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This Dress Is Not An Optical Illusion

What colors are this dress?

Some are saying that it’s a color constancy illusion. I will attempt to prove that’s not the case.

Here is where the real problem lies:

The dress is not a color constancy optical illusion.

Color-constancy optical illusions have two identically-colored things to compare. The dress-image is one dress, and it’s in even lighting, so it is not a color constancy illusion.

Here’s a color constancy optical illusion:
Grey square optical illusion

The squares that are labeled “A” and “B” are exactly the same color. I used Photoshop’s color dropper to prove that both squares’ gray values are:

  • Red: 120
  • Blue: 120
  • Green: 120

On Buzzfeed 68% say “white and gold”, and 32% say “black and blue”:

This is the exact image used in the BuzzFeed poll. Your browser is re-sizing it, because I changed the IMG tag’s height and width values.


Color Calibration?

Monitors are not color calibrated from the factory, so many people are not seeing accurate color.

Was the image white balanced?

We would hope to find white balance information in the image’s EXIF, but it’s not there. So how do we white balance this image? The dress in the background appears to be white and black, so I loaded the image up in Lightroom, and used that assumption to white balance it. If you would like to try this out yourself, here’s how to do it. The black I used is in the lower left corner. We can all agree-that that’s supposed be black: correct? :-)

White Balanced Version

With the white balance “fixed”.

Is the image accurately toned?

Lightroom shows us that we might have blown out colors. How do we know that this is real clipping, instead of a false positive? The light is softening the edges of the dress; this is called “blooming”. It almost looks like there’s fog in there. So, yes, this a blown out image. If we were there, then we would have properly exposed the image, but we weren’t, so we are going to adjust tone to even out the histogram. In other words: “punt”.

With the tone “fixed”.

So what is our best guess for the color? Black and Blue

Each pixel will have a slightly different color. Photoshop’s color picker can do a 51 x 51 pixel average for us to get a more accurate estimate.

The lighter colored stripes are dominated by blue:

  • Red: 8
  • Green: 77
  • Blue: 206

In other words: blue.

The darker colored stripes RGB values are close to zero:

  • Red: 1
  • Green: 8
  • Blue: 49

In other words: black.


The image was very poorly made. Any skilled photographer would have properly set its white balance and its tone. Once we do that, it’s obviously blue and black. Here’s the final word:


Our First Video Game Consoles

Our first video game console was a Sears Roebuck/Atari Tele-Games Pong. You could play tennis (two player ping-pong) and squash (single player racquetball).

Atari Pong was only available at Sears Roebuck Department Stores for Christmas ’75. The versions that were later sold in other stores didn’t say, “Tele-Games” on them, because that was a Sears Roebuck trademark.

Our Second Video Game console was the Tele-Games Video Arcade. It was an Atari 2600 that Sears sold.
I liked the Atari 2600, but I lost interest in video games after the industry crashed of 1983, and that-was-it until Leslie and I bought an Amiga 500 in 1988.

Here’s why I became a computer programmer: I don’t use any machine unless I understand how it works.

PAUL DANGER K's Gamercard


Multiple Exposures (In-camera or Photoshop) for Abstract & Artistic Portraits

Chelsea Northrup teaches us about multiple exposure photography here:


World’s Craziest Photoshop Tutorial?

Photofocus claims that Fafa’s Photoshop Tutorial with Glove and Boots is the World’s Craziest Photoshop Tutorial. Maybe. You can see it here:

I say, “Nay. The You Suck at Photoshop series is the actual World’s Craziest Photoshop Tutorial.” Warning: it’s not as family friendly as Glove and Boots. It’s NSFW, and all-that that implies. Here’s the first video in the series:

As I get better at Photoshop, I always go back to the You Suck at Photoshop series, to get a better perspective on how I have improved.


Simple Non-destructive Cloning and Healing in Photoshop

Pye, from SLR Lounge, shows us how to use a blank layer, with the “Sample: Current & Below” option, for easy non-destructive cloning-and-healing.

You can read more here.


DIY Wooden Photo

This video is by Crystal Hethcote.


How to Photograph Big Products by Sean Tucker


Inside a Camera at 10,000fps – The Slow Mo Guys


How do you know that you are coding too much?

Fixing bugs uses more time than not making them. If you avoid taking breaks, because there is not enough time, then at some point you will end up with more work than you completed.

Here’s Utkarsh Simha‘s humorous answer to the question:

When you go to a shop and ask for 1 kilo of rice and then accuse the shopkeeper of shortchanging you by 24 grams.


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