# Count the Colors, Read the Solution

By on June 24, 2009, with 116 Comments

This is an oldie, but we rarely see this kind of optical illusions in its full effect. Ok, this is what I want you to do: count how many different colors you can see in this spiral below. Unfortunately color-blind individuals will only see a grayish pattern, so this won’t work for them (those of you can remain occupied reading this article). Rest of you, be sure first to notice that there are two different shades of pink, and then you may start counting. Most of us will end up with 4 different colors (2 pinkish ones, blue and a green). Well this was the wrong answer! Yes, you heard me right. There are actually only 3 colors present here. To see what I mean, check the second picture. It shows you how this image would look like if we removed those pinkish colors in background. Amazing, isn’t it? You may recall candy stripes we posted waaay back. It’s almost the same!

How Many Colors Are There?

This is the same picture, with pink shades removed.

116 Responses
1. Chris says:

There IS black in the picture. One Pixel, dead center. So… four colors. ;)

2. John says:

Our eyes see certain colors differently depending on which colors they’re next to. When the blueish-greenish color is striped with the pink, it looks blue; when its striped with the orange, it looks green.

It has nothing to do with the way LCD monitors display things. In fact, the same phenomenon explains why the person who suggested it saw it become more green or more blue depending on the background. His eyes were seeing it differently based on what was around it.

It didn’t help, however, that the person who wrote the initial description described ‘two pinkish colors’ when the rest of us seem to be seeing one pink and one orange.

3. Spider says:

Okay, I get it now. Thanks.

Actually, I understood the explanation (or people’s comments) that the blue and the green is actually the same color. I just gotten confused by the “explanation” picture. Why on earth did it become black? It turned out to be an emphasis that the green and the blue was the same color.

Okay, now I have another problem. I opened both pictures in Photoshop. Color picked the blue and the green in the first picture and confirmed that it is indeed ONE color. Color #00FF96 with RGB component of 0R, 255G and 150B.

Next, I color picked the second picture. The explanation picture. In my eyes, the color in the toolbar didn’t seem to change. It was the same color as the first picture. But when I opened the color picker menu, that same color was said to be color #04FE94 with RGB component of 4R, 254G and 148B.

How could this be? I swear I didn’t see any change in the color when I color picked it.

All in all… amazing illusion! You can’t force yourself (your eyes) to acknowledge that it was the same color, EVEN when you know for a fact that it was. You still see it as blue and green. CRAB! Great one this one, Vurdlak!

4. Ozmo says:

After Chris said there’s a single solitary black pixel in the middle, I decided to crop the image to a spiral and indeed XnView shows 3 colors.

Good catch Chris.

5. how does it work?

6. HHHhhh says:

At first i was like wtf it’s clearly 4. I thought that he meant pink and orange are the same which clearly wasn’t. This is awesome. Even knowing how it works you can’t force yourself to think that green and blue are the same

7. Breanna says:

There are four colors in the top one. (Orange, purple, blue, and green.)

8. Tim Duncan w/ T says:

Proved. For evidence, check this.
http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/ww38/kqp/colors.jpg

9. Lai-Lai says:

I uploaded it into photoshop & the color tool picked up 4 colors.

10. parker says:

you see, orange is the oposite of blue makeing the stripe look more green, red (or pink) is the oposite of green which makes the stripe look more blue, the diference makes the two look like different colours (im not british i just like spelling color like that) its very cool though, one of the best illusions on here

11. taiga says:

i actually saw pink,orange,green and blue….too sad i didn’t get it :(

12. Maria says:

ooh there is no blue! the blue is green indeed! :]

13. I Am Someone says:

Okay people, this is what it is. yes it’s 3 colours because the pink lines MIX with the black and green, which forms those colours. That is why it’s 3 colours. you need the PINK stripes to form that. So you could say it’s mixed colours.

14. ANONUMOUS says:

i didn’t have to look at the second picture, as soon as you said that there are only 3 colours i saw the illusion

15. The Dreamer says:

This is wierd. I saved the photo and opened it using microsoft paint. after messing around, i tried to add different colors, but all the colors on the palete boxes, even if u choose white, coume out as one of the three colors. whats up with that?

16. sarena says:

there is pink, orange, blue, and green

17. sarena says:

oooooooh no there is no blue!

18. Emma says:

It Makes No Sense because if you take the pink-ish colours out its green and black but what happened to the orange :/ x

19. Jason says:

In the second picture’s caption, it says “pink shades” and therefore means more then 1. I guess purple is a shade of pink and the author thought that as well.

Good catch with the black pixel in the center. With the black pixel, it’s 4. Without, it’s 3.

20. ghjkil; says:

i see ponies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21. rose says:

i dont understand!!=p there are 4 colors…

22. Blanche says:

Wow! Awesome!
I checked in photoshop and there are 3 colours! Hehe!
Those blue and green are the same colour! It’s a visual effect from the surrounding colours :D

23. my name says:

the green and blue just CAN’T BE the same colour

24. Greyman says:

Nice visual effect ! Try to enlarge the picture and you will see the truth :)

25. Narnia says:

i can see how the green and blue r the same but the orange and pink?

26. Alexis says:

3 colors..the Green, the Pink & the Orange.. there’s no Blue..

27. butt says:

i thought same thing easy way is to take a piece of card and put 2 pin holes in it and line up blue and green. i didnt believe it either till i checked but they are the same color thatsa awesome

i can see orange, purple and an aqua-ish colour am i right??

29. shashwat says:

really cool!!! i copied the picture into paint, took small portions from seemingly blue and green parts into another document… then i replaced the two shades of pink (pink and orange) with white, and surprisingly i obtained both the colors as same.. a sort of dirty green!!!

30. someone says:

that’s just wrong. your instructions said to count how many different colors are there in the 1st spiral, so we counted 4, but you removed the pink one, so that’s just wrong. do you get it? haha. just babbling though.

31. Rhoody says:

well of course I saw 4… until I opened photoshop and found out the green and blueish are the same

so there are:
#00ff96
#ff9600
#ff00ff

cool illusion :-)

32. cindy says:

i dont get this but i only counted 4 colors ?_? o well i say 4 c(=

33. Jaycee says:

This illusion is a badass, I need to enlarge the pic to see how it works

34. I see 3 colours……….

35. the man says:

this is awsome i cant count any colour !!!