The Science of SpecAm (Special Operations Camouflage)

These patterns are copyrighted © 2005 by Guy Cramer and Timothy R. O'Neill, All Rights Reserved. Patterns may only be used only with permission.

Patterns may be licensed only with permission.

MARPAT (U.S. Marine Corps Pattern) was developed based on research from Lt. Col. Timothy R. O'Neill, Ph.D. (U.S. Army, Ret.) considered to be the foremost expert on camouflage in the world. CADPAT (Canadian Disruptive Pattern) was developed a number of years earlier than MARPAT but also cities O'Neill's work as the basis for the digital pattern. While both patterns and the new ARPAT (U.S. Army Pattern - three color variant of MARPAT) factored in Lt. Col. O'Neill's ideas of the pixalated micropattern, his research on the symmetry disruption of the human target shape with the larger Macropattern was not implemented into any of these patterns.

The slide below is Lt. Col. O'Neill's research from The U.S. Marine Corps site on MARPAT development (References at end). Note his optimal pattern to disrupt the human shape was not included in MARPAT:

This photo below of the HyperStealth SpecAm Tropical (Jungle) Camouflage

This simulation below of the SpecAm woodland pattern shows the disruption more clearly than the tropical jacket. Note the combination of Lt. Col. O'Neill's recommended pattern lines and Guy Cramer's fractal pattern (geometric feedback loop) elements. You may need to blur your vision to see the ambient vision effect.

Effective camouflage is not just common sense. Proper design and development require a knowledge of how the eye and brain work.
Dealing with a target involves two steps: detecting a target and recognizing the target.
When we detect a target, we are simply spotting something that does not belong. It may be a valid target (“detection”) or it may not be anything of interest (“false alarm”).
Two parallel visual systems deal with detection and recognition; was can call these the focal and the ambient.
Understanding how these processes work is essential to understanding camouflage.
The ambient system is an ancient way of seeing, one that evolved long before the focal. It has been described as the “where is it?” system, and has a distinct anatomical pathway (the tectopulvinar). It draws most of its information from the area around the center of vision, and is critical to detection.
The focal (“what is it?”) system is clustered near the center of vision. Once something has been detected by the ambient, the eye moves the focal system on the spot to decide what it is. This is the recognition step.
Two camouflage strategies are necessary: one for the ambient (Macropattern) and one for the focal processes (Micropattern)...

Lt. Col. O'Neill spoke about the pixalated effect:

"Digital" camouflage is actually a misnomer, based on the superficial resemblance of these patterns to quantized or coarse digital images. In fact, the patterns of squares (or whatever shape we use) is employed to model the texture of typical backgrounds using a mathematical function. We could use hexagons or shapeless blobs as well, except that it is easier to render complex patterns by computer using squares. It is easy to misunderstand the purpose and mechanisms of this kind of design, which is why so many measures that try to use the approach without insight fall short.

Companion Article: Something Wicked This Way Comes: New Special Operations (SpecAm) Digital Camouflage

Press Release September 22, 2005: HyperStealth® Camouflage goes Biotechnical

New Article October 1, 2005: Desert Vipers in the Sand - SpecAm Desert Viper revealed

New Article October 9, 2005: Satellite Determined - Regional Specific SpecAm Camouflage

New Article October 16, 2005: SpecAm HCD™ (High Contrast Disruption™) Woodland

New Article November 13, 2005: SpecAm Desert Jackal Camouflage

HyperStealth News November 24, 2005: SpecAm Production Announcement

For more Camouflage news go to the HyperStealth® Home Page


Actual SpecAm Uniforms, see: HyperStealth® SpecAm™ - Tropical

 Patterns may be licensed only with permission.

These patterns are copyrighted © 2005 by Guy Cramer and Timothy R. O'Neill, All Rights Reserved. Patterns may only be used only with permission.

This page and information © Copyright 2005,Guy Cramer,Timothy R. O'Neill, All Rights Reserved.

CADPAT is a Trademark of the Canadian Government

MARPAT is a Trademark of the U.S. Marine Corps

ACUPAT is a Trademark of the U.S. Army

HyperStealth is a Registered Canadian Trademark of HyperStealth.

"SpecAm" is a Trademark of HyperStealth® Biotechnology Corp.

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