So what color was that dress?
In the grand scheme of things- not newsworthy, yet it made international news. As for why it looked different? Several factors come together- and it has nothing to do with the psychobable that the US underwater basket weavers want you to believe.
There are a few factors influencing how something looks on an LCD screen. Color saturation, Hue, contrast, tint and more importantly the viewing angle. The lighting conditions of where that first image was taken is also a factor. If you do not think viewing angle is important- turn on your TV set or place your computer monitor in a spot on the desk where you can view it while laying on the floor.
Then ask yourself this- did you ever adjust any of those settings on your computer, your TV set or your smart phone? Chances are the answer is no. But even if you had, the way you have yours set it may not render everything accurately. So an image taken under mixed lighting, and while digital cameras usually auto adjust the white and black balance to the exisitng conditions, if you have the camera positioned in a way that it renders color hues as if it is under flourescent or incandescant lighting but you get an influx of daylight into the area being imaged, the sunlight may render the subject a little towards the blue end of the spectrum- and while black is not always going to show other hues of light falling upon it, plus your eyes compensate quite well (which allows digital abberations to occur without notice), keep in mind it is being translated to binary coding. So how it is viewed on the second LCD screen (the first recipient of that image), depending how it is set up, and if someone else was looking over that person’s phone from an odd angle, it is very likely what started that whole chain of events.
So the psychologists and psychiatrists got it wrong. But then the underwater basket weavers do not know enough about technology to understand this post even, it logically explains why they would rely on the psychobable answers.
Now- Why do you lay down on the floor and look at your TV set, or computer monitor? Or your tablet, laptop or smartphone upside down? Simple- it reveals how light is bent by the difracting material that is part of the backlighting of the LCD screen. If you take apart a typical LCD display, you have the LCD panel and beneath that a sheet of translucent clear material, with prismatic sheets beneath that with ultimately an acrylic sheet beneath that. The prismatic sheets are not exactly polarizing the light, but it is bending the backlighting and helping to difuse it otherwise you would see the areas in front of the CFL tubes or the LED strip as brighter than the rest of the screen.
So what happens is the LCD screen is seeing behind it and transmitting that light that is almost polarized, (and some LCD panels have a layer of polarization material to help elminate those “hot spots” as well), so the light becomes fully polarized and as a result, the acceptable viewing angle of the LCD Panel itself narrows. As a result, when you view it outside of the normal viewing angle, black can become white or some shade of blue, etc- the image “almost” becomes a negative of the actual image.
So whatever color you see of that dress- it is not in your head- it is in the display device. Add to that the usual bias towards a white with a very slight bluish tint is often considered “more white” than “true white”.
But don’t expect any reporter/underwater basketweaver to get it right- it is too far over their head.
I will be doing some crossposting from some of my other blogs to here, so stay tuned. Atroubleshooting series will be up soon
The tangential blog.