World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

Mind-Bending Optical Illusions

“QUANTUM SHOT” #15(rev)
Link – by Avi Abrams

Careful! Don’t hurt your brain looking at these. Better yet, warp your brain into another dimension.

It’s easy to get dizzy just looking at these objects, trying to process how could they possibly be constructed and where is the mysterious “hidden joint, gap or break”? Today we are going to look at various shape, color, shadow and 3D perspective illusions:

(upper left image credit: Yui Kubo, middle image Francis Tabary)

1. Hard-to-Believe Colour Illusions

They will not make your dizzy, but they will make you doubt your eyes a few times. In some cases, the factual colors are so hard to believe, that you would need to bring them into Photoshop and actually measure the color values. Let’s start with a well-known illusion, which still amazes me every time I look at it:

Believe it or not, square A and B are actually the same color! -

(image credit: Edward H. Adelson)

Here are more of messing-with-your-brain color examples:

(image credit: Rebas)

The “brown” tile on the floor and the “yellow” tile in the middle of the cube’s side facing to the left ARE THE SAME COLOR! Hard to believe… here is another one.

(image via, by R. Beau Lotto)

(images via 1, 2)

The next one is rather less known, and also very weird: The Angry Face!Click here to see this illusion…

2. Reflective Art & Mirror Illusions

These drawings seem to be (more or less) normal depictions of shipwrecks and storms, but if you put a cylindrical mirror on top of them, you’ll see a Jules Verne portrait, or Walt Disney’s face… (more of these here)

(images via)

Best examples of “reflective illusions” we’ve seen so far:

(original unknown)

3. Fake 3D Perspectives & Impossible 3D Sculptures

A classic example of topologically unique sculptures is the Moebius Strip. Emmanuel Lattes made probably the best representation of it in recent memory: 3D Printed Double Moebius Strip (more info) -

(image credit: Emmanuel Lattes)

Another artist who makes topologically confounding objects is Bulatov. See the whole gallery of his works made from steel and bronze (bottom row – made from wood):

(images credit: Bulatov)

As for the visually impossible 3D sculptures, well, they are not so much “impossible”, in a sense that all these structures do exist. They’re just “specially designed” to morph into geometrically impossible forms when seen at a particular viewing angle:

(images via)

French magician Francis Tabary created many such strange objects, some placed in an outdoor garden environment – all of them head-scratching and eye-catching examples of 3D optical illusions:

(images credit: Francis Tabary)

A doghouse? With some lost dogs inside -

(image via)

This image shows how this “impossible doghouse” was constructed. Just as you guessed, it’s all about strategically placed gaps and a particular point of view:

(originals unknown)

The “Impossible Dice” and the “Disappearing Column” by extremely inventive Japanese artist Shigeo Fukuda:

(images via)

His “Duet” sculpture transforms from a pianist to a violinist, when rotated or depending on your point of view:

(images by Shigeo Fukuda)

Computer-generated objects (even though they’re just models) still hold a certain fascination and curiosity to the eye. Josh Sommers makes impossible objects look classy and even Art Deco-ish:

(images credit: Josh Sommers)

4. Shadow Illusions by Shigeo Fukuda

Shigeo Fukuda is famously known for creating a few completely mind-boggling Shadow Sculptures. The beautiful shadow shapes appear out of the complete chaos, out of the seemingly random piles of junk:

(images by Shigeo Fukuda)

This Shadow Illusion Text is by Francis Tabary:

(image credit: Francis Tabary)

Again, sublime reflections and shadows – to fit every mood:

(originals unknown)

5. Impossible Architecture and Interior Design

“The Waterfall” falls firmly into the category of impossible sculptures, bringing to life the famous painting by M.C. Escher – see the original here. On the right is the same structure replicated in… LEGO (more info):

(images via 1, 2, 3, 4)

More mind-bending and surreal works by Escher:

(images via)

Another LEGO re-creation of M.C.Escher’s stairs and labyrinthine rooms was made by Henry Lims:

(images credit: Henry Lims)

An impossible door (below right):

(images via)

6. Not what it seems! Masterpieces of 3D Street Pavement Art

Kurt Wenner is the foremost practitioner of this popular urban art subgenre. He paints epic, spiritual and inspiring 3D canvases on the humble street pavement, which fit perfectly in European cities, among Gothic cathedrals and gorgeous architecture:

(“Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)” – images credit: Kurt Wenner)

J. Beever has accumulated quite a portfolio of street paintings over the years. They are dizzying, strange, often humorous… Again, these so called “anamorphic illusions” create an impression of three dimensions only when seen at a particular angle:

(images credit: J. Beever)

(left: Edgar Mueller; right: J. Beever)

The “Crevasse” (above left) may have been inspired by the art of Julian Beever, but it is an independent and astonishing work by German artist Edgar Mueller – see more examples here.

(art by: Edgar Mueller, via)

Illusory Photo Manipulation in Advertising

Sometimes a particular advertising campaign can turn scary, surprising our senses with a “floor-less” elevator, see below. Of course, it’s only a trick painting on the elevator’s floor…

Imagine trying to pass a truck like this on a highway… giving more space to that sticking out bottle, just in case:

It’s easy to see why the paintings below are so unique. Guido Daniele paints on hands… other advertising also uses feet:

And finally, these are not illusions, but photo-manipulated and mind-bending “reality” nevertheless:

(“Octopus”, art by Leo Vilela; other images via John Lund)


Share Tweet

Post Metadata

September 18th, 2010

Stranger to the World


Leave a Reply