Home > Examples, Technology > How that White and Gold dress matters to your display even if it’s really Black and Blue.

How that White and Gold dress matters to your display even if it’s really Black and Blue.


AuthorWhite and Gold, or Blue and Black?
You may have seen the latest Internet sensation of the image of a dress with a simple question: “Is the photo of the dress white with gold trim or blue with black trim?”. The answer is “Yes”. Hopefully that cleared things up. No? Ok, let’s dig deeper.

Let’s talk lighting. We won’t even get into the rods and cones in your eyes; I’ll leave that to your optometrist. Our surroundings and the lighting of an object can trick our eyes and alter our color perception. Light drastically affects how our eyes perceive color. In fact, it is just about the most important factor in color perception. Light bounces off of objects and into our eyes at varying wavelengths. These different wavelengths produce all of the colors we can see.

AuthorNot all light sources are made equal. Throughout the day the color of sunlight will change from a red-yellow hue in the morning, shifting to a bluer white midday, then back to a red-yellow at sunset. That means that the same object, such as your car in your driveway, will appear to have a slightly different color throughout the day. If we always had the exact same type of light source all the time our perception of color would differ much less.

In the case of the image in question there is an abundance of light flooding the surroundings of the dress. Notice the right and left side of the image seem blown out with light while the front of the dress is mostly hidden from direct light.

This is not an ideal viewing condition to accurately perceive the color of the dress. A controlled viewing condition is critical to properly evaluate color. At Optima we view our color in 5000K lighting. This is considered to be roughly the color temperature of the sun at midday. Therefore, we can evaluate color in a light source that does not have a color cast such as in many retail stores or common household light bulbs.
If you want more info on lighting and tradeshows, check this out.

Back to the photo of the dress. Potentially either answer is correct. No, I won’t cop-out and sit on the fence. I focused on two things to make my guess. First, it seems to be dimly lit yellow lighting, which is causing the dress to appear washed-out. Next, the trim is too close in color to the dress behind it to be gold. Without knowing the viewing conditions, and not knowing if this image was cleverly photoshopped, I would guess it is blue with black trim. No matter the color of the dress, it is a fun exercise in just how much lighting and viewing conditions can cause havoc on our color perception.

the story continues below this image….
Author

Lighting can and will affect your design and your trade show space. See our previous blogs about the design and the lighting.
If it’s all too technical and boring for you, don’t worry, we will bring order to the chaos.
#nochaosgfx

If you’re interested on more info on the chameleon dress, take a look at this Wired article.
If you’re interested to test your own eyes and how they see color, play with this fun little game.

About the Author

Dean Reinitz Leads our Color Managment Team and is a G7 Expert and CMP Professional. He has been in the printing industry since 2007 and specifically in Color Management since 2013.

Other posts by Dean
  1. Gary Camarato
    February 27, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Great explanation Dean, you deal with it everyday – good to read you tell’n it like it is!
    g

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