As a child I remember staring at so-called “magic images”, cross-eyed, slowly moving the paper away from my face until I could see the hidden picture beneath. This was entertaining at the time, but these days there more impressive and easier ways to enjoy illusions and one source for such brain-teasing material is YouTube user brusspup.

If you frequent any message boards , image boards or simply browse sites like Imgur you might have seen a number of his optical illusions floating around in GIF format over the last year or so. Today we’ll be taking a look at the full videos, complete with explanations and behind-the-scenes footage where possible.

Prepare to scratch your head and wonder “now how did he do that?” a few times.

24Hz Sine Wave, Water & 24p Video

Probably my favourite of all the experiments on the channel (though this is ultimately very subjective), this trick of the camera is guaranteed to have a few people scratching their heads until they hear the explanation. Using a 24Hz sine wave in front of flowing water and a camera set to record at 24p (that’s 24 frames per second), it’s possible to achieve some seemingly physics-bending results.

Watch as simple tweaks to the sine wave seemingly cause the flow to reverse, pause and continue again. Bask in the glory of those who aren’t wise to the details of this incredible illusion (but tell them afterwards, please).

Moving Square Illusion

A very simple illusion, watch the video below as the box moves between squares of paper. Then marvel as the author reveals the illusion as something other than what you were seeing in the foreground, and realise how you can never quite see it in the same way again.

This is actually an old illusion, and the author admits that this time he wanted to make his own version. You could even try it out on your friends for real, if you want to look like a smart-ass.

Perspective “Anamorphosis” Illusions

If there’s one thing that brusspup is good at it’s illusions, specifically those that form a seemingly flat image from a certain perspective commonly known as anamorphosis. He’s done a good number of these, many of which he follows up with a behind-the-scenes video. The first below is a rope of Christmas lights that extends for quite a distance but makes for a very simple and small shape when viewed from the right angle:

The old school multi-coloured Apple logo is arguably cooler than the silvery version we’re stuck with now, and here’s an optical illusion using the old logo:

The technique works well in a variety of implementations like this chair illusion:

To silence the YouTube naysayers, here’s the video uploaded to show how it was done:

And another illusion involving a pool ball, his cat and an empty swimming pool:

Not forgetting the behind the scenes video, with more cat:

TRON fans rejoice:

TRON fans disassemble:

And finally what better use of the technique than to celebrate the incredible volume of YouTube videos watched off-site every day:

Pendulum Wave Effect

This next video proves what scientists have known all along: pendulums are awesome, especially when arranged in a “Newton’s cradle” formation and set in motion to create beautiful swirling patterns:

Here’s the same effect casting an equally impressive shadow:

And here’s the original effect under normal light:

“Impossible” Illusions

Impossible illusions possibly provide the most brain-twisting of all, as logic dictates something is amiss but your eyes clearly see it for themselves. Of course, there’s always something tricking you here – usually perspective – like in the following “impossible balls” optical illusion:

Then there’s the impossible puzzle, complete with this template for you to print and try out yourself:

Finally, something to make and exhibit yourself – a gravity-defying bottle holder with instructions at the end of the video:

Conclusion

This is only a small assortment of brusspup’s videos many of which include random science experiments NASA astronaut Don Pettit has spent a total of 370 days in space, with his most recent off-world duty ending this July after spending nearly 6 months aboard the International Space Station. In addition to... Read More and cool products, so if you’ve enjoyed these you should definitely check out the rest of his YouTube channel. He’s even got t-shirts for sale, which is a nice way to support the creation of future videos. Feel free to leave your thoughts, favourites and other related videos in the comments at the bottom of this article.