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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Dress Color
This white-balance illusion hit so hard because it felt like someone had been playing through the Monty Hall scenario and opened their chosen door, only to find there was unexpectedly disagreement over whether the thing they'd revealed was a goat or a car.
Title text: This white-balance illusion hit so hard because it felt like someone had been playing through the Monty Hall scenario and opened their chosen door, only to find there was unexpectedly disagreement over whether the thing they'd revealed was a goat or a car.

Explanation

This comic shows two images of Megan with different background color. The two images are split with a strip of colors.

The comic strip refers to a dress whose image went viral the day before the strip was posted, showing up on Reddit, Twitter, Wired, and originally on Tumblr.

Due to the dress's particular color scheme and the exposure of the photo, it forms a sort of optical illusion causing viewers to disagree on what color the dress actually seems to be. The xkcd strip sandwiches a cropped segment of the photographed dress between two images with different white balance schemes, demonstrating how the dress can appear different colors in different light.

Illustration demonstrating that the "colors" of the dresses are the same by connecting them with two lines.

Both dresses have exactly the same colors actually:

  • RGB 113, 94, 58 (orange)
  • RGB 135, 154, 189 (blue)

A similar type of illusion can be seen here. (requires Flash®player) Other example images which don't require Flash can be found here.

Since the color of the dress seems immediately "obvious", to any given viewer of it, they feel it is so weird that other people cannot see it that way, that all these arguments spring up online. This is probably because people generally do not know much about these kind of optical illusions. The title text refers to the Monty Hall problem, a brain teaser based on the Let's Make a Deal TV show. Randall states that people find the dress color issue just as baffling as if upon opening the chosen door no one can agree if the item behind the door is a car or a goat. This just shows how ridiculous this outrage people feel about the color is. This is a typical kind of prank that Randall enjoys.

Related

The Monty Hall problem previously appeared in 1282: Monty Hall, where Beret Guy decides to take the goat.

Transcript

[Two images of Megan in a dress on each side of an image of a close up of a real dress with the same colors. On the left, she is coloured blue on a dark blue background, while on the right, she is yellow against a buttercup background. Her dress is the same colour in each panel - the same as the real on in-between.]

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