These balls are the same color

Originally published at: These balls are the same color | Boing Boing


The parts of the balls not covered by the stripes are the same colors, but 1/3 of each ball is a different color.


VHS tape was able to record the chrominance (color) signal at a much lower bandwidth than the luminance (black/white) signal, because of the behavior of our eyes. This is a good demonstration of this feature of our vision.
However, as @Scientist points out, these balls really are different colors, which is why they appear to be different colors. Our eyes just average out the stripes.


Two words:



Alternatively, there are no balls, just pixels.


Yup… pretty close. I probably shouldn’t have used the JPEG, there was a bit of colour bleed.


Hmm beige with darker stripes? I have seen this dress.


Seeing the “balls” as different colors is not really more of an illusion as seeing the repeating circles of beige pixels as balls lit from above and left. Both are examples of our brain using limited visual info to make a best guess of what real world thing would produce the pattern of visual inputs


Yes and no. In the full-size image included with the post, the balls are the same color. But in the thumbnail image on the main page, the software used to reduce the image size has bled the colors of the stripes into the balls. Seems like the optical illusion fooled the algorithm as well


Well duh. Y’all have been falling for this ‘optical illusion’ your entire lives.

Like how this is not really yellow. It’s red and green with a bit of blue:


No, at least not in the JPEG version. Open it in XnView and extract only the blue channel and you’ll see that the balls are very different. They may have been the same in an uncompressed original, in which case BB just chose a poor way to demonstrate the illusion.

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I was skeptical about the balls being identical too, and I wondered if the directional lighting mattered, so I just replaced them with a generic grey. The illusion still works for me.



And of course pixels are not square!!

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There should probably be a word other than “illusion” for things like this, or moiré patterns, or two-color Technicolor.

With, say, parallel-lines illusions, you’re perceiving something “wrong”, but as peeps have noted above, the spheres in this picture really are different colors, in terms of how color perception normally works.

One ball, without the stripes that cause our eyeballs to lie to us:

Solution, to put our lying eyeballs in their place:
[EDIT: Too lazy to do this, but if one put white lines through some balls, black through others, our eyeballs would no doubt return to their mendacious ways.]

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I like what flipping the image does for the perception of the beige ball you’re staring at versus the others. I can just about convince myself that the ball I’m staring at doesn’t actually change colour, but that the others then change more noticeably.

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