There are plenty of 'ibles out about camouflaging things, usually paintball guns etc, and there are a couple of ones about ghillie suits.
What happens if you, like me want to make some wearable camouflage that isn't a ghillie suit, or some of the usual army surplus?
Hopefully this Instuctable will give you enough info for you to start designing you own camouflage
This Instructable is a work in progress, as I'm still in the process of making my camouflage item
#Updated 15/5/11#- Much more info now
Step 1: How Does Camouflage Work?
-Mimetic camouflage mimics an object in the environment that it is in, usually by the use of colours or and/or shapes
-Stick insects are a prime example of Mimetic camouflage
-Disruptive camouflage disrupts, or breaks up the outline of a figure
-This involves only patterns and colours, not physical shapes
-This is what all just about all the camouflage patterns used by militarys around the world use, hence the name of some being DPM (disruptive pattern material)
-The patterns on some snakes act as Disruptive camouflage
Here's a quick summary of a few things you need to understand before designing an effective camouflage pattern
If you want to know more about these things, I've thrown in a few links at the bottom
Focal vision/central vision (If you sound smart you can use the medical term- Foveal Vision )
- Colour plays a major role
-100% of visual clarity in the range of focal vision
- Relies on conscious input; ie looking at things
-In humans, colour does not play an important role in P.V., only movement and contrast.
-Animals have better peripheral vision than humans
-Plays a key role in threat detection
-More rod cells in peripheral zones of retina causes peripheral vision to work better at night
The brain’s perceptions
-Brain is more likely to perceive something as an object or figure if it is one solid colour
-Black in the environment perceived as depth. Shadows are a source of the colour black, as well as distance (the air will gradually absorb colours, creating grey-black)
Making Camouflage work
Confusing focal vision
- Using colours in the pattern that are similar to, if not the same as the colours in the environment
- To a certain extent, using shapes similar to that in theenvironment
- Different colours breaking up solid colours and forms will limit the brains ability to detect the object
Confusing peripheral vision
-Using environment-specific colours will reduce the contrast between the material and the surroundings
-While peripheral vision relies on contrast, reducing the contrast between the colours in the pattern will negatively affect the foveal confusing properties.
Confusing/Altering the brain’s perceptions
-The ‘dithering effect’ can be implemented to create the perception of more colours, confusing colour vision more by increasing the pattern’s ability to blend
-The use of black or other dark colours will create a perception of depth, adding a 3rd dimension to design
More info on how camouflage works >here<
Info on Peripheral vision >here<
Focal vision >here<
The Dithering effect >here<
lnfo on German 'Flecktarn' (this will help explain the Dithering effect a bit) >here<
Step 2: Now It Gets Complicated
-Cone cells in the eye detect colours
-Rod cells detect light intensities, but in monochrome
-Of Blue, Red and Green detecting cone cells, 11% are blue, 59% are Green and 30% are Red. This partially accounts for the fact that humans can perceive more shades of green than any other colour
-In low-light conditions cone cells do not function very well, thus causing human vision to be more monochrome than colour in the said conditions
-Various factors cause shades of brown and green to be perceived as the same colour at a distance. Furthermore, the resulting colour that is perceived by humans will depend on the environment it is in, therefore, greens would turn into browns in a predominantly brown/tan environment, and browns would be perceived as greens in a green environment.
-It has been found that a camouflage design composed of greens works in a desert environment because of the factors mentioned above. However, the colour difference will be easy to spot if a digital images were taken. This shows how the eyes and the brains perceptions will differ, sometimes greatly, from photo-simulations and digital imaging.
Psychology of Vision
-The brain’s method of converting shapes into objects is not fully understood. The leading theory is the Gestalt theory.
-This theory suggests the following factors among others contribute to the ‘formation’ of what is perceived to be an object-
-Positive and Negative spaces
-Positive spaces are what could be objects, whereas negative spaces are the area between objects.
-Camouflage aims to confuse the brain into thinking that a figure (Positive space) is part of the negative space.
-Objects with similar size, shape, texture and colour tend to be grouped together. For example, many leaf shapes in close proximity would be perceived as a tree or bush.
-The use of inconsistent shapes and directions in camouflage will help confuse this function.
-The brain tends to see complete figures or shapes, even if parts of it are obscured.
-Camouflage confuses the brains into perceiving elements of the pattern as objects that are in the environment. For example, leaf shapes may be perceived to be a part of a bush, while darker colour would represent shadows.
-Objects that appear to be connected are seen to be one object.
-Match ups between shapes in the environment and shapes in the pattern would reduce shape cues.
The brain receives too much visual information to be sorted through in a sensible time frame. In order to speed up this process, the brain produces a “Saliency Map” which in effect, highlights the areas in a particular scene that a figure or object is most likely to be.Salient objects or figures are generally situated in the Positive Spaces, rather than the background (Negative Spaces). If a figure is very similar to the background, it will not become a significant point on the Saliency map, and is thus overlooked. The following factors contribute significantly to an object’s or figure’s saliency-
-An object that is moving in a still environment will attract more attention.
-Shiny or reflective objects will catch the eye, as there are generally very few reflective objects in a natural environment.
-Shapes that are dissimilar to the environment or shapes that are known to be something i.e. a person will stand out.
-Confusing the processes stipulated in the Gestalt principles will break up a shape, thus making it mush less likely to be perceived as a single object or shape.
-Colour and texture
-Figures that are coloured in a way that does not match the environment will inevitably be detected.
-A figure with careful colour match ups patterned in such a way that is close to the environment’s texture will it much harder to detect.
-The brain can often determine shapes of a nearby object from the shadow it casts.
-Camouflage patterns can do little to remedy this
Step 3: Colour Selection
This is especially true if you produce something with the effectiveness of the Universal Camouflage Pattern from a few years back. Since when did an assortment of greys blend into a green environment, or a dusty brown one?
Criticism aside, here's the method I use for selecting colours-
-Find or take a picture of the environment you want to make a camouflage for. This could be a sandy environment like the beach or some desert, the woods outside you house and just about anywhere.
-Transfer the picture onto a computer and open it up on paint (assuming you are using PC)
-Click the re-size button and a pop up should appear
-Type in '1' in the 'Horizontal' and 'Vertical' boxes
-The picture should have turned really tiny
-Open up the re-size box again, but this time type '500' into the boxes, then click OK
-Repeat this step until you have the image size you want, for me I only do it twice in total