The Dynamic Ebbinghaus Illusion

Estimation, Video 30 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

The 10th annual edition of the Best Illusion of the Year contest was held on May 18, 2014 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Taking home the prestigious first place prize were Christopher D. Blair, Gideon P. Caplovitz, and Ryan E.B. Mruczek from the University of Nevada Reno.  Their illusion was a new twist on an old illusion called the Ebbinghaus Illusion.  In the original illusion, two circles are presented side-by-side that are identical in size.  One is surrounded by larger circles and the other is surrounded by smaller circles.  When asked which circle appears bigger, people typically assume that that one surrounded by the smaller circles is larger than the other one.

In this updated video version, the circles surrounding the center circle expand and contract.  As they do, the center circle seems to also change in size even though it remains the same.  Have a look for yourself.

Without seeing any of the other candidates, do you think that this was a good choice for first place in this contest?

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Baseball Card Collage

Composite 27 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

Using a 22 by 21 grid of baseball cards, mosaic artist Ken Knowlton created this portrait of his grandson titled Nicholas Jensen (Little League Pitcher).  The final mosaic, created in 2002, measured 32 inches wide by 40 inches tall once completed.

Baseball Card Collage

The further that you stand back from the image, the more recognizable the young boy becomes.  If you squint your eyes slightly, you will also be able to see the boy better.  A close-up photograph, showing the detailed pattern of baseball cards, can be seen below.

Baseball Card Collage - Detail

In the foreword of the book Masters of Deception by Al Seckel (Sterling Publishing), Douglas Hofstadter describes Ken Knowlton’s “coarse-grained pointillism” as “pure visual magic”.  It would be difficult to argue with that statement.

(via Ken Knowlton)

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Sand Ladder Drawing from Nico Laan

Anamorphosis 22 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

If you were to climb down this ladder, where do you suppose you would be once you got to the bottom?  Artist Nico Laan drew this anamorphic sand ladder on the beach and then used a camera mounted to a kite to take a photograph of it from the proper angle.  The person standing in the picture helps to give the viewer a better idea of the sheer size of the drawing.

Nico Laan - Sand Drawing #1

Two photographs from alternate angles can be found below that help to show how this large anamorphic ladder was created.

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Impossible Figure – Eye

Impossible 19 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

It has been a while since we featured one of Andreas Aronsson’s impossible figures.  Depending on how you look at this figure, the small (blue) square is either on top of or below the larger (red) square.eye by andreas aronssonThis figure was made during a particularly hectic time in Andreas Aronsson’s life as he was living out of a suitcase and traveling quite a bit for his job.  To see more of his impossible creations, be sure to check out Hoops and Impossible Stairs.

(via Andreas Aronsson)

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The Op Art of Bridget Riley

Miscellaneous, Video 15 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

Bridget Riley was born in London, UK in 1931 and studied at Goldsmiths College and Royal College of Art, London.  During the 1960′s, she became well known across the world for her Op Art paintings after exhibiting alongside Victor Vasarely and other artists in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The untitled work below from 1962 is based on her previous painting titled ‘Movement in Squares’.

Bridget Riley - Untitled [Based on 'Movement in Squares]  1962

Continue reading the full post to see more examples of Bridget Riley’s work.

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Scott Kim’s Illusion

Ambigrams 12 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

In the early 1980s, ambigram master and puzzle designer Scott Kim created the following image while performing some font experiments.  He made a font in which black and white spaces were equally wide, and then had fun exploring what he could do with it.

Illusion Ambigram by Scott Kim

More examples of Scott Kim’s ambigrams (which he calls inversions) can be found here.  He also created a very nice Joy to the World animation for a family holiday card that is worth a look (or another look if you are already familiar with it!).

(via Scott Kim)

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Grabbing the Tower Optical Illusion

Forced Perspective 8 May 2014 No Comments Yet - Share Your Thoughts

This man appears to be so big that he can grip the base of a tower and hold it like his own personal toy.  It would be interesting to know how far away he is standing from this structure when this picture was taken.

Grabbing The Tower Optical Illusion

For another interesting forced perspective photograph, check out the Eiffel Tower Forced Perspective.

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