During WWI, British and American battleships were painted with gay, brightly colored cubist designs in order to confuse enemy torpedo operators about the location and direction of the vessels. The paint-jobs were called "Dazzle Paint" or "Razzle Dazzle" and this site has black-and-white photos as well as color artist renderings of some of the remarkable designs:
It is unfortunate that there are no color photographs of these WWI ships. People who witnessed convoys of dazzle painted ships reported that the scene was quite dramatic. Imagine sailing across the North Atlantic surrounded by dozens of brightly painted ships, each in different colors and patterns. If you compare the colored drawing with the black and white photograph of the ship "War Clover", you can get an idea of how much we are missing.
Update: Here's some nice examples of razzle-dazzle paint on tanks and jeeps. (Thanks, Corprew!)
Update 2 Here are two paintings from the legendary Group of Seven showing ships with Razzle Dazzle paint (Thanks, Shauna!)
We presume it can tell by the pixels.
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Finally. It’s been almost 3 years.
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