Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fooled by Your Eyes

I'm trying to learn more about color.
Okay, while my degree is in art, I just never had the time to take that class on color. I mean one whole semester on color?
Well, now I wish I had.
Let me get back to this.
Seems there is more to it than meets the eye, so to speak.
In fact, what your eyes see, is not always what is actually there.
I was in Borders the other day and came across this book:

I purchased it mostly because I'm interested in patterns that I can use in my ceramics. Here's a sample of what I was doing when I graduated:

Geometric at the same time random. There is no set pattern there.
So anyways, I am always on the look out for something different to try.
So let's go back to color for a bit.
Color is interpreted.
You, the reader, and I see color differently. My blue is not your blue like my red is not your red.
If you know what I mean.
The eyes also seem to have a mind of their own.
Being interested in color, I bought this book:

Josef Albers was one of the instructors at the Bauhaus. His work in color is sort of considered definitive, I guess along with Johannes Itten, also from the Bauhaus.
Color is one of the things that can fool the eye.
Here is an example out of Alber's book:

The two blue X's are of the same color, except when viewed adjacent another color, it seems to change.
I was fascinated by this strange phenomena.
I mean, what the hell is going on?
Surely this is some form of witchcraft?
For sure this is making my evil list.
Well hold on to your hats folks, it gets better.
Or more evil, depending.
As to how the eye interprets visual signals, there's, well more than meets the eye.
Seems certain things are "burned" into our brains.
Especially when it comes to patterns.
Meaning that even if we see something, the brain still interprets it as something else(on the book cover above, the horizontal lines are parallel).
Now some of these effects don't work in the space I have, so I'll send you to some sites I found that demonstrate the effects.
Notice how there is a demon in demonstrate?
Also, everyone is affected by these illusions differently. Some worked on me, some didn't so don't worry if some don't.
First off is the Herman Grid Illusion.
Basically seeing things that aren't there.
Did you see the grey dots?
The Scintillating Grid.
Not seeing stuff that's there.
Did the dots seem to disappear?
And finally, the most evil of them all:
Peripheral Drift.
Scroll down for the real evil stuff.
Peripheral Drift is the one that most interests me for it causes the brain to sense motion.
When motion is not there.
How evil is that?
Now to swing on back, it seems this illusion is caused by the way the brain wants to follow colors from light to dark.
Or dark to light.
Or something.
Seems we just can't turn some things off, so the study of optical illusions is also related to psychology.
No kidding.
This has to make me wonder what else is "hard wired" to my brain. I mean what other instincts are there that are "burned" into my subconscious?
What am I seeing and what am I not seeing?
Interesting stuff.
There are more of these vexing illusions and if you want to find out more about them, there are tons of books out there.
Some of which are on their way to my door.
I just can't believe my eyes anymore.
Especially when I see my paycheck.
That's another story.
Oh, and the Breaking Bad season starts tonight.


dogimo said...

Man, I took that course on color. I think you're right there with me in terms of retention.

limom said...

Color has always been a hit or miss thing for me since I never really work with it(like painters do).
I'm trying to get better.
Key word is "trying."