Sunday, April 3, 2011

Camouflage part 2

Effective natural camouflage?


You'd better believe it!

The above photo was run into a grain photo filter - take note at how the colors and patterns work!

It is not the pattern's shape, or the way it is drawn but the details of design study...

"Digital' camouflage is actually a misnomer, based on the superficial resemblance of these patterns to quantized or coarse digital images (bitmap diffusion dither - ed. note). In fact, the pattern of squares (or whatever shape we use) is employed to model the texture of typical backgrounds using a mathematical function. We could use hexagons or shapeless blobs as well, except that it is easier to render complex patterns by computer using squares. It is easy to misunderstand the purpose and mechanisms of this kind of design, which is why so many measures that try to use the approach without insight fall short.” - Lt.Col. T. R. O'Neill Ph.D.

Crypsis, for beginners

Art vs. Science

Making Sense of Digital Camouflage

The above links are an excellent start on understanding the issues of "hiding in sight" the craft and science of visual deception.

On a personal note, I am not a "fan" of the "digital" pixelated patterns, they may be popular but in my opinion after the original research on colors and a final pattern chosen the digital information can then be "converted" by a skilled artistic craftsman into an even more effective pattern. I have even seen the argument that the original "bleeding edges" of colors in the original Canadian digitally produced pattern as "unprofessional" because the edges were not sharply defined! "Sharply defined" is what we don't typically want! I am also in disagreement in the abandonment of "black" as an effective element in camouflage patterns, it is certainly not a requirement but it can be included for enhancement of effectiveness, take the current US Army uniform that is not only too light in color, but the lack of contrast makes it a very poor performer in any environment other than cement/urban backgrounds.

The one thing we can depend on is that now a new more advanced "camo war" is heating up and competition is good for the advancement of the products (in this case patterns and the understanding of the concepts).

"The US Army have also proven beyond a shadow of a doubt (hopefully), with their “Universal Camouflage Pattern” that a single pattern cannot be effective everywhere. " - Lawrence of

"Of course, having a uniform printed with the best camouflage pattern in the world would be rendered useless if the soldiers individual equipment covers it up with a pattern or colour that ruins its effectiveness. Add to that a black weapon and you wipe out many of the improvements in non-detectability that you’d gain from having a good camo pattern on the uniform. " - - Lawrence of

The two above statements sum up my thoughts in general, while I am not focusing on Military applications they have the money and the resources for hiring professionals for the study of this issue. Lawrence of course is presenting information from a military point of view while I intend on using and decimating the concepts for the benefit of the individual preparation minded civilians out there. This information is vital for an in-depth understanding and I think will allow this to continue into what looks to be a series of posts.

The Terminology:

isoluminant or equiluminant - An optical illusion, where smaller grouped shapes on an object when viewed from a distance loose their individual shape and color and form a new perceived color. A phenomenon peculiar to binocular color vision described as the ratio of physical intensities at which a red and a green light are of equal luminance. Originally used to describe projected light, now used more generically for reflected light and the distances of perception for binocular color, shape, and edge/depth vision limitations. Example: red dots on a yellow background will appear as a solid orange from a distance.

Micro-pattern (or simply Micro) - The smaller details of a pattern, colors and shapes that even when close (under 100 meters) help defuse the shape and details of an object making it less likely to be detected or differentiated from the background.

Macro-pattern (Macro) - The larger shapes or areas of color of the pattern that help defuse the edges and shape of the object from a distance (50 meters or more). A pattern without large areas of similar transition will "combine" visually into a solid color this is known as the pattern's isoluminant, equiluminant properties.

Mimetic camouflage - Shapes, coloration, patterns, or texture that has a resemblance to some other existing object, or background, a visual deception that is seen by the viewer but not recognized as the object.

Disruptive camouflage - A camouflage tactic designed to confuse the visual cues. Intended to cover or mask the object, and designed to prevent the viewer from recognizing the object. The typical camouflage clothing printed with varying shapes, colors is an example of disruptive camouflage.

Countershaded camouflage - Based on Thayer's Law, where the illusion of depth is reversed or defused by using colors designed to mask the actual depth or texture of the object.


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  2. I actually allowed the above comment even if it is advertising as it brings up an interesting point. Camouflage is common as a fashion item. Mixed in the correct way it could serve both daily coverage as well as SHTF uses.

    Imaging a work style button up shirt with dark “earth tone” pants making a daily cover that could easily serve both reasons for camo.

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