Thursday, June 30, 2005

Message of Love from the Dolphins

How old are you ?

That question may determine what you see in the optical illusion picture below by Sandro Del-Prete. If you are very young you will see nine dolphins at play. If you are not very young you will see a couple in an erotic embrace.

Message of Love from the Dolphins optical illusion image

What is very young? I asked my 8 year old son what he saw and he told me he saw a man and woman, but we didn't explore details of what he saw. However it has been said that younger children don't have the context to see anything other than the dolphins.

You have been able to see the nine dolphins by now haven't you? No? Come on now get your mind up out of the gutter and look a little harder.

If it makes you feel any better it took me quite a while to see the dolphins. Once you find one the rest will be obvious.
READ MORE - Message of Love from the Dolphins

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Leaning Tower of Pisa Optical Illusion

Approximately 200 years in the making and about 800 years since the first block was laid the Leaning Tower of Pisa has stood as a unique architectural land mark.

Recently it has been discovered that in fact the Tower is not leaning it just looks that way due to a unique optical illusion effect of the surrounding buildings. You can see in the below image that the tower is relatively straight it is obviously the building to the right in this photo that is leaning.

Leaning Tower of Pisa optical illusion

And to think of all of the time and money invested over the years in trying to keep the wrong building from falling over. The city council is embarrassed and promised to immediately hire a consulting firm to study the new situation.
READ MORE - Leaning Tower of Pisa Optical Illusion

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Springtime Word Optical Illusion

I've seen this illusion many times. Read the words in the triangle below out loud.

Paris in Springtime Optical Illusion

Are you sure you read this passage correctly?

I started to think it wasn't that great of an illusion. The trouble is since I've seen it before I couldn't imagine anyone not reading this correctly. I brought it up on my screen today and asked my 15 year old son to read the words out loud.

He said "I love Paris in the springtime" I told him that he got it wrong and to try again. This time he said, "I love Paris in the springtime". Two times in a row he read it wrong. I gave him one more chance and again he said, "I love Paris in the springtime".

At this point I read it out loud to him and he acknowledged that he had been wrong.

Did you read it the same as my son?

Do you know why he was wrong?

Make sure you read all seven words.
READ MORE - Springtime Word Optical Illusion

Monday, June 27, 2005

Spirals or Circles Optical Illusion?

Spirals or concentric circles? Look at the figures below, What do you see? Are both of these images of spirals plummeting toward the center or does one of these images have only concentric circles?

The truth here is that both images are of concentric circles. The top image is very hard to believe and many of you will mark up your screen with finger prints trying to trace the circles. Here is a little hint, trace the circles on the top image in a clockwise direction otherwise you could go crazy and swear that I'm lying to you.
READ MORE - Spirals or Circles Optical Illusion?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Summertime Optical Illusion Fun

I constantly get people coming to this site by searching for "scary optical illusion", I've seen many optical illusions but I wouldn't call any of them scary. Unless of course you are 4 years old. I mean if you were very young then this illusion might be scary.

Personally I love this illusion it is a special summertime illusion that the whole family can enjoy.

For those of you that get to the beach this year try your own illusion and send the picture in to this site. I might create a special section for do it yourself illusions. This won't be limited to beach illusions, any image that tricks our perception is welcome.
READ MORE - Summertime Optical Illusion Fun

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pro-athlete Optical Illusion?

Below is what could be the first Pro-athlete optical illusion. Here we have two apparent members of teams in the National Basketball Association squaring off on the court in anticipation of a duel of titans. How was this picture produced? What lighting, special effects or camera lens could account for the seeming disparity in height? Could it be a image that was created in a software package like Photoshop?

Or could it just be that one player is in fact 5 foot 5 inches tall and the other is 7 foot 1 inch tall?
READ MORE - Pro-athlete Optical Illusion?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pavement Optical Illusions

Absolutely Amazing! Remember the below drawings are in chalk on the pavement. Check out some of the reactions these drawings are getting.

Julian Beever has made pavement drawings for over ten years. He has worked in the U.K., Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Australia.

Anamorphic illusions drawn in a special distortion in order to create an impression of 3 dimensions when seen from one particular viewpoint.

Pre-modernist and post-modernist

Girl on a beach mat

Push the boat out

Other Julian Beever Works

Treasure Hunting
The Real Thing
Politicians Meeting Their End
World's Biggest Fly-Spray
The Rescue
Portable Computer
Swimming-Pool In The High Street
Self-Portrait Of The Artist
Arctic Street
READ MORE - Pavement Optical Illusions

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Spot the Fish Optical Illusion

I love this little animated image (found here). It illustrates how camouflage works in nature. When the little critters are moving they can be seen but often when they are still they blend into the background and seemingly disappear.

Below is an image taken by Dory English he calls "Spot The Fish". Dory sent this to me after he saw this post on camouflage optical illusions in nature.

Can you spot the fish? This is an example of once an animal that uses camouflage for protection comes to rest it is very difficult to see.

Spot The Fish
©Dory English used w/permission
click for large image
move mouse over image for solution

My 11 year old daughter assisted my old eyes in spotting this fish. She even suggested That I outline it so it would be easier for you to find, but what fun would that be? Let me just say that the fish is positioned tail left, head right and the yellow dot is the eye of the fish. Update: I took my daughter's advice, just move your mouse over the image for the solution.

This fish while moving (like the animated image above) can be seen easily, but once it comes to rest it blends into it's environment and is very hard to spot.

This is an excellent example of Mother Nature employing an optical illusion to protect one of her own. Thanks Dory for sending this to me and allowing it's inclusion in this gallery of illusions.
READ MORE - Spot the Fish Optical Illusion

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wooden Foot Bridge Illusion

If you get dizzy easy read the caution above and please be seated when viewing the below image.

This is a great illusion. As you view this image it will seem as if you are at the center of a wooden foot bridge As you scroll down the page it will be as if you bend over and look back between your own legs.

If you only see a narrow image enlarge it so you see the image full scale.
READ MORE - Wooden Foot Bridge Illusion

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kanizsa's Triangle and Marketing 101

This figure above was introduced by Gaetano Kanizsa, an Italian psychologist. Everyone sees a white triangle in front of the three black disks and inverted triangle. However, the white triangle actually does not exist. The contours of this triangle are illusory contours created by your brain. Note that the illusory triangle looks brighter than the background. This is a result of brightness contrast caused by the black disks being partially covered by the corners of the illusory triangle.

Remove the black circles and the white triangle vanishes.

We actually see the Kanizsa Triangle Optical Illusion often in everyday life. I was cruising the web months back and came across a blog that presented the below figured used by "The Limited" chain of stores in their windows. He correctly pointed out that below we see a "Kanizsa Girl", we all see a girl where no girl actually exists.

We have all seen this technique used in marketing from time to time. If anyone comes across the blog that made this observation please leave me a message so I can give him credit for noting this observation.

Update: Adam C. pointed out another example of this type of illusion used in advertising. In the below FedEx logo we see an arrow which isn't really there. You don't really think that the arrow is in their logo by accident do you? Thanks Adam.

READ MORE - Kanizsa's Triangle and Marketing 101

Monday, June 13, 2005

Two Dimensional Gravity Optical Illusion

I've seen this illusion around the net and it seems to me that the red lines in this image must be effected by the gravitational pull of the circles. Normally 2 dimensional pictures don't have that strong a gravitational field but this image must use special high mass color in the center of these circles, how else could we explain the way the straight lines are pulled off center.

I just checked and the lines are actually straight. I guess the gravity of the special color must be effecting the way we see these lines, almost as if an optical illusion is causing us to view straight lines as wavy lines.

What am I saying the title of this site is Optical Illusions Etc..., so of course this is another optical illusion that causes us to view straight lines as curved lines.

Check out this site to see this illusion with and without the circles, just move your mouse over the orange bar at the bottom.
READ MORE - Two Dimensional Gravity Optical Illusion

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Seville Optical Illusion

This photo was taken by Geoff Pettitt LRPS.

I was curious what LRPS stood for it seems he has been awarded a Licentiateship by The Royal Photographic Society. This is awarded either for competence in practical photography, or in recognition of the passing of an appropriate examination in photography by the Society.

You can view this photo and others of his at Brighton & Hove Camera Club.

This photo he titled Seville Optical Illusion.

You can see the graffiti on the wall in red, the initials AR.

But are those initials painted on the wall or flowing above the picture?

Has this graffiti been processed into this picture by some program like photoshop?

Looking at this photo it seems that the graffiti is not on the wall but on the surface of the photo itself. This effect is what makes this photo and graffiti an excellent illusion.

Again I request that if you run across illusions like this in your neck of the woods, send them to me.
READ MORE - Seville Optical Illusion

Monday, June 6, 2005

Escher's Infinite Circle - II

Stacy of She Dreams in Digital has an excellent site full of interesting digital art creations. She offers many fine prints for sale and many great fractals suitable for wallpaper free of charge.

The below is crossposted with permission of Stacy Reed from She Dreams in Digital.

This one was created using the script ~ datagram wrote upon my request and though it takes some real manipulating, in effect, Escher's idea to create an infinite pattern in a predefined shape can be achieved and in such a beautiful way.

Those of you who are familiar with M.C Escher have probably seen his woodcut series titled Circle Limit I - IV in which the center pattern is the largest, and scales down considerably until it is infinite around the perimeter. The other day, I applied a few scripts, and pushed Apophysis to it's limits until something like this began to show. I was truly amazed, and I was so obsessed with this, that I begged Matteo to help me write a script so that I could obtain these results again. I sent him some of my sample flames and he figured it out from there.

I am always amazed at the different things I can achieve with fractal software like Apophysis. With this script, we can now put Escher's vision into a new modern perspective. M.C. Escher was brilliant. Indeed, he was one of the most fascinating artists ever to grace the planet, and he gets all the credit for this one. If you don't know of him, (and I can't imagine that there are many fractal lovers out there who don't) you need to do a google search right now. Go on... do it. You won't be disappointed!

Created with Apophysis only. No postwork.
READ MORE - Escher's Infinite Circle - II

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Deadly Beauty

I found this over on skecthdump. Brandon Reese is the artist that runs this site. He is quite talented and his art varies greatly. Stop on by and check it out.

©brandon reese 2005 used w/permission

When I look at this image I recall the stories of old, told again and again about the monsters of the deep and how giant octopuses attacked ships. Sailors would come home with stories of lost seamen pulled overboard by these creatures of the deep.

While I doubt that they actually used flowers to attract their victims you can see below that their tentacles do have a flower like quality to them. Maybe in 650bc when Homer's Odyssey was all the rage and he wrote of Skylla a many headed many feet sea creature (most likely a giant octopus) this is the way these giant octopuses hunted by floating near the surface and luring sailors with their flower like tentacles.

Of course now they are boring and the octopus will hunt by hiding in it's hole and waiting for unsuspecting prey (Often crabs or clams after the octopus is mature enough to handle these ) to come within reach. Then they pull the prey in for an evening meal.

Suckers of a giant Pacific octopus. Picture: Jim Cosgrove.
READ MORE - Deadly Beauty

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Scintillating Grid Optical Illusion

Below is the scintillating grid illusion, most people will see white dots turn black and then turning white again very fast.

How many black dots can you count in the above grid?

Why do I see black dots where none exist?
The effect of the optical illusion is explained by a neural process called lateral inhibition. The intensity at a point in the visual system is not simply the result of a single receptor, but the result of a group of receptors called a receptive field. In the center of the receptive field, the receptors act excitatory on the resulting signal, and the receptors in the surrounding area act inhibitory on the signal. Thus, since a point at an intersection is surrounded by more intensity than a point at the middle of a line, the intersection appears darker. In a person's eyes, the nerve cells of the retina associate and interact with each other, which results in the illusion that there are dots, when there really aren't.

This explanation is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Grid illusion".
READ MORE - Scintillating Grid Optical Illusion

Ferris Wheel Optical Illusion

I love this little animated Ferris wheel.

Look at the red outside edge, is the wheel going around clockwise or counter clockwise?

Are you sure?

Now look at the purple center of the Ferris wheel.

What is the truth of this illusion?

By now you hopefully have realized that this is just a two frame animated GIF and it alternates back and forth between only two positions. It doesn't go around in either direction. This is clearly seen when you focus on the center but look just to the outside edge and it appears that this Ferris wheel makes complete trips covering the full 360 degrees.
READ MORE - Ferris Wheel Optical Illusion

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Magazine Cover Illusion

I found this over on the Tasty Blog. The question Jay posed was:
"I wonder how many tries it took to get this shot.. Or maybe they used a bit of PhotoShop?"

What do you think?

Personally, I think it was done in one shot.

I love these little illusions that pop up in all areas of our life. If you have run across any illusions in your travels please take out that digital camera and take a pic then send them to me so I can share them here for the world to see.
READ MORE - Magazine Cover Illusion
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