Our brains as fascinating things and there is a good chance that there are many secrets behind our brain that have yet to be unlocked. This is why optical illusions are so fun because they trick our brain into seeing things that shouldn’t be there. Take for example a set of black and white photos which when overlaid with color grids, can trick your eyes and brain into thinking that the photo has color.
This set of viral photos was created by artist and developer Øyvind Kolås who took photos that were shot by Chuwa (Francis) and modified them to give them the illusion of color, which you can see for yourself in the image above. According to Kolas, “The image for the post is a visual/artistic experiment playing with simultanous contrast resulting from other experiments these days. An over-saturated colored grid overlayed on a grayscale image causes the grayscale cells to be perceived as having color.”
Speaking to ScienceAlert, vision scientist Bart Anderson from the University of Sydney explains why our brains are seeing what we are seeing. “The colour system is what vision scientists refer to as ‘low pass’, i.e., many of the receptive fields that code colour are quite large. So the grids get ‘averaged’ with the achromatic background, which then gets attributed to that part of the image.”
For those who are interested in maybe playing around with this illusion themselves, Kolas has stated that there are plans to add it to GIMP in the next GIMP update, so keep an eye out for that.