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Author Topic: why do we sometimes see/feel the colors in some black and white photos?  (Read 4284 times)

Offline sasha44

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why do we sometimes see/feel the colors in some black and white photos?
Take this photo for an example
newbielink:http://www.flickr.com/photos/sebastien-laban/4815617532/ [nonactive]


It is totally a black and white photograph but the all the colors from the real scene are visible. Even though it is black and white.

What is the scientific theory behind this?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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It looks black and white (and grey) to me.
 

Offline flr

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 I guess the brain attempts to compensate for the absence of colors and somehow 'interpolate' them.

 But once i focused on the image I have seen it in grey.

EDIT: Superbly done photo btw.
 

Offline syhprum

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Moving B/W pictures can appear to have some colour due to the different responce time of some of our colour receptors
 

Offline tommya300

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My first glance I seemed to see this then all was black and white and a fluctuation of red cheeks

I painted what I first seen and How I first imagined I seen




.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2010 08:28:56 by tommya300 »
 

Offline Farsight

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Sorry Sasha, I just saw a monochrome picture.

But take a look at The Big Spanish Castle. This is an amazing optical illusion where you really do see a black and white picture in full living technicolor - until you move your eyes. I believe it works via an after-image effect in the retina.
 

Offline syhprum

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Wow! that Spanish castle illusion really works well.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Love the spanish castle
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Are you sure your monitor is not out of whack?
 

Offline Atomic-S

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The spanish castle image may be monochrome, but the thing you stare at first is not. Thus, when you move the mouse to see the final result, you are seeing the monochrome data from what is then on the screen, plus the color data which has been recorded on your eye from the prior staring. You are actually seeing 2 superimposed images
 

Offline Don_1

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I think if you concentrate on Sasha's photo you can 'see' some pigmentation, but this is nothing to do with the photo itself, but rather the colours you would expect to see. Tommya put in the skin tone which would be expected. By just looking at the monochrome picture and allowing this tone to develop in the mind, it is possible to do the same for the rest of the photo, so long as you don't focus on it to much. Use a focal point just beyond the screen.

Any pigmentation which develops in the 'mind's eye' will not be actual, but expected or desired, unless you happen to know the true colours, in which case, the mind can compensate for the lack of pigmentation.

I think you should be able to do this with almost any monochrome image in which you can visualise pigmentation.
« Last Edit: 30/08/2010 12:03:13 by Don_1 »
 

Offline mlandri

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Might be a several different things. First, as others have suggested, some perception of color is probably related to what one expects to see such as light hair being blond.

Another component could be the fact that some grays are warm and some are cool. Warm grays can appear to be reddish. Cool grays can appear to be blueish.

Also, your brain might be throwing in a little extra detail for you. For example, I am red-green color blind, but only discovered this fact after being tested at 19yo, after joining the military. Hence, color blind people such as myself must use non-hue-based cues to discern the colors that they cannot see directly. So, perhaps, some parts of the BW picture might appear to be colored (such as some of the swatches on the foreground girl's dress) to those who are partially color blind because their brains are used to compensating for lack of certain color cues. In other words your brain might be engaging in a little color interpolation thereby giving the illusion of color in a BW picture.   

At the risk of "jumping the shark", I'll throw in the possibility of Synesthesia as well. 

« Last Edit: 30/08/2010 15:02:56 by mlandri »
 

Offline kenhikage

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I've always thought I could tell when SOME things in b/w were originally red. Also, yellow is easy to assume, because of it's lightness. But I can never tell what was any of the cool colors.

I used to ponder this when watching I Love Lucy reruns. Maybe you and I are just the wierdos.
 

Offline sasha44

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Woah
thank you people

I guess its all in my head and the warmness and coldness of some grays in the picture. :o

Thanks again  :)
 

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