For me, it started yesterday by checking my Facebook timeline. A high school friend had posted this article “What Color Is This Goddamn Dress?” (Choice of words theirs…)
I looked at it – yellow and white, what’s the deal – and then moved on to do other reading. I flipped on the morning news as I’m reading my Twitter timeline and this thing had gotten out of hand. The story was everywhere and, in fact, trending on Twitter. I walked the dog and came home and the talk was still going. This is weird. The current wisdom was that those that saw the colours gold and white were wrong and that, in fact, the colours where black and blue. Yeah, right. I know what I saw.
I went back to the original Facebook post and, son of a gun, the dress did look black and blue now. How could this be? Then, It occurred to me. The first look was on my Macintosh computer and I’m now looking at it in Ubuntu. Same browser – Firefox. This truly was strange. Then, I remembered that each computer can be configured with a colour profile. On Ubuntu, it looks like this.
On the Mac, I had gone into the advanced calibration when I had originally set it up and had a “warmer” setting.
Could this be the difference? I played around with a bunch of settings which made for some slight changes. OK, maybe there’s something in this. After all, I wasn’t looking at the original dress. I was looking at a digital picture that had had who knows how many loads and saves.
Well, as you know, things had exploded with all kinds of theories, people looking at the image together, bad words being said to others! I remembered back when I got my first pair of glasses. The eye doctor had this test with the big E in black and showed it on a red background and then a green background and the question was “which looked sharper?”. I hated to admit it but black on red always looks sharper to me. It didn’t matter how much flipping with the equipment that he did.
But the media continues to explode with stories, theories, and scientific explanations. “This Might Explain Why That Dress Looks Blue And Black, And White And Gold“. Interesting scientific theory. My original view was done in the dark and my second visit was next to a patio window with the blinds open. So many variables. I then tried it on my iPad and could see both colours depending upon what angle I was looking at the screen.
The posts keep on coming. There were two where you could see the white/gold colour in one and black/blue in the other. Enough is enough. As my science consultant friend often said “There’s got to be a workshop in there somewhere.” I saved both images to my hard drive and opened them in The Gimp.
Side by side, I can clearly see two different colours.
But, if you look closely at the bottom, I’ve had to resize the yellow/gold one to get them to be about the same size. So, the originals weren’t necessarily the original image. Even for this side by side, I’ve introduced some error into the picture. And, besides, they are now both on the same computer with the same colour settings and yet appear different (at least to me…) One of them has already been doctored to make the point.
The colour picker will get to the bottom of this.
I should have gone into forensics.
So, I could do a little editing on my own. How about green?
As I was doing this, I was thinking of a couple of lesson activities.
- In the Comm Tech classroom, could you take the two images and adjust the settings so that they look the same? Or, if you took one, could you make it into the other?
- In a digital literacy class, it’s a perfect example of how you can see the same thing in two different ways? It’s a solid reminder to question everything you see online!
- In the science classroom, there’s probably a whack of scientific principles at work. I’m just not a science teacher.
As I wrap up this post, I realize that I had left the search for #TheDress open in another tab. There are hundreds of messages that have come in since I started this post.
The online world loves a good argument. I’ve been online long enough to remember the classic nerd arguments. “Who’s the better captain? Kirk or Picard?”
(I’m solidly in the Kirk camp…)
Anyway, enough exploring and wasting time. There’s better things to do.