December 01, 2009

A color perception optical illusion

Should you encounter someone who doubts the importance of context in color perception, you might try whipping out this little demonstration:


Posted by John Nack at 11:42 AM on December 01, 2009


  • Michel Debar — 11:50 AM on December 01, 2009

    I would be very glad to have an explanation of this “illusion”.

  • Gary — 12:09 PM on December 01, 2009

    The diamonds are all gradients, with the tops lighter than the bottoms. This makes the diamonds on top appear darker, since the bottom of the top diamonds is darker than the top of the lower diamonds.

  • Klaus Nordby — 12:47 PM on December 01, 2009

    Gary is right, it’s a well-known “trick” to use gradients in such simultaneous contrast demonstrations.
    For those who dig such things, I have made various Flash-animated illusions here:

  • Michael Glasser — 10:29 PM on December 01, 2009

    Decided to have some fun with the concept:

  • Marky — 4:13 PM on December 04, 2009

    Its not really an “illusion” at all. Its about context. Its surroundings, that give perceived value. Our brains are always interpreting what our eyes see, making adjustments
    Here’s another video showing similar demonstrations of this.

  • Joseph Francis — 1:33 PM on December 05, 2009

    This is why when painting you want to develop your entire canvas from simple to complex, and not tightly finish one little area before moving on – so that every color is in context all along.

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