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What Color is This Dress?

(Image credit: Cecilia Bleasdale)

There’s been quite a debate among Tumblr users about the colors of this dress. The picture was posted by Swiked, and then passed around, igniting arguments wherever it showed up. I looked at it and said, “That’s white with gold lace.” Then I read three posts at Buzzfeed about the controversy surrounding the colors, with plenty of pictures of the dress with various color corrections and even a catalog entry, and they determined that the dress is actually blue with black lace.

But what really floored me was when I returned to the original picture and saw it as blue and black! I could not make myself see white and gold again at that point. THEN I went somewhere else for about twenty minutes and returned to the original picture. It appeared white and gold again- for a minute or two, then it turned blue and black again. Now, my eyesight isn’t the greatest, but this is one weird phenomena.  

Update: There's a discussion of some of the factors going into this photo here.

What colors do you see in the dress?




The risk of being successful is the arrogance of thinking that what you have done in the wheel works in the future suppose What colors do you see in the dress? My answer was White with gold. After I see my vote percentage 46% of total voter. So I am very happy.
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I don't think you can tell - because we don't know what colour light was used.
If we had a reference sample of, say, white paper pinned to it, it'd be a lot easier to tell.
Being seriously colour-blind, I've learned over the years to hold back on colour judgements until I've seen it in several lights.
I'm fitting out a shop next week - and since we don't know what colour lights the new customer will require we're putting in fancy LED units that do three different colours of white. We've used them elsewhere, and the customers really like them - and they're only about three quid each more expensive.
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SO weird. I saw this story a few other places today and always saw white and gold, as I did when I first read this story. Closed the computer to get everyone out the door. Came back, and now the thing is blue and black. Oh my head.
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Quite simple, if you have a laptop/lcd screen, just tilt it back a bit. Magically turns from Gold/White to Blue/Black as you tilt it backwards, and back again if you tilt it forwards.
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Accurate color reproduction in photographs is hard. Even skillful photography can be more about a interesting image than accuracy. Whereas something like this, you have lost so much information that there is no way to get an exact answer, without making non-unique assumptions about lighting. There are plenty of materials that will look very different to the eye in person (I have a piece of Nd glass that looks dull blue or grey in some lighting, and vivid, bright purple in sunlight), and then cameras add an extra layer. I've seen a few cameras that take a purple and violet that look that same to the eye and make them look quite different in the photo.

And people wonder why there are so many false color images in science, even when images are taken in visible wavelengths. A few too many times I've people seen become almost indignant, "Why don't you just take a 'normal'/'real' photo?"
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