Those two images above — what do you see? They’re clearly different, right? They’re the same thing.
Click on the image below. Once you open it on Twitter, click on it again…See the color change?
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) March 13, 2015
It depends on how the application you’re using to view the image treats transparency.
In addition to specifying red, green, and blue pixels for each dot of an image, some image formats can also specify a transparency value that determines how much you can see through the pixel to whatever is behind it. The problem is that when there’s no other image behind a transparent area, different programs treat transparency differently —sometimes the see-through areas are rendered white, other times black.
The lips and nails actually just have a tiny bit of red applied to them, but they’re mostly transparent. Depending on the app that is rendering the lips and nails, the transparent areas are rendered as white — making the features pink — or black, making them a deep burgundy. In other words, unlike #TheDress, this confusion is totally intentional.
Here’s what happens if you look at the original image in Photoshop, which uses a checkerboard pattern to indicate see-through areas: