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I’m a big fan of perceptual illusions. I’ve been slowly rebuilding various illusions myself with the aim of better understanding the conditions under which illusions occur. Most recently I designed a short experience in VR for a two week game jam. It’s a work in progress, but you can see a play through of the experience below or play it yourself here. Ultimately my aim is use it to teach students and nonprofessionals about illusions in a fun and informative way. 

Below are some of my favorite illusions and illusion-related items.

In painting: René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico are my favorite illusion-related painters.

In film: L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad) is probably my favorite illusion-related movie. But I’m also a big fan of David Lynch’s works.

In video games: Echochrome is my personal favorite, but more recently there’s Superliminal which is also great.

Below are some of my favorite illusions. The descriptions and citations aren’t complete but many are from the incredible Akiyoshi Kitaoka. For a more systematic and complete listing see the Illusions Index

See the heart moving without the background moving too.

A nice instance of conflicting cues.

All the circles are the same color!

Humans manage to use everything for war, sadly.

No yellows!


Parallel lines!

   The surfaces have identical shapes!

The brown square on the top surface and the orange square on the shaded surface are the same color!

Can you see what’s on the wall?

Conflicting cues again!

A black and white photo overlaid with a color grid!

No reds!

A demonstration of what was going on with the viral dress.

These are really incredible, one can make all sorts of animations using this technique, and they fool animals.

Do we really see motion accurately?

What many don’t know is that you can keep the colors there longer if you keep your eyes focused on the center.

The spinning ballerina illusion with its solution. Just occlude one of the two figures on the side to see that the ballerina spins both ways.

Change-blindness. The image is changing fairly dramatically, can you spot the difference?

Focus on the center to see a green that isn’t there. Is this an illusion or a hallucination?

The Ames window, the video explains it. 


The below videos are all great for thinking about how much we see: