28, 2015, 09:58:13 PM »

Whatever you two BBC fan's are smoking, please do share  ;D
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Andrew Rodney
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Simon Garrett

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #66 on: March 01, 2015, 04:05:51 AM »

Jesus, it is like talking to a deaf person. It isn't about looking at two or three renderings, it is about looking at a single image.

Some people describe the colours differently, and some people say they see the same picture differently at different times.  Yes, of course.  Welcome to the world of colour perception.  Our eyes adapt to the context around the image, to what we've been looking at immediately before we see the image and even to our preconceptions of the image subject matter.  

However, as the Wired article points out, it's also about different renderings of the same picture, or viewing the same picture in different lighting contexts.  

The fact that a black dress can appear gold at all is likely to be because the image being circulated on the web is poor.  As the Wired article shows, in that image the dress is gold (the pixel RGB values are not a neutral grey or black), whereas in real life it's black.  Of course, some monitors will incorrectly render that colour, or show it so dark that it is perceived as black. 

I find it rather telling that news articles about it refer to philosphers rather than colour scientists.  
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 04:10:16 AM by Simon Garrett »
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elliot_n

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #67 on: March 01, 2015, 09:04:18 AM »

Here’s my explanation.

It’s an over-exposed photo with a tungsten cast. Many people intuitively understand this and describe the dress correctly as blue and black.

The people who see the dress as white and gold have misread the photo. They’ve correctly understood that the photo is not an accurate representation of the dress. They know that something is wrong with the colour and tone of the picture. But instead of seeing an over-exposed photo with a warm cast, they see an underexposed photo with a blue cast, and hence a dress that is white and gold.

What makes this misreading possible? I think it’s the blown-out, flared background. In recent years the flared-out/backlit portrait has become a popular trope in advertising and wedding photography. Normally such pictures are shot outdoors and into the sun. Often the subject will have a blue cast (from the blue sky). The recent ubiquity of such images means that we have learnt to intuitively colour correct the blue cast that many of them contain. That’s what’s happening in this picture. The blue is converted to white, and the ‘black’ (which is already warm) is rendered as gold.
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Simon Garrett

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #68 on: March 01, 2015, 10:33:57 AM »

The people who see the dress as white and gold have misread the photo.

I don't think so; it's just a poor photo. 

In the photo I saw (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-31662317) the dress was a sort of brown.  Call it gold if you like, but it was not black.  The "white" of the dress was very definitely blue in that particular picture, by comparison iwth the white background of the web page.

Here's the colour of a sample of the lighter area of the dress in the upper central area of that Beeb link:



The colour (in Photoshop) is R=121, G=107, B=68.  (That's assuming the image is sRGB - there's no profile on the BBC web site image.)  The "white" of the dress is also very far away from white (and very different from the white background of the page).  Typical readings are R=135, G=135, B=175. 

The colours of the dress in image on the Beeb web site were nowhere near black and white on an accurately rendered display.  As the Wired article explained, it's quite possible to render an image that makes colours look different.  It's also quite possible that the same image will look different in different lighting contexts, or even look different to different people in the same lighting context.  But I'm quite sure that the primary issue here is a very badly coloured photo, and not people "misreading" the image, nor optical illusions.   

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elliot_n

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #69 on: March 01, 2015, 11:01:59 AM »

But I'm quite sure that the primary issue here is a very badly coloured photo, and not people "misreading" the image, nor optical illusions.   



There's no doubt it's a 'badly coloured photo' - the exposure is wrong, and the colour temperature is wrong. What's interesting is that most people don't see the dress as the colour numbers given by your color picker (blue/brown). Instead they see it as blue/black or white/gold. As we now know that the dress is in fact blue/black, surely those who see it as white/gold are misreading the image?
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kirkt

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #70 on: March 01, 2015, 02:24:38 PM »

There seems to be a few factors that are contributing to the consternation revolving around this social experiment, but mostly it is about a lack of reference and a lack of a standardized, controlled experimental method for trying to detect and measure a phenomenon.  With all of that ambiguity, what are we discussing other than a flawed process?

If anything, this points out the wide variation in people's interpretation of a supposed constant, known stimulus.  Add to that the idea that the stimulus may not actually be remaining constant across viewers, as well as the bias and unreliably variable descriptions of the viewer's interpretation of the stimulus and it is no wonder the whole "discussion" is a confusing morass of disagreement.  There is no control over the process or the variables requiring control to measure the signal.

Hey, at least it gave me the opportunity to bore the crap out of my kids by explaining and demonstrating to them the difference between incident and reflectance metering, and why black cats and snow are gray, unless you do something about it.

kirk
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Telecaster

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #72 on: March 01, 2015, 04:29:42 PM »

There's no doubt it's a 'badly coloured photo' - the exposure is wrong, and the colour temperature is wrong. What's interesting is that most people don't see the dress as the colour numbers given by your color picker (blue/brown). Instead they see it as blue/black or white/gold. As we now know that the dress is in fact blue/black, surely those who see it as white/gold are misreading the image?

This just shows the extent to which color perception is contextual. Read the overall context in one way and you get white/gold. Read it another way and you get blue/black. There'd be far less hubbub about this if folks could come to terms with the fact that color is perceptual and not objective. Nothing has or is any particular color.

-Dave-
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MarkM

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #73 on: July 27, 2015, 08:02:00 PM »

Sorry to resurrect an old topic, but it seemed better than starting a new one just to add an interesting link for anyone still interested. The latest issues of Wiley's Color research and application has an article that takes a true color science approach to the problem, which is refreshing after all the dumb media coverage. It's quite short and accessible. These are normally behind a paywall, but this one is open: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/col.21966/full

Also, it ends with a promise that the "Journal of Vision intends to publish a special issue on the perceived color of this dress."
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digitaldog

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Re: What color was the dress?
« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2015, 08:31:47 PM »

Thanks Mark, very, very interesting!
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"
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