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Hajo L.

Digital camoflage - why??

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I just saw a set of pictures showing chinese tanks. And once again they wear "le derniere crie" of camouflage - a digital pattern. I wonder why digital patterns are that popular at the moment.

I remember reading that some camouflage was banned from use because it had black parts in it. Reason for banning was, that in nature no black exits.... So what about the squares in digital patterns? Those don´t exist in nature, too, but everyone is wearing them.

Is it a fashion trend??

HAJO

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Fashion trend- yes. Apparently the Chinese like to copy us, who would have guessed?

Effective-it can be. An old saying goes, all camo can work in the right environment but not so well in the wrong environment. Don't get us started on Army ACU digital pattern.... :deadhorse1: As far as "squares" or "pixels" from a distance these blob out and the eye doesn't recognize them as such. Distance is key here.

I own dozens of different hunting camo's and for the most part- it's fashion. I just like to wear hunting camo on the weekends, maybe its because I'm a redneck? If I really want to be hidden in my hunting environment effectively, I'll wear a gillie suit in shadowy cover and sit still.

That's my $0.02 as I was sitting here up early drinking a coffee at the workbench. Time to head off to work.

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Camo can be accomplished in different ways. Most common two are blend in with back ground totally (hardest to do because of unknown elements in all surroundings) or shape disruption. Digital camo is mostly the latter of the two. The human eye makes distinction of objects by color contrast and by shape recognition. Hard edges make things easily visable. By breaking the hard edges up it make it less likely to be noticed by the human eye. Digital works because it breaks edges in to very small patterns and removes as many hard edges as possible. While it does use colors as well, the main function is shape disruption. That's why it's so popular. I suppose there is a bit of "fad" to it as well, but I don't think they'd seriously consider it if it at least didn't appear to work.

Bill

btw, I never agreed with the removal of black. It's true that black itself doesn't exist in nature, BUT shadows do. when you have a camo pattern without black (or at least dark dark grey) then it stands out because it's the only thing that doesn't have depth from shadows. IMHO.

Edited by niart17

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So what about the squares in digital patterns? Those don´t exist in nature, too, but everyone is wearing them.

Is it a fashion trend??

It looks cool. That is literally the only reason it has been adopted anywhere. It *isn't* particularly effective, it has been demonstrated to be less effective and the US Army has been pulling it from service because it didn't work.

But, it looks cool, so everyone has to do it.

Also, fun fact: the reason for the original design patent wasn't that it was a new, super-effective camouflage technique. It was just easier to print square blocks on fabric.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/07/camouflage_problems_in_the_army_the_ucp_and_the_future_of_digital_camo_.html

ETA: the Chinese aren't copying the US. The US (and everyone else) is copying Canada.

Edited by MoFo

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Outdated now, BAe has mastered adaptive camo. Sensors embedded in the skin of Aircraft (F-35) will allow the colors to change to surrounding environments. F-22 prolly has it too, the metallic sheen is there for a reason. I have some pix somewhere of an F-35 under construction with sensors and wiring embedded on the skin.

John

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.... I wonder why digital patterns are that popular at the moment....

Well - one cannot make new money by pitching old or currently used "technology". Nope - one has to come up with something new and 'revolutionary' in order to lobby, sell and mark up the product by 170%

In combat will any cammo pattern be a game changer? Are certain patterns better than others? Its doubtful... but that thinking is why I am typing on a model forum instead of dining with government officials.

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Digital camouflage was invented to annoy modellers.

Stephen

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It looks cool. That is literally the only reason it has been adopted anywhere. It *isn't* particularly effective, it has been demonstrated to be less effective and the US Army has been pulling it from service because it didn't work.

Actually, I think studies have shown that digital patterns ARE more effective. The reason the US Army is having problems is that they made horrible choices when it came to the colors, not because they went digital. They learned the hard way that you cannot come up with one pattern that works in every type of terrain. Also - they are not pulling those uniforms from service, just issuing another pattern to troops deploying to Afghanistan. Everyone else is still stuck wearing ACU's.

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I'm happy that Civil Air Patrol still uses the BDUs. But on the other hand, When your looking for your ground crew in the woods from a plane, its not really helpful. Orange vests helps alot, but still we could use the lighter ACUS to make out job easier.

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Correction. It was Army leadership who looked at UCP as a fashion statement. And since they're so much more clever than everyone else, they came up with a color scheme to work in every environment, ensuring that it would be equally horrible everywhere. The Canadians, Marine Corp and Navy got it right (not the blue digis, those are a fashion statement too. I'm talking about their green and desert scheme digis). Singapore's digi colors are good too. The human brain detects shapes, so the old woodland patterns are easier to spot at a distance, whereas a digital pattern is just visual noise that can't be as easily interpreted by the brain. With the correct color scheme, a digital pattern can be very effective against terrain.

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The evolution of camouflage ('blowing smoke' in the opposition's face) is one of the most fascinating subjects to me: the essential 'Art of War'! Pedantically, 'digital' schemes are mis-named since they don't have much to do with representing things in binary...however, they probably are designed to present a (misleading) image of structure or process rather than a simple object. This reflects the late Robert Hughes' view that "...camouflage is Cubism at war".

Blame it all on Braque!

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It's called Digital Camo because either it works - or it doesn't. :monkeydance:

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Here's one of the ideas behind digital camouflage:

Michelangelo%27s_David_-_Sierra.png

Using only black and white, you (with a little squinting or distance from the image) can see various shades of grey. Using pixels like this, a digitally painted machine or printed uniform can give the impression of smooth demarcations when using few colors.

Another benefit to digital camo (although more for uniforms than other things) is the fractal detail of nature. With digital uniforms, when you get closer you see more detail, which is what happens to rocks and plants and dirt most things you are hiding in. With large blocks of color, the closer you are the more it stands out.

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Actually, I think studies have shown that digital patterns ARE more effective. The reason the US Army is having problems is that they made horrible choices when it came to the colors, not because they went digital. They learned the hard way that you cannot come up with one pattern that works in every type of terrain. Also - they are not pulling those uniforms from service, just issuing another pattern to troops deploying to Afghanistan. Everyone else is still stuck wearing ACU's.

Correct, the Discovery Channel had a very interesting show that went into detail why and how digital camouflage is so effective.

Also correct about the US Army and the error in the selection of colors.

I remember when I was on TD in Miramar and a Marine Colonel saw me in CADPAT and he was choked another military had a pattern similar to what the Marines just voted on. He thought they were the first to get a digital uniform and was upset to see Canada was the first to develop and issue their CADPAT. He thought the Marines had something unique.

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Here's one of the ideas behind digital camouflage:

Michelangelo%27s_David_-_Sierra.png

Using only black and white, you (with a little squinting or distance from the image) can see various shades of grey. Using pixels like this, a digitally painted machine or printed uniform can give the impression of smooth demarcations when using few colors.

Another benefit to digital camo (although more for uniforms than other things) is the fractal detail of nature. With digital uniforms, when you get closer you see more detail, which is what happens to rocks and plants and dirt most things you are hiding in. With large blocks of color, the closer you are the more it stands out.

You must be a professor, thus says a lot without really saying anything at all....

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You must be a professor, thus says a lot without really saying anything at all....

I don't get what you are trying to say.

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When I was last in Iraq we were in the 3-color desert tan scheme and I remember when our relief came in their shiny new ACU's...UCP, whatever, they looked ridiculous. Out in the sand they made nice silhouette targets. Of course, now I have to wear them. Now, we did have a company of Marines come to the FOB for a couple months to run patrols with us and I did like their uniforms. When I was in Germany, I thought the woodland BDU's were great. We still had BDU's when I was doing an exercise at Ft. Polk, LA. I went out into the forest to move into a position to watch our camp and an evaluator who was looking for me and my partner stepped on my foot. I wasn't just laying there of course, I used leaves and pine straw for cover along with some smelly swamp mud. He kept going and later found another pair of our guys hiding up the road.

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When I was last in Iraq we were in the 3-color desert tan scheme and I remember when our relief came in their shiny new ACU's...UCP, whatever, they looked ridiculous. Out in the sand they made nice silhouette targets. Of course, now I have to wear them. Now, we did have a company of Marines come to the FOB for a couple months to run patrols with us and I did like their uniforms. When I was in Germany, I thought the woodland BDU's were great. We still had BDU's when I was doing an exercise at Ft. Polk, LA. I went out into the forest to move into a position to watch our camp and an evaluator who was looking for me and my partner stepped on my foot. I wasn't just laying there of course, I used leaves and pine straw for cover along with some smelly swamp mud. He kept going and later found another pair of our guys hiding up the road.

When I was in BCT in early 1977 at Knox, we had a camo demo one morning. We all had to turn our backs as some members of my company were picked at random and told to go out to specific distances across an open field and along a wood line. After they got set up we had to turn around and find them by eyeball only. They were wearing standard OD green cotton fatigues which were brand new (i.e. unfaded). The drill sergeants had the "targets" display their white T-shirts at the neck to show where they were after we couldn't find them visually. They were at staggered distances out to 500 feet. Even a small triangle of T-shirt was immediately visible.

The last person to be found turned out to be behind a low grass hummock which was maybe 8 feet in front of where we were all standing. The grass was maybe a foot tall and we couldn't see this guy at all, and he had no disruptive camo in his clothing or gear, or on his face. When he was instructed to stand up a lot of people got a big surprise.

The other interesting demo was a person lighting a cigarette at night a full mile away, and on a dark night that was immediately visible.

I remember they used to say, "If you can be seen you can be hit, and if you can be hit you can be killed". The corollary of course was that if the enemy is within killing range, you probably are too..:-)

One more camo story: one of our drill sergeants tells a group of 3 of our guys to set up an M60 in an ambush position and to camouflage it real well. He will come along later to evaluate. When he does he congratulates them on their camouflage, pausing only to tell them that next time they shouldn't use poison ivy for camo purposes...

John Hairell (tpn18@yahoo.com)

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Another thing to factor in is how well the pattern conceals you from night vision equip. Some studies show that patterns which provide good concealment during the day actually are substandard when being viewed through night vision gear. The USMC MARPAT is one such pattern.

Since more and more bad guys now have access to this gear, this is yet one more requirement that needs to be considered.

An anecdotal story I read went into some detail about an Israeli special forces team that took heavy casualties during the recent operation against Hezbollah in Lebanon. During a night mission, they were readily detected by Hezbollah fighters equipped with NVG's. It turns out that the Israeli's standard issue uniforms actually highlighted them when viewed through NVG's.

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Correct, the Discovery Channel had a very interesting show that went into detail why and how digital camouflage is so effective.

Also correct about the US Army and the error in the selection of colors.

I remember when I was on TD in Miramar and a Marine Colonel saw me in CADPAT and he was choked another military had a pattern similar to what the Marines just voted on. He thought they were the first to get a digital uniform and was upset to see Canada was the first to develop and issue their CADPAT. He thought the Marines had something unique.

I'd imagine he said the same thing when he realized that the CAF had false canopy's on their CF-18's long before the Marines started putting them on theirs.

http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/images/harrytrumannj_fa18.jpg

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Correct, the Discovery Channel had a very interesting show that went into detail why and how digital camouflage is so effective.

The Discovery Channel? I didn't realize such a prestigious and trustworthy institution had weighed in on the subject.

Amish_Mafia.jpg

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Here's one of the ideas behind digital camouflage:

Using only black and white, you (with a little squinting or distance from the image) can see various shades of grey. Using pixels like this, a digitally painted machine or printed uniform can give the impression of smooth demarcations when using few colors.

Another benefit to digital camo (although more for uniforms than other things) is the fractal detail of nature. With digital uniforms, when you get closer you see more detail, which is what happens to rocks and plants and dirt most things you are hiding in. With large blocks of color, the closer you are the more it stands out.

You must be a professor, thus says a lot without really saying anything at all....

I don't get what you are trying to say.

I don't see a problem with spejic's statement. Then again, I did ace the last three quizzes and the midterm.

Amish Mafia. LOL! Do they ever demonstrate an Amish Drive-by?

Edited by Horrido

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