Where nothing is as it seems.

Even though a few of the optical illusions here are already popular, I have enhanced many of them with the use of animation. Also, many of the optical illusions on display I've actually made myself :) The "Rotating Dot Whirlpool", "Tube of illusion", "Vision distorter", "The multi-square slicer", "Tube of Illusion", "Glowing Core", the 'bulb swap' thing and to some extent - the "Multi-cube" and "Magic Zoomster" have been created by myself.

Out of interest, if anyone knows the names of the people who made some of the popular illusions on this page, then please email me or visit the forum - so I can give credit.
For more fabulous optical illusions like these, visit the excellent sites www.eyetricks.com and www.exploratorium.edu for some interactive illusions. Alternatively, you might like to see the 3-d optical illusions (pictures in stereo) at the Skytopia 3D Stereoscopic gallery

At first, there doesn't seem anything unusual about this picture. I mean, it's just a bunch of diagonal lines and a slightly distorted square in the middle - right? Wrong.
Believe it or not, the 4 lines that make up the square are actually perfectly straight. In fact it /is/ a perfect square. For proof of this, the animation will swap between the two frames so you can see the square remains the same. Also check by loading the pic into your favourite art package.

Rotating dot whirlpool
Wow! Try staring at this for more than 5 seconds
without going crazy. Then try following it round! =)
Curves constantly die out and then re-evolve as
part of another curve.


Each of the 3 curves shown below are sections of the circle.
Which would form the largest circle though?
Answer at the bottom of the page.

Skewed lines

All these tracks look as though they've come from a broken down railway track, but in actual fact, they are perfectly parallel! To prove they really are parallel, watch the small 'hairs' gradually disappear. You will see the lines as how you would expect them to be.

What does this simple green signpost say?
Guess again. Look at the bottom of the page for the answer.

Multi Cube

Now this is very clever, even for those who think they know what's going on here. Take a look at the diagram - how many cubes can you see? You can give 1 or 2 answers, but you are not allowed to count 'overlapping' cubes as part of any one total. As soon as you think you know the answer/s, click the picture for the full optical illusion and be amazed.

The glowing core

Look into the centre (white point) and stare for a while. How many colours can you see altogether? You should see a purplish circle... and the 4 rotating 'wings' are tinted green. Make sure you always keep focused on the centre.
Once you've done this, read on...

Are those four wings really green? Amazingly, they are exactly the same colour as the the circle inside. Don't believe me? Well try following one of the wings round. You'll see that the colour matches the inner circle perfectly.

NB. The faster the circle rotates, the better the illusion will work. Unfortunately, Explorer has great trouble displaying GIF animations faster than about 10 frames per second, so I suggest saving the anim and then using an external such as Irfanview. Visit www.irfanview.com for more details.
If you would like to see an animation similar to the one on the left (but this the time, the corners glow), then click here

What line is longer;
from a to b, or from b to c?

Amazingly, they're both the same length. This is the most extreme example I have found that distorts perception of length.
Which semicircle is brighter - the left or the right half?
Can you see dark blotches on the white 'junctions' in between the corners of these black squares?

A cool escher type shape to get you all confused.

Above: The multi-square slicer (Once again, this looks more impressive using the Irfanview player...
Right: Do you find that the white dots shimmer?

Magic Zoomster

This cool illusion has been seen before, but I've spruced it up by adding colour, multiple layers, and making it bigger!! The idea is to focus on the dot in the centre and then move your head constantly towards and away from the monitor. You should see the circles rotate spookily! Press the F11 key in your browser to see the illusion at full screen!

This is probably the only illusion that can look as though it is moving despite it being a still picture.

Tube of illusion

OK, this one really belongs in the Skytopia 3D stereoscopic gallery, but I just couldn't resist. If you can cross your eyes, so that the both pictures 'merge' into one, the effect you will see is truly stunning!
Try focusing on something in between you and the monitor.

Vision distorter
I've saved the best 'til last - one of the more scary optical illusions. Click on the left picture for a series of animations that distort the very world around you! There are anims to make everything shrink, grow, stretch, and a mix of these! You won't believe it 'til you see it.
Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java(tm).

Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java(tm).
Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java(tm). There's certainly something very ambiguous about which way this is meant to be up...

This is /really/ what goes on in light bulb factories by the way.
Tri-curve: They're all the same size
Sign says "I love paris in the /the/ springtime". The word "the" is repeated.

>>> Other cool stuff... >>>

Have you any comments about this page or optical illusions in general? Maybe I've missed your favourite illusion?
Visit Skytopia's Whirlpool of Knowledge Forum. All feedback appreciated!

The optical illusions that have been created by myself are copyright 2002 D. White.
If you wish to use any of them, then please contact me for permission.