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June 7, 2006 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Spanish Castle Magic. Stare at the dot in the center of the image for 30 seconds, then mouseover the picture. Don't shift your glance, because until you do the picture will appear to be in color, despite the fact that it's in black & white.
posted by jonson (67 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Awesome.
posted by agregoli at 8:58 PM on June 7, 2006


Neat!
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:58 PM on June 7, 2006


Interesting. It works for me for, like, a second, and then appears black and white.

Of course, I'm a guy who could never make head-or-tail of those accursed magic eye pictures, so I may not be the best subject for this experiment.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:59 PM on June 7, 2006


Ooohkay. Can someone explain to me how that works?
posted by ColdChef at 9:01 PM on June 7, 2006


Can someone explain to me how that works?

I would guess that it has to do with image persistence and the brain interpolating between the color and B&W cells in the eye.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:04 PM on June 7, 2006


trippyredballs sometimes go green or dissapear.


posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:07 PM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


cool! I noticed the 'color' faded the more times I moved my eyes from the dot and then back to it.

I love these types of optical teases.
posted by obeetaybee at 9:07 PM on June 7, 2006


It works for me for, like, a second, and then appears black and white.

So what you're saying is, it works?

Love this stuff. Yay human eyes.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:09 PM on June 7, 2006


Holy Crayola, that's a strong effect. I was expecting it to be more subtle for some reason.
posted by wanderingmind at 9:10 PM on June 7, 2006


I was seriously tripping out on that thing yesterday. It was inducing some pretty odd visual effects for me beyond colorization. You can pick any spot to stare at before the switch if you want to check out the color details in other places.

Also, every time I see that disappearing red ball thing and I stare at it real good it starts making obviously meaningful patterns and talking to me in Morse code.
posted by loquacious at 9:12 PM on June 7, 2006


Holy cannoli, that's the coolest thing visual trick I've seen in a while. The colours were so *real*.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:13 PM on June 7, 2006


Actually, this results from "retinal fatigue".

The castle is an excellent use of it in an illusion!
posted by darkstar at 9:13 PM on June 7, 2006


That was supercool.
posted by evinrude at 9:15 PM on June 7, 2006


First, I thought something scary would jump out at me.
Then, when I moused over, I was like, "Lame, it IS in color."

Fooled me...
posted by muddgirl at 9:17 PM on June 7, 2006


he's got another one here
posted by afu at 9:29 PM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


que wapooooooooo!
(that's so going into my daily vocabulary)

is this kinda like staring at the bright yellow sun for a second, then seeing a big black dot over everything for a few seconds after you look away?
posted by carsonb at 9:34 PM on June 7, 2006


Watching the image slowly fade to black and white was dramatic. Like slowly going color blind.
posted by parallax7d at 9:35 PM on June 7, 2006


yeah, years of reading various meme sites trained me to check the thread comments, first, before clicking the link, to make sure i wasn't about to get a pop-out scare from the ring girl or something.

still, that was the most impressive manipulation of after-images that i've ever seen.
posted by shmegegge at 9:35 PM on June 7, 2006


Then, when I moused over, I was like, "Lame, it IS in color."

Fooled me...


Hahah, yeah, I had the same reaction. :)
posted by VirtualWolf at 9:43 PM on June 7, 2006


Nice! I haven't seen this one before.

This picture and another one you may have seen where you stare at an American flag that's yellow, black, and green are both explained by the opponent process theory of color vision (the other one is the trichromatic theory - RGB). This theory involves three opponent channels: black/white, blue/yellow, red/green.

It's a really interesting way to think about how we perceive color. It's also interesting to note that television broadcasts use a process similar to the opponent process theory to display images in a way that is backwards-compatible with B&W televisions.

Some links:
At Wikipedia
at About
one other place
posted by redteam at 9:46 PM on June 7, 2006


For me it lasts about 8 seconds, then another 5 seconds of marginal color, then it goes black & white. Wonder how long it lasts for others. This is of course assuming you do the full 30 second stare.
posted by chef_boyardee at 9:48 PM on June 7, 2006


Wow that was some freaky goodness!
posted by Windopaene at 9:48 PM on June 7, 2006


Yeah, that was dramatic.

Upon mouseover the color burst in so fully and vibrantly that like some others I was only impressed for a fraction of a second before "reasoning" that of course it really was in color and the whole thing was just a gag. Then I shifted my gaze and the BOOM of black & white was even more dramatic.

Thanks.
posted by soyjoy at 9:55 PM on June 7, 2006


Hold something over part of the image while you're staring at it. Then when you mouse over, move the object out of the way at the same time. You get a totally trippy part black&white, part color effect!

Cooooool man, the colors.
posted by Justinian at 10:07 PM on June 7, 2006


That is SO cool! Like magic! :) Delightfully unexpected. I love things like that. Fun. Thank you.
posted by nickyskye at 10:10 PM on June 7, 2006


I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but no, I was oh so thoroughly whelmed. Thanks!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:26 PM on June 7, 2006


Like muddgirl, I was totally expecting some guy in a demon mask to pop into frame and start screaming. When will I learn to trust?

Very cool, jonson.
posted by maryh at 10:32 PM on June 7, 2006


When I moved my eyes away and back, the photo would shift between bw and color. Totally amazing. Thanks for the great post! It will be interesting to get my other half's reaction.
posted by Goofyy at 10:34 PM on June 7, 2006


Did anyone else see the monkey?
posted by drezdn at 10:46 PM on June 7, 2006


So, any idea how to make one of these? The colour image you stare at seems to be something more subtle than simple negative of the source image.
posted by Jimbob at 10:51 PM on June 7, 2006


you know its not in spain, but you have to admit its a groovy name...
posted by Kifer85 at 11:05 PM on June 7, 2006


ok. i don't get it. when i mouse over, it's in black and white. then i stare, and it becomes color.

however, i'm drunk posting.

but the pink dot goes green works just fine.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:06 PM on June 7, 2006


Jimbob, I believe the image you stare at is the negative of the hue values for every part of the picture, so that when your eyes overlay the "negative" over the greyscale it lines up. So, I'm guessing that to make one, you should:

1) Make a greyscale version of the picture you want.
2) Subtract this from the original color picture.
3) Take the negative of the difference.
4) Do the fancy mouseover tricks!

Someone please give this a shot to see if I am thinking this through correctly.
posted by jenovus at 11:12 PM on June 7, 2006


"negative" should be "negative negative"
posted by jenovus at 11:13 PM on June 7, 2006


That's the best afterimage effect I've ever seen. Awesome. I really liked that when you shift your eyes back to the dot after looking away, the castle is back in color again, but less so.
posted by painquale at 11:16 PM on June 7, 2006


holy crap, wow.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 PM on June 7, 2006


Interesting. Works great.
posted by sjvilla79 at 11:54 PM on June 7, 2006


back when things were weird in the run-up to Iraq I was going to put one of these

on my car as a somewhat subtle political (counter-) statement.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:57 PM on June 7, 2006


stop hacking my eyes pls
posted by FidelDonson at 12:41 AM on June 8, 2006


oops. i read that wrong and started freaking out. for some reason i thought the castle was in color, but the trick made it look black (rather than the opposite.)

i started getting worried when it stayed black and white and never turned back to color.
posted by nitsuj at 12:46 AM on June 8, 2006


There's about a billion ways to make this in Photoshop, but here's the way which I think is most instructive:

1) Draw a dot on your image

2) Take the image, turn it into greyscale, save that out.

3) Take the color image with the dot on it. Convert it to L*A*B color (Image->Mode->LAB. Fill the l channel with 50% grey. Invert the a and b channels. Convert back to RGB and save it out.

Do the mouseover stuff however you want.
posted by aubilenon at 1:32 AM on June 8, 2006


Oh, how very cool!
What brilliant colour it was too.
posted by slf at 1:34 AM on June 8, 2006


Nice one, aubilenon! Thanks!

Like you said, your process is instructive because L*A*B color space (also referred to as CIE LAB or CIELAB color space) works with the same three axes from the opponent process theory. Luminance (B&W) and the two chrominance channels: a (red & green) and b (blue & yellow).

Here's what it looks like:


More info:
About
Good ol' Wikipedia
posted by redteam at 2:22 AM on June 8, 2006


I love it.
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:33 AM on June 8, 2006


aubilenon: how do you fill the L channel with 50% grey?
posted by antifuse at 3:17 AM on June 8, 2006


/me is not smrt with PS
posted by antifuse at 3:17 AM on June 8, 2006


Like it.
posted by missbossy at 4:26 AM on June 8, 2006


I thought it was pretty lame, until I turned scripting on. Then I realized I was pretty lame.
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:36 AM on June 8, 2006


ARGH! Stop messing with my head!
posted by twine42 at 4:52 AM on June 8, 2006


Er, are my eyes and brain broken? Because however long I look at that image it's in colour first, then when I move my mouse over it's swapped instantly for a black and white version. ie. ' It will look like it's in color until you move your eyes.' is just not true, as far as I can see.
posted by jack_mo at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2006


jack_mo - it's funky colours while you're staring at it, then when you mouse over it's supposed to go to true colours.
posted by twine42 at 5:10 AM on June 8, 2006


So that's why the world looks funny after spending hours reading the Blue...
posted by sriracha at 5:12 AM on June 8, 2006


Very, very cool. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 5:28 AM on June 8, 2006


Jack, yes, you're broken. For most people - as with myself - after staring at the weirdo inversed colour image for 10-30 secs, mousing-over will summon an image that absolutely looks like it's in full colour (and then you blink and see it's black and white).
posted by Marquis at 5:38 AM on June 8, 2006


antifuse, here's what I've been doing:

I found an image, drew a dot in the center of it, copied it and put it on another layer. I desaturated the image on the new layer (Shift+Ctrl+U or "Image > Adjustments > Desaturate") and set that layer to not show. Then I went back to the original layer and converted it to "Lab Color" ("Image > Mode > Lab Color"). Then the levels needed to be modified. I went to "Image > Adjustments > Levels", gave both output levels on the "Light" channel a value of 128, and switched the output values in the "a" and "b" channels.

Almost ready!

I had to redraw the black dot on the Lab Color layer. I stared at it for a while with the mouse cursor over the check box that would make the desaturated layer visible again. After 30 seconds I clicked on that box and the effect worked! I'm still trying to find an image that displays the effect really well. I need one with a good dose of blues and greens.
posted by redteam at 6:45 AM on June 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Color me wildly whelmed as well. Great post.
posted by languagehat at 7:07 AM on June 8, 2006


jack_mo - it's funky colours while you're staring at it, then when you mouse over it's supposed to go to true colours.

Yeah, I understand, it just doesn't happen for me. And since so many people are raving about it, I've tried staring at it for minutes on end, at various angles, through squinting eyes, &c. Whatever I do it just switches straight to black and white from the purple/blue/brown, except for one time when the b&w image had a greenish cast to it for a millisecond...

Jack, yes, you're broken.

It would seem so!

I wonder if this means I'm slightly colourblind, or that my eyes move around uncontrollably without my being aware of it, or that I have a brain tumour, or something else?
posted by jack_mo at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2006


#jack_mo: wonder if this means I'm slightly colourblind, or that ...

How do your eyes function with the trippyredballs? Do you see green balls? Do you see most of the balls disappear?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 1:10 PM on June 8, 2006


Bandwidth exceeded. Curse you all - no technicolour castle for Sparx.
posted by Sparx at 2:59 PM on June 8, 2006


How do your eyes function with the trippyredballs? Do you see green balls? Do you see most of the balls disappear?

The ones above? I see magenta balls, with one green ball running around the circle (as in replacing the magenta balls as it goes), quite fast, in a clockwise direction. I'd kind of assumed that was an animated .gif, though? Seems too regular to be an optical illusion. (I'm pretty sure I'm not colourblind - I write about art for a living and no one has ever pointed out that I've mixed up colours before...)
posted by jack_mo at 4:23 PM on June 8, 2006


And when I say magenta, I mean #FF00FF - those balls aren't anything close to red for me.
posted by jack_mo at 4:27 PM on June 8, 2006


jack_mo, that's what's supposed to happen. If you try to look at the green ball you'll see it isn't really there, just an imprint from the vanishing magenta balls.

As for the castle, are you sure you're keeping your eyes still the whole time? Because you have to keep them on the dot while you're looking at the castle to see it in color; the moment you move them off the dot it changes back to b&w.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:39 PM on June 8, 2006


Jack: maybe you have the problem that I have... when I try to focus really hard on a single spot without moving my eyes, I find that my eyes move all over the dang place. With this image, I find it works if I simply relax my eyes and just have the thing in front of me for x amount of time... then mouse over and poof, colour!

In other news, I still can't get my own pictures to do the same thing in any reasonable manner. :(
posted by antifuse at 3:24 AM on June 9, 2006


I see magenta balls, with one green ball running around the circle (as in replacing the magenta balls as it goes)

Okay, that's scary because for me, the magenta balls just slowly vanish. I don't see any green ball or anything moving. The castle was amazing though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2006


The balls one is doubly trippy. If you stare at/focus on the cross, eventually the magenta balls 'disappear' and you'll just see the green ball going in circles.
posted by MikeKD at 8:58 PM on June 13, 2006


I think CunningLinguist is freaking himself out because his browser is set to disable gif animation.

Either that or his visual perception is really messed up.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:19 PM on June 13, 2006


Here is another one, found here. It automatically switches after 30 seconds.


posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2006


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