Flexible colors

  • Published on May 27, 2014
  • 2nd prize winner of the 2014 Best Illusion of The Year Contest
    Mark Vergeer, Stuart Anstis, and Rob van Lier
    University of Leuven, UC San Diego, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    In this visual illusion one colored image can lead to completely different color impressions. The impression depend on the grey scale transparent image that is presented on top of the colored image. The 2 colored images on the left and the right are exactly the same, constructed from a combination of the color profile of the forrest picture and the Manhattan skyline picture. The grey scale image that is presented on top of this colored image reinforces the colors that are congruent with the the gray scale image and inhibits incongruent colors. As a result the color impression is very different for the image when the forrest grey scale image is presented on top, compared to when the skyline image is presented on top. This illusion is a demonstration of how in our brain color and contour information is combined before the eventual perception is determined.

Comments • 4

  • timtak1
    timtak1 4 years ago

    That is cool. The impressionists or fauvists were right! The world is full of a lot more colours than we usually notice -- indeed it seems that there are pretty random colours out there in the world ! -- because we only notice the ones that are appropriate to the scene. At the same time though this is a pictures of buildings in (New York or Chicago) a city on a waterside compared, with a forrest with a grass floor. It is not unreasonable that water is green like the grass, and the glass of the buildings reflects the sky which shows through the trees. So while materially a city on a shore is very different from a forest, their colouration is not all that different. I would like to see what happens when a bowl of liquorice all-sorts is merged with something else colourful but very different, such as people sunbathing in brightly coloured clothes.

  • anything12321
    anything12321 5 years ago

    dont get it. :(

    • Nihilistic Misanthrope
      Nihilistic Misanthrope 5 years ago

      Colors that don't match up with what you expect on the grey scale images are suppressed while colors that match up are seen.

    • Artem Borisovskiy
      Artem Borisovskiy 5 years ago

      Me too. All I see is that forest gray image fits color images on both sides and looks natural, but skyline doesn't. I clearly see colored areas on buildings that look like stains from tea or juice on an old b/w photograph.