Dithering allows an image to be represented by a smaller number of colors. Each pixel is rounded to the closest color from the given palette, and the error is rounded to the surrounding pixels. Dither Studies exposes this process by dithering solid colors or simple gradients using a palette of complementary colors. Although the dithering algorithms are rooted in a simple logical process, the resulting patterns appear complex and irrational.
The Dither Studies are collaborations with Photoshop. I give the program an impossible task: to draw a solid color or gradient with a palette of incompatible colors, thus exposing the dithering algorithm's complex, seemingly irrational patterns. Dithering is ordinarily intended to be hidden, a way of maintaining photographic realism while saving space. But by intentionally misusing it, the algorithmic unconscious that underlies the digital imagery we experience is exposed in all its complexity. The color palette, inspired by Op Art, creates dynamic patterns that appear very different from up close than from a medium distance, where the colors writhe, losing their sharp clarity. From very far away, the colors begin to fade into each other, and the viewer can get a sense of the original colors Photoshop had attempted to render.