Friday, August 27, 2010

Camouflage meets pixel art

When I was a kid, camouflage looked like this (my dad used to do a lot of hunting):

classic camouflage
Now, whenever I see someone wearing camo, it looks pixelated, like this:

pixelated camouflage
It's like 8-bit camo. Nintendo camo. In general images get higher resolutions over time. Why is camouflage moving backwards, becoming lower-res? Did they show somehow that pixelated camouflage works better, i.e., helps you better blend in with your surroundings?


  1. Yup, "In theory, it is a far more effective camouflage than standard uniform patterns because it mimics the dappled textures and rough boundaries found in natural settings."

    Personally, I don't buy it. I can understand wanting to exploit a dappled effect, but the isolated pixels are just way too square to be natural. They always stand out loud to me. Why can't they do micro-blobs?

    Marine Pattern (MARPAT)

  2. Ah ha! I knew there had to be a name for that.

    Also known as "digi-cammies"?!!

  3. Maybe they're trying to put forth the life-is-a-game theory.

    "Hey, remember that game Metal Gear Solid? You can be just like Solid Snake! Except there will be real people shooting real bullets at you. And you don't get a continue option. But, hey, have fun with it! Roll with the punches! And the gunfire."

  4. Another possibility is that it may be related to the conversion from analog to digital. If you rescan your digital converter box, you may find that the camouflage pattern clears up and the pixelation disappears or resolves itself.

    I mean, it seems possible...

  5. You are young but perhaps the camo you remember was originally for the jungle while the camo now is designed for the desert. At least the second pattern looks like it would fare better in the desert. I don't know. I don't care for hunting or killing people so I don't have much use for it. Just hazarding a guess.

  6. I've been noticing this for years (and on children's clothes in fun colors like baby blues, ducky-yellows, lavenders and pinks. I am cynical--but perhaps it is related to the "warfare is a video game" recruitment strategy employed recently in philly:

    I hope not, but I never rely upon the decency of government.

  7. There is a small goldmine of somewhat helpful, mostly perplexing info on this topic on this extremely half-assed website, which I believe belongs to a consulting firm run by the guy who developed the new pixilated camo that all the hipsters seem to be wearing these days. The explanation is basically that they use the pixels because smooth, continuous lines are more apt to attract attention than broken ones are, and the right-angled edges of the pixels are less apt -- when arranged in these fractal-based patterns -- to create what the eye will perceive as continuous lines.

    Given that the military not only has discovered that first-person-shooter video games are an excellent means of reducing soldiers’ reluctance to fire their weapons in battle, but ALSO is increasingly employing drone technology wherein battle actually BECOMES a video game, I think Carissa’s and Kirsten’s points make a lot of sense.

    All I know is, a guy who works in my office building drives this enormous SUV that has the suspension jacked up such that you’d just about need a ladder to get into it, and the whole thing is painted, badly, in an old-school jungle-camo pattern. Every time I pass it I have to fight the urge to ram it, just so I can be all: “Dude! TOTALLY didn’t see you there!”

  8. i thought I had heard that the new camouflage patterns made it easier for a new generation of battlefield computers to recognize friendly soldiers.

    i loved this idea.

    alas, it is not referenced on the wikipedia page dedicated to the subject, therefore it cannot possibly be true:

    (i find it cute that the Marines like the pattern because once the enemy has actually picked out someone wearing it, they're all, FUCK IT'S THE MARINES)

  9. u guys are just anti-armed forces