So, this image has been floating around all day, with the question of “Is this dress white and gold or blue and black?”. It’s really not clear though, what we are asking here. There’s really two issues – the color of the pixels in the image, and the actual color of the dress in real life.
First though, some information. When you take a photo on something like a camera phone, the camera brain has to guess at the lighting in the area so that it can show whites as white and blacks as black. When you shoot in ‘cooler light’ like office lights, the camera has to know the color ‘temperature’ of the lights is cool, so it can adjust, otherwise whites will look blue. If you shoot in really ‘warm’ light, like sunlight, whites will turn out orange if the camera doesn’t adjust. It’s like putting blue or orange plastic in front of a light – the camera can fix it to make colors correct, but it has to make a best guess.
That said, are there blue pixels in the representation of the dress in the image? Sure. This is easily shown in Photoshop.
Does that mean the actual dress fabric is blue? Nope. When the image was shot, the camera thought the light was ‘warmer’ than it actually was. So it ‘cooled’ it down a bit, shifting the colors slightly blue. In this picture (which almost looks like a crop from a larger image), the camera was probably fooled by the bright sunny areas around the person. Now, if you know a little about photography, you’ll realize the issue and your brain will look for clues to figure out what the real colors are supposed to be.
So, a color corrected version of the image fixes the white balance and shows the whites as white and the golds as gold. We just had to give Photoshop an example of a pixel that was supposed to be white, and it fixes it. Other things to keep in mind is that the angle of your screen or phone can show false colors if you aren’t looking straight on. Squinting can do that as well – the haze of your squint darkens the image, making the very light blue a darker blue. Also, your eyes can play tricks, like if you look at something for too long, eventually you’ll see the inverse. Optical illusions.
Here is a color corrected version of the image, using the “white” area as a base for correction.
Is it possible that this is the blue and black dress shown in various threads? The original image would have to have been so badly captured – overexposed, poor white balance, etc., that one would not be able to tell without knowing the actual product existed. I am not able to correct this image in any way to make it match the blue and black in the sample below without losing all the detail integrity. If I force the “whites” to be blue, the darker tones are so lost that anything black is just a big blob. However, as you can see, the dress is offered in ivory/black and blue/black. I am more willing to accept that the black lace is reflecting something gold-ish, and that this is the ivory/black model, then it is the blue/black model.