Light and shadows can play weird tricks on your perception of color, as evidenced by the internet’s collective freakout over an ambiguously colored dress. To simulate the murky middle-ground between blue-and-black and white-and-gold, investor and developer Matt Mastracci created this very helpful slider. Go ahead and blow your mind:
The image is fading between three photographs: the original that was posted to Tumblr, one that attempts to remove the color of the light hitting the dress (assumed to be
#524922), and one that adds color (
#392c00) to make up for the shadow.
It is, to be clear, a very rough approximation of what might have happened between the wedding where the dress was worn, the camera that captured it, the image it generated, and your eyes.
The idea is simply to get closer to what the dress usually looks like by adding and removing colors that might have been affected by lighting conditions when the photo was taken. Other factors, like the background of the image, also affect how you perceive it. And don’t get us started on the philosophical question of whether humans actually share a common vocabulary of color.
If you want to pick this apart, Mastracci put the code for his version of the interactive on GitHub. The version above was modified by Quartz to fit our style and make a few other tweaks.