Week Seven Hybrid Module

1.) Introduction to Alan Gilchrist’s seeing Black and white.

  • I found the reading very interesting how seeing has not yet been explained by science. This reading made my curiosity rise to a level that makes me want to know more and more.  As we are created by God machines us created by us humans, and perhaps it was is purpose or lack of knowledge that humans made computers the way they did that they cannot exactly identify the color of objects in a picture. So many times, as a designer, I tried to match the color a customer wanted but could not match it because the machine was incapable of producing it. It became very frustrating, but then again it’s because us humans are either lacking the knowledge or skills we have not acquired yet.
  • I never knew what a relevant physical dimension was, now I do, it is called “reflectance.”  The percentage of light reflected is also called “reflectance”. White surfaces reflect only 90% of light they receive, but black surfaces reflect only 3%. If you put a white surface next to a black surface the white surface will reflect 30 times as much light into the eye then the black. That is because the retina of our eye contains a surface called photoreceptors known as rods and cones. I remember reading about photoreceptors in phycology. If these receptors in our eyes are creating signals in proportion to the light striking them, then perhaps, we have to dig deeper to solve the problem.
  • I was very much interested in the reference to time and space, and at the end we find out that “if the white paper lies within a shadow that falls across the tabletop, it can easily reflect the same absolute amount of light as black paper lying outside the shadow”.  At the very end sentence we find out that the light reflected from the white paper is the same as the light reflected from the black paper.
  • To me our human eye was the model, when they first created the camera. The camera almost mimics the human eye.
    • I am very much enlightened and I appreciate the knowledge I gained from reading this article.
  • 2.)  Review Edward Adelson’s Checkered Square Illusion.


  • Perhaps this is the way a computer’s eye can see values of gray.  Just like using a mask when working with Photoshop or even when doing an airbrush project using friskit, is the same idea the author is talking about. I would like to try out the experiment in person to really understand the process.  “By viewing patches of the squares without the surrounding context, you can remove the effect of the illusion”.
  • So, why does the illusion work? To me after reading this it is because the visual system needs to determine the color of objects in this world. The problem was that just measuring the light from a surface that illuminates is not enough; the cast shadow will dim the surface. The visual system plays a trick on us. There are two different types of trick. The first trick is based on the contrast. The second trick is based on the fact is that the shadow often has soft edges.
  • It really is all in our perception. How the human eye perceives information and relates it to the brain is how we understand it. What I learned is that the important task is to break the image into physical components to really see what the meaning of the objects when we look at them.

3.) Beau Lotto’s TED talk: Optical Illusions Show How We See

Color enables us to see the world.  If we could only see the world in black and white it would be so different. Many times the context is translated by others, and how we see the world depends on our understanding of the context. The light that falls into our eyes is translated into information through our sensory. It is up to us what we do with that information, and how we feel about it. We as humans react according to the information we receive. How interesting to see the two dessert scenes were completely the same, only difference was that the right side was under red illumination and the left was under green light.

4.) Brief motion graphic presentation of Semiotics: The Study of Signs

There are three types of signs: Icon, Index, and Symbol. The purpose is to understand that modern semiotics is mainly made up of the difference between Peirce and Saussure. My favorite part is how it explains why consciousness in humans is unique. And perhaps it is because we as humans are unique.

5.) Chapter 1, Chapter 3 and review the diagrams from Chapter 4 (page 54, 57 and 65 from Routledge Critical Dictionary of Semiotics and Linguistics. Chapter 2 is optional reading.

This was very interesting, it reminds me of the story of a prophet who was stuck inside the whale, and could not get out, and then he started hearing the animals talk. He could actually hear the animals talk. How interesting that this chapter talks about how with the exception of us humans all living organisms communicate only by nonverbal means. Then how could the prophet hear the animals in the ocean talk?

6.) Review online Pod/Video cast called Lemon Slices and a New Face on Mars.

Gestalt Principles of perception. Why do we see the things we see? And why does our minds play a trick on us when we look at things that are similar like a flounder in the sand that almost matches with the sand and you can’t tell the difference. Or when we look at a checkered board our mind goes around like a marry-go-around.

7.) Nova: How Smart are Animals

I was so moved, and intrigued after watching this, I never thought about dogs, and how smart they can be. My great inspiration out of this was that “If we can figure out how dogs think, then we’ll figure out ourselves.”

I was amazed by Chaser!