Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Explanation for #TheDress

If you haven't seen it, there's been much debate about whether this dress is white and gold or blue and black. People tend to feel very strongly that the dress is one or the other (about a 75/25 split). Several explanations have been given but here's one I have not seen.

Put the top half above the bottom half, increase contrast of both halves by 100, and you can more easily see it either way:

But I think the real issue is that we tend to call things black or white or gold when they are usually none of those things. There are bunches of colors in the photo but none of them are true black or even close. None of them are true white either, and "gold" is not a color at all; what we call gold is usually a contextual grouping or gradient of yellow-based colors. Add black or gray to yellow and you get the "gold" or brownish gradient below ( "Brown" is any unsaturated or dark shade of a warm color [yellow, orange, or red].). The only colors of the dress in the photo are in the second and third blocks in the image below:
Bottom line, it's neither white and gold nor blue and black! The actual dress is blue and black; but the photo is hundreds or thousands of blues and yellow-based browns. So if you lean neither way and find it mostly blueish and brownish, then congratulations! You see colors the same way Photoshop does.

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