Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve adored optical illusions. Believe it or not, but 1993 found me browsing my parents’ hefty Escher art book, looking for more and more drawings I couldn’t quite figure out. This fascination continued through the famous Autostereogram era, when I learned to see those cool 3D images in seconds, becoming a source of jealousy to all my cross-eyed friends.
Optical illusions, be it Escher-style drawings, surprising geometrical shapes, well-taken photographs, or even intricate video illusions, are a great way to pass some idle moments, without resorting to yet another endless Facebook or Twitter browse. It can also be quite an educational one — what better way is there to learn about things such as complimentary colors but seeing them with your own eyes?
Not surprisingly, the Web is full of visual illusions of all kinds, and if you enter the words “optical illusions” in your trusty Google search box, you’ll find many good specimens. But here at MakeUseOf, we strive to doing the hard work for you, scanning the multitudes of Google results, and finding the absolute best places to get some optical illusion fun. So get ready to be amazed!
Can you believe that all center dots in the cubes above are the same size? Optical Spy is a great place to find dozens of original optical illusions, visual challenges, amazing anamorphic street art, and other visual gems. The website is divided into different categories, and includes a blog where you can read more about special visual effects and why they occur. If you like visual challenges such as hidden words or tasks you have to complete only with your eyes, you’re going to love Optical Spy.
The above video shows a simple immobile structure, but for some reason, balls placed on it defy the law of gravity. This is one of the many illusions you’ll find on Mighty Optical Illusions. The website has been around for quite a while — long enough to have been mentioned in our previous post about optical illusions back in 2010.
Mighty Optical Illusions is a mighty collection of everything that’s visually interesting, including photos taken at just the right moment, works of art, and videos, along with regular illusions. Many of the illusions come with fascinating explanations, and the “Random Illusion” button on top can keep you busy for hours. I did find that videos in posts sometimes don’t match the text above them, but all in all the website offers a fun experience.
Look at the mask above, do you see anything special about it? If not, I’ll solve the mystery for you at the end of this paragraph. Illusion of the Year brings together amazing illusions from all over, picking the best ones every year. The illusions are sometimes created especially for the contest, so it’s a good place to find illusions you won’t find on other websites. The Illusion of the Year website is not the best looking one I’ve ever seen, but sections such as the top rated illusions are a real gem for illusion lovers.
And no, I didn’t forget about the image above! Look carefully in the center part of the mask, is it really one face, or two faces of a man and a woman kissing?
Are the lines on the board straight or curvy? Brain Bashers is a website dedicated to much more than optical illusions, but its optical-illusion section boasts a respectable collection of what I would call “classic” illusions, like the one you see above. Despite its unimpressive looks, Brain Bashers offers a fun experience for illusion lovers, as it turns many optical illusions into dynamic challenges. Most illusions featured on Brain Bashers comes with a bar you can move your mouse over. When you hover over the bar, the image changes, and the solution comes to light. Try it!
Can you manage to see 4 complete circles? As a social network dedicated solely to images, Pinterest is the perfect place to find cool illusions. All you have to do is search for them. The search will not yield a consistent feed of optical illusions, but will definitely bring up some cool visual games and puns you’re bound to enjoy. And since Pinterest’s results rely on the way people categorize their pins, and not on Google’s algorithms, there’s lots to be found you may miss on a simple Google search.
Looking for some awesome visual illusions on video? Tim already found some incredible ones you really don’t want to miss in a previous Stuff to Watch article. After you’re done with those, though, you’re going to want to head over to the brusspup YouTube Channel, and watch everything you can get your hands on. Some of these already appear in Tim’s post, but there’s plenty more to watch. Believe me, you don’t want to miss these.
The real challenge with finding good optical illusions online is that many of them hide under websites that look like they were made in the early 90s. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other good websites I missed, or never managed to find. Know of a wonderful place to see some optical illusions? Do you even like optical illusions? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Image credit: Optical Spy
Explore more about: Visualizations.