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Optical Illusions Update


"QUANTUM SHOT" #228(rev)
Link - article by Stefan Van den Bergh & Avi Abrams




Your eyes see one thing, your mind believes another!

Welcome our guest writer Stefan Van den Bergh, who runs the "Planet Perplex" website. He writes: "I've been fascinated by illusions and everything like it for as long as I remember. Over the years I've made several sites about them, and built an extensive collection." We start with surreal photographs by Philippe Ramette, which turn everything upside down, gravity be damned:


(image credit: Philippe Ramette)


The objects in these pictures DO NOT MOVE!

Akiyoshi Kitaoka is a famous creator of moving illusions. That is, they seem to move but they actually they are entirely static:

Warning : these illusions are so strong that sensitive observers might feel sick. You will understand when you see them full-screen.

The first example is probably the most famous of them all and a favorite in poster stores: Rotating Snakes! -




When looking at this picture, you might want to check if the screen of your device is still flat. Maybe it actually IS rippling?! -




These "rotating" ladybugs are rather simple but extremely convincing. It's hard to believe this is not an animation:




The last "not-quite-moving" picture is also a classic, pretty well-known but too good to leave it out. Stare at the black dot and move your head back and forth from the screen. The wheels will start turning ...




And these objects are moving, indeed - but in a strange way

This little animation is fast becoming very popular - and no wonder: when you first look at the spinning girl, her rotation seems to be clockwise. But when you start to concentrate on her shadow, suddenly her rotation switches to counter-clockwise! It may take some time, but the moment it happens, you are going to be genuinely surprised... (first seen here)



This ferris wheel animation is similar to the one above. Look at the left side of the wheel, and it will rotate to the left. Look at the right and it will rotate there. If you play around with it, you can make it turn wherever you want. Try it!




Unique Stereo Pictures can be created using a simple animation effect. This pool animation has only two frames, but looks convincingly three-dimensional.









See more "stereo pictures" here.


Just a point of view

Have a look at this photograph of Neuchatel, Switzerland. How long would it have taken Felice Varini to put the red lines there ? Five minutes, with a pencil and a ruler ? -


(image credit: Felice Varini)

I don't know exactly but it would have been much, much longer. You see, the red lines are actually painted on the buildings. He just took buckets of red paint and got into town, as you will see below. This illusion only works from one exact point of view.


(image credit: Felice Varini)


Here are some more examples of his work (there are dozens more at his site) -










(image credit: Felice Varini)


Another superb example of Varini's 3-D work is the Cardiff's Harbor, where the whole site became a "canvas" for Felice Varini's shapes, which could be discovered only from a specific viewpoint...




3-D Transformations

Shigeo Fukuda is another great point-of-view artist, the true "Master of Transformations". See for example his "Underground Piano". It looks like a large pile of junk from most angles, but when it is seen in a mirror at a particular angle, it resolves into an image of a piano:


(image via)


Here is the "Encore" sculpture, which morphs into various musicians, depending on your point-of-view:


(image via Growabrain)


Shadow Sculptures: Blurry Mind Games

Again, by Shigeo Fukuda - watch this video to see the shadows transform a pile of junk.



Our illusions coverage will be incomplete if we don't mention other "shadow sculptures": the stunning shadow art by Kumi Yamashita and "garbage-infused" shadow sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster:





(image credit: Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Kumi Yamashita)


Some point-of-view illusions can also happen just by accident. And when they do, the results can be hilarious... The following point-of-view illusions display the power of precise composition and object placement in photography:



(image credit: sepultura)


For an interesting case of "cover-up" viewing-angle illusion (and a study of Medieval morals) see this page


Now you see it ...

Now a bit of magic - let's make some stuff disappear. The first illusion is a classic, but keeps baffling me every time. Stare at the black cross in the center. Within seconds, a green ball will appear. And a few seconds after that, the green ball starts eating the purple balls, until there's nothing left !



This one has no moving parts. Just look at the black cross and see the colored fluff fade away until everything is gray. See how easy your eyes are fooled ?




Speaking about elusive color... This link is simply mind-boggling. Follow the instructions to see the color appear out of black-n-white image of the castle. Click here

Adding to more well known images (see our first part), here is a variation of "shading illusion" - these two cubes are the SAME color!




Illusions in Advertising

Discover darker meaning in this fine example of "hidden image" advertising:




For those with a lot of time on their hands, here is a great image from Mighty Optical Illusions - try to find all 82 Absolut vodka bottles in this drawing:


(image credit: Mighty Optical Illusions, and Edith Wentz)


San Francisco Red Cross awareness ad campaign is slightly shocking, depicting the same street-scape after some kind of cataclysm: (seen here)




Some lovely locations are shown on the following Club Med ads - with a cute face hidden in each one:




Sometimes there is no need to "enhance" Mother Nature with a Photoshop job: check out this "portrait" of the actual rainforest insect:
(courtesy Darlyne Murawski)



Article by Stefan Van den Bergh, "Planet Perplex", and Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.


CONTINUE TO "MIND-BENDING OPTICAL ILLUSIONS" ->

ALSO READ: "OPTICAL ILLUSIONS IN ART" ->





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YOUR COMMENTS::

14 Comments:

Blogger Elliot said...

I had seen those shadow sculptures about a month ago and decided to try and achieve one myself. I created the shadow of a cat. There is a picture located here: http://nicolerae365.blogspot.com/2007/07/shadow-art.html

Please tell me what you think!

___  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Elliot, nice kitty there.

must be hard to set up these things...

___  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

No matter how hard I try, I can't see that girl spinning clockwise, but I think it's actually a mental map problem in my case. You see, I know how to dance, so the only logical way to spin is with the leg trailing, so my brain automatically rejects the alternate interpretation.

The Ferris Wheel right after it works fine, but the green dot doesn't get to eat all the magenta ones— tricksy little guys keep popping back up.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try to concentrate on the tip of her shoe (the one closest to the ground), then blink and shift your gaze - seems to work for me.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also can't see the spinning girl change direction, not matter how hard I try. The ferris wheel is impressive though.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B. Durbin,

Whether she is spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise, the leg is still trailing. Blows my mind.

-Hal

___  
Anonymous princess said...

whats the hidden image in the poison ad? and how am i meant to see it?

___  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Hi Princess... it's a skull. Really scary, actually.

___  
Blogger Paul said...

the 2 cubes aint the same colour, open it in paint and join them together and you'll see

___  
Anonymous Paige said...

Paul: true, but the "lighter" cube is actually darker!

___  
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___  
Anonymous Khartoba said...

B.Durbin it sounds like the problem is that you are looking at it as the same leg. Don't think of it as one leg either trailing or leading, rather think of it as the right leg trailing for it to spin in one direction, then think of it as the left leg trailing and it will spin in the other direction.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trick with the spinning girl is to concentrate on the shadow of her toes on the leading foot.If you catch it just as it comes into view on the left side, she reverses direction...then on the right side, she reverses direction again. Quite an amazing little illusion.
Thanks, Stephen B.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my. After staring at the spinning girl for about 15 minutes, I was able to make her switch directions whenever I wanted 'her' to. The downside is, I now have a bad headache.

___  

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