50 Optical Illusions That'll Blow Your Mind (2023)

50 Optical Illusions That'll Blow Your Mind (1)

If you’re looking to have some fun while you scroll through social media or you want to take a bit of a mental break from work, optical illusions are a great way to pass the time and have some fun. From spinning circles to zigzag effects, certain images can seem like they’re leaping off the page!

What Is An Optical Illusion?

Optical illusions are usually visual images or videos that tend to be deceiving to the brain and therefore play tricks on your eyes. This is based on numerous scientific factors including varying colors, certain patterns, lights, and much more. When looking at these images, a false sense of reality is created as the image our brain processes isn’t actually what is in front of us. Ask certain loved ones what they see in these optical illusions. Chances are, they’ll see something completely different!

50 Optical Illusions

1. Walking a Fine Line

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Feast your eyes on this optical illusion! These lines seem skewed but they are actually parallel.

2. Zigzag Mania

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No, the photo isn’t moving. The zigzag pattern and the cylinder shapes create this dizzying effect!

3. A Tunnel Effect

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A checked background makes this tunnel seem endless.

4. The Power of Makeup

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Just by using the proper makeup and brushes, you can create this optical illusion. Take a peek at YouTube videos like these to get started.

5. She Walks on Skyscrapers

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The shading in this photo gives certain elements in this photo a 3D effect.

6. Spiraling Downwards

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If you stare at the center of this optical illusion, your eyes will trick you into thinking the area around it is moving!

7. Rubin’s Vase

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This is a classic optical illusion example! Some people see a vase, others see two faces.

8. It’s All About Perspective

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For this fun photo trick, the photographer put the dinosaur near the camera, set a self-timer, and then ran to a further distance to pull this optical illusion!

9. Seeing Double

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(Video) 50 Optical Illusions That Will Blow Your Mind

Because of the reflection, this building looks mirrored!

10. Over the Rainbow

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This image has been digitally generated to create a 3D holographic effect.

11. Ripple Effect

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When you take a peek at this optical illusion, you may see a ripple go through the image. This is because of the seamless pattern of circles.

12. Pixel Art

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If you squint, you may be able to see a hidden picture because of the way these pixels are arranged.

13. Abstract Wonderland

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Because of the shape and pattern, this optical illusion looks like the sphere is traveling around the hyperboloid.

14. Endless Stairs


This optical illusion was originally created by one of the original graphic designers, M.C. Escher.

15. Penrose Triangle

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This optical illusion is also called the “Impossible Triangle” because it can be depicted in a perspective drawing, but cannot exist as a solid object.

16. Just Stare at the Red Square

If you stare at the red square for the entire length of this video, you’re in for a crazy optical illusion once you look away!

17. Rolling Pattern

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Because of its blue and white pattern, this optical illusion gives a rolling effect.

18. You Are Getting Very Sleepy

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Usually used in hypnosis gags, the spiral pattern plus the color scheme gives this optical illusion a 3D effect.

19. Lights and Shadows

Just by using the right composition, your photos on Instagram can create dizzying optical illusions like this one!

20. Cat vs. Optical Illusion

(Video) 50 Optical Illusions That Will Blow Your Mind

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A cat expresses caution as he tries to figure out what he’s seeing! This pattern and color scheme, makes the cat look like he’s hovering above an endless tunnel.

21. Is it a Rabbit or a Duck?

Yet another popular optical illusion! Some people swear they see a rabbit while others say it’s clearly the head of a duck.

22. What Color is this Dress?

This optical illusion caused quite the debate back in the day! Is this dress blue and black or white and gold? After causing quite a stir, it came out that the dress was, indeed, blue and black.

23. Secret Messages

If you squint your eyes and move your head in different directions, you should be able to see a secret message in this optical illusion!

24. “It’s Just an Illusion, Darling!”

Believe it or not, this optical illusion can be created with makeup! Follow @deepseana to find out how.

25. Look Closely!

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This optical illusion may look like one thing, but if you look closely, you’ll find another image entirely! How many pictures can you make out?

26. Look at the White Dot

If you want to experience what Alice went through as she fell through the rabbit hole, give this optical illusion a try. When you look away, you’ll experience vision twists and the room will grow and or shrink.

27. Vector Optical Illusion

(Video) 50 optical illusions

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With this zigzag stripe pattern, this globe looks like it’s rotating!

28. The Sinking Building

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In Montmartre, a district in Paris, you’ll find a grassy hill near the Sacre Coeur church. When you approach it, pull out your cameras because you’ll stumble upon this famous real-life optical illusion!

29. The Pyramid Effect

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If you stare at the center of this square-shaped optical illusion, you’ll feel like you’re staring at the top of a 3D pyramid.

30. Swirling Rainbows

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If you squint your eyes, you’ll be able to see a rainbow effect between the red and white lines!

31. Impossible Trident

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Coined by D.H. Schuster in 1964, this optical illusion appears to have three prongs at the end, but at the top, it clearly is only split in two. Also known as the Devil’s Tuning Fork, this shape is indeed impossible because it violates the rules of Euclidean geometry!

32. Ebbinghaus illusion

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Fun Fact: Those two balls in the middle are actually the same size! Called the Ebbinghaus Illusion, this optical trick happens because our brain uses context in order to judge size. Since the circle on the left is surrounded by smaller circles, the brain thinks it's larger than a circle surrounded by much larger circles.

33. Hermann Grid

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re actually not seeing those black dots in between those squares. But, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy– this phenomenon is the result of a neural process called lateral inhibition. Basically, when a lot of light is let into a neuron in your eyes (like the white lines), the neurons can't process all of it, so black dots appear.

34. How Many Legs Does This Elephant Have?

Does counting the legs on this mammoth animal give you a headache? You’re not alone! The reason it’s hard to figure out is that the original artist left the natural space for the feet blank, instead of drawing the feet in the spaces between the legs. If you want to figure out the answer, just cover the elephant’s feet with your hand!

35. Kanizsa Triangle

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Named after Gaetano Kanizsa, this optical illusion actually contains no triangles! Your brain simply fills in the gaps in between the line segments and the black circles and assumes there should be a triangle there.

36. The Boring Figure

Getting its name from Edwin Boring, who wrote a paper about this drawing in 1930, the original artist has depicted both his wife and his mother-in-law in one drawing. Hint: The choker is the mouth of the mother-in-law!

37. Marilyn Einstein

(Video) 50 Optical Illusions Art Ideas, Lesson, Drawing, Tutorial, Body Art, Wall Art, Street Art (Part-2)

Did you know this optical illusion can help optometrists diagnose eye problems? If you can see Marilyn Monroe at a comfortable reading distance, you may need glasses!

38. Disappearing Cheshire Cat

Also known as the Troxler Effect, if you stare at the X for about 20 seconds, the Cheshire Cat will completely disappear. The popular literature character fades away because of the eye's tendency to prioritize. If you focus on the X, all other distractions in your peripheral vision will fade away.

39. Ames Room Illusion

Would you believe these people are actually the same size? This popular optical illusion has been used in popular movies like The Lord of the Rings.

40. The Ponzo Illusion

When you look off into the distance of this optical illusion, the lines seem closer together as they become further away. The Ponzo Illusion has two lines over an illustration of what seems to be a railroad track. Which line is longer? Trick question! They’re actually the same length.

41. Zollner Illusion

Did you know the lines that appear diagonal are actually parallel? They appear this way because the background of an image can interfere with how your brain interprets the image itself!

42. Spinning Dancer Illusion

In this infamous optical illusion, the dancer seems to change direction but do you know how? It’s all based on our bistable perception. The reason why we believe the dancer moves is because our brains are trying to create space around her.

43. The Shoe

Back in 2015, this shoe caused another “what color is it” debate. Many people saw teal and grey while others saw pink and white. In reality, the shoe ended up being pink and white. Your perception of the shoe's color depends on your individual sensitivity to the lighting in the image.

44. Kendall Jenner’s Missing Leg

When InStyle posted this on their Instagram of this powerful girl squad, people were quick to point out Kendall Jenner’s missing leg. However, her left leg was just hidden underneath her dress.

45. Rotating Boxes

This box has to be spinning on the spot, right? Actually, that’s not quite the case! It is totally and completely still, with this optical illusion caused by the flashing background.

46. Negative Photo Effect

Just fixate your gaze at the white dot, you’ll see a masterpiece of color later on! Trust us, it’ll be worth it.

47. The Cornsweet Effect

Watch this video for long enough and you'll see the flickering circles in your peripheral vision appear to be moving even though they are standing absolutely still. This optical illusion is based on the Cornsweet effect, which is what happens when the brain fills in information based on slight changes in gradient and color.

48. Star Wars Opening Credits

This optical illusion is iconic for so many reasons mainly because it’s used in Star Wars films! In the beginning, though, this process was extremely difficult for George Lucas and his team to pull off. Large physical models had to be developed that were two feet wide and six feet long with the text on them. The models were laid out on the floor so that a low camera could move along the text to create the crawling effect!

49. Color Illusion

Floors can add a lot of pizzazz to a home—but they can also say a thing or two about the colors of your walls! Depending on the coloring, your floors can turn a color either a pewter grey or a robin’s egg blue.

50. True Cyan

Stare at the white dot for the entire length of this video and you’ll see what the true color of cyan looks like!

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FAQs

How many optical illusions are there? ›

There are three main types of optical illusions including literal illusions, physiological illusions and cognitive illusions.

What are the 3 types of optical illusions? ›

You can break every single optical illusion down into one of three categories- physiological, cognitive, or literal. Let's take a look at these three categories, and figure out which illusions fall into each of them.

Can you see all 12 dots at once? ›

All 12 dots are really on the image, but most people are unable to see them all at the same time, making the dots seem like they appear and disappear with every blink. This occurs because the eye's stimulated light receptors can sometimes influence the ones next to them, creating illusions.

Can illusions damage eyes? ›

According to the Mayo Clinic, optical illusions won't hurt your eyes unless you look at them for a long time and develop mild eyestrain. However, if you experience double vision or pain, it may be a sign of a serious condition.

What are the 4 types of illusion? ›

This can lead to four types of cognitive illusions: ambiguous illusions, distorting/geometrical-optical illusions, paradox illusions, or fictions (image source). cognitive illusion (image source).

Is color real or an illusion? ›

Despite the extraordinary experience of color perception, all colors are mere illusions, in the sense that, although naive people normally think that objects appear colored because they are colored, this belief is mistaken. Neither objects nor lights are colored, but colors are the result of neural processes.

Is the Moon an illusion? ›

The Moon illusion is the name for this trick our brains play on us. Photographs prove that the Moon is the same width near the horizon as when it's high in the sky, but that's not what we perceive with our eyes. Thus it's an illusion rooted in the way our brains process visual information.

What is the color illusion called? ›

The color phi phenomenon is a perceptual illusion in which a disembodied perception of motion is produced by a succession of still images.

Do optical illusions affect brain? ›

When we experience a visual illusion, we may see something that is not there or fail to see something that is there. Because of this disconnect between perception and reality, visual illusions demonstrate the ways in which the brain can fail to re-create the physical world.

Is this world an illusion? ›

The world we see emerges out of some underlying description that might look completely different. The good news is: that's okay. It doesn't mean that the world we see is an "illusion," any more than the air around us becomes an illusion when we first realize that it's made of atoms and molecules.

What was the first illusion? ›

There is evidence that the paleolithic artists that decorated the walls and roof of the Cave of Altamira with horses and bison, some 20,000 years ago, used the natural bulges of the rock to add illusory volume and depth to their depictions.

How does Op Art trick your brain? ›

Think of it as a ghost image overlapping a new image. This creates a rippling effect called the moiré effect. When similar patterns are repeated and merged together, it changes your visual perception of the object. That's why your brain thinks the image is moving.

How do you get a black dot? ›

Black dot occurs most frequently on plants grown in coarse-textured soils under conditions of low or excessively high nitrogen, high temperature, or poor soil drainage. Black dot infections are increased by windblown sand, which can cause abrasions that give the pathogen easy access.

How many black dots are there? ›

Your brain won't let you see them all at once. There are actually 12 black dots, but as Akiyoshi Kitaoka, the psychology professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, recently noted on Facebook, most people won't be able to see them at once.

Why does the black dot disappear? ›

The optic disk is the bright area in the photo of the retina above. You can also see the blood supply (arteries) entering through the optic disk. Because the optic nerve itself is not sensitive to light, the optic disk is a blind spot. The black dot you drew 'disappears' when it is focussed onto the optic disk.

Is reality an illusion? ›

The further quantum physicists peer into the nature of reality, the more evidence they are finding that everything is energy at the most fundamental levels. Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one. What else can we do in the face of what scientists have discovered about reality? It's unbelievable!

Do 3D movies hurt eyes? ›

Is it Harmful to the Health of Your Eyes to View Movies or Games in 3D? 3D fanatics will be relieved to know it is not considered harmful to the health of your eyes to continue viewing media in 3D. Eye experts confirm that there are no known long term side effects related to 3D viewing.

Can your brain trick your eyes? ›

The basis of optical illusions is visual deception. It isn't your eyes playing a trick on you. Your eyes send signals to our brains through the retina, your brain then registers the information to create the image you are seeing. In the case of a visual illusion, the image the brain perceives differs from reality.

What is a fictional illusion? ›

Fiction illusions: When an object is perceived even though it is not in the image, such as this Kanizsa Triangle. And interestingly, it's not just humans who can see them!

Why does illusion happen? ›

Visual illusions occur due to properties of the visual areas of the brain as they receive and process information. In other words, your perception of an illusion has more to do with how your brain works -- and less to do with the optics of your eye.

What is illusion give two examples? ›

illusion, a misrepresentation of a “real” sensory stimulus—that is, an interpretation that contradicts objective “reality” as defined by general agreement. For example, a child who perceives tree branches at night as if they are goblins may be said to be having an illusion.

What's the ugliest colour? ›

Pantone 448 C is a colour in the Pantone colour system. Described as a "drab dark brown" and informally dubbed the "ugliest colour in the world", it was selected in 2012 as the colour for plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia, after market researchers determined that it was the least attractive colour.

What color is a brain? ›

The human brain color physically appears to be white, black, and red-pinkish while it is alive and pulsating. Images of pink brains are relative to its actual state. The brains we see in movies are detached from the blood and oxygen flow result to exhibit white, gray, or have a yellow shadow.

What can't humans see? ›

The human eye can only see visible light, but light comes in many other "colors"—radio, infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma-ray—that are invisible to the naked eye. On one end of the spectrum there is infrared light, which, while too red for humans to see, is all around us and even emitted from our bodies.

Why is the moon orange tonight 2022? ›

The color is caused by sunlight passing through and bouncing off the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere scatters the shorter wavelengths and only the longer reddish wavelengths pass through. These wavelengths "bounce" off the atmosphere and some of them reach the surface of the Moon.

Why is the moon red tonight 2022? ›

The planet will block all direct sunlight from reaching the moon. Spectacularly, the moon will turn red due to sunlight scattered by Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes we call this a "blood moon" due to its striking appearance. Alternatively, you can try to catch a view of the partial solar eclipse on Oct.

What is the pink moon? ›

What is a "Pink Moon"? The moon orbits Earth every 29 days, which is why there's a full moon approximately once a month. April's full moon is called the "Pink Moon" because April sees the emergence of pink wildflowers in North America.

Is the dress blue or gold? ›

Remember, the dress is actually blue and black, though most people saw it as white and gold, at least at first. My research showed that if you assumed the dress was in a shadow, you were much more likely to see it as white and gold. Why? Because shadows overrepresent blue light.

How do we see GREY? ›

Grey is produced either by using black and white, or by combining equal amounts of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Most greys have a cool or warm cast to them, as the human eye can detect even a minute amount of color saturation. Yellow, orange, and red create a "warm grey". Green, blue, and violet create a "cool grey".

What is true cyan? ›

At the center of the red circle was a small white dot. To see true cyan, stare at the white dot for 30 seconds. Then close your eyes tightly, open them, and you'll see a blue orb. The orb is apparently the color of true cyan. ADVERTISEMENT.

Is time an illusion? ›

According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn't correspond to physical reality. Indeed, as Rovelli argues in The Order of Time, much more is illusory, including Isaac Newton's picture of a universally ticking clock.

How do you remove an illusion from your mind? ›

How to Step Out of the Illusions
  1. Meditate. ...
  2. Make a list of all the limiting beliefs you hold on to, which prevent you from living life in fullness. ...
  3. Become the witness periodically throughout the day; observe your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. ...
  4. Observe your breath.
Feb 9, 2017

Who said reality is an illusion? ›

Albert Einstein Quotes

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Are optical illusions good for your brain? ›

This is because optical illusions can have surprising benefits for your brain that go further that your usual sudoku or word puzzle. These visual puzzles can give you a good mental workout that can, in turn, help you think more efficiently and solve problems more easily.

What was the first optical illusion? ›

You might be surprised to learn that historians theorize that the earliest documented manmade optical illusions occurred in Ancient Greece. You'll find illusions in a lot of ancient Greek architecture and art. Tricks that make flat surfaces look round, and round surfaces appear to be flat.

Is the moon an illusion? ›

The Moon illusion is the name for this trick our brains play on us. Photographs prove that the Moon is the same width near the horizon as when it's high in the sky, but that's not what we perceive with our eyes. Thus it's an illusion rooted in the way our brains process visual information.

How can color trick your brain? ›

This optical illusion is based on a visual process called chromatic adaptation, which is the brain's ability to adjust to changes in lighting in order to keep the colors in the image constant.

Is color real or an illusion? ›

Despite the extraordinary experience of color perception, all colors are mere illusions, in the sense that, although naive people normally think that objects appear colored because they are colored, this belief is mistaken. Neither objects nor lights are colored, but colors are the result of neural processes.

How do you trick your eyes? ›

  1. Roll up a piece of paper in the shape of a tube.
  2. Hold the tube up in front of one eye. Keep both eyes open and look forward.
  3. Take your free hand (the one not holding the tube), and hold it up in front of the eye that is not looking through the tube. Keep this hand open with your palm facing your face.
Jun 10, 2022

What are the 4 types of illusion? ›

This can lead to four types of cognitive illusions: ambiguous illusions, distorting/geometrical-optical illusions, paradox illusions, or fictions (image source). cognitive illusion (image source).

Who made illusion? ›

Illusion is the fourteenth track from One Direction's fourth studio album, Four.
...
Obi-Wan Finale - The Loop.
“Illusion”
Recorded2014
Length3:14
WritersRyan, Bunetta, Scott, Liam Payne
7 more rows

Who Found illusion? ›

Joseph Jastrow discovered the illusion in 1889. Scientists still aren't exactly sure why the brain perceives one object as longer or shorter than the other when arranged this way.

Why is the moon orange tonight 2022? ›

The color is caused by sunlight passing through and bouncing off the Earth's atmosphere. The atmosphere scatters the shorter wavelengths and only the longer reddish wavelengths pass through. These wavelengths "bounce" off the atmosphere and some of them reach the surface of the Moon.

Why is the moon red tonight 2022? ›

The planet will block all direct sunlight from reaching the moon. Spectacularly, the moon will turn red due to sunlight scattered by Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes we call this a "blood moon" due to its striking appearance. Alternatively, you can try to catch a view of the partial solar eclipse on Oct.

What is the pink moon? ›

What is a "Pink Moon"? The moon orbits Earth every 29 days, which is why there's a full moon approximately once a month. April's full moon is called the "Pink Moon" because April sees the emergence of pink wildflowers in North America.

What colour is your heart? ›

The heart is bright red in colour. However, if the heart is drained of blood, it will appear white. Read more by registering at BYJU'S NEET.

What color is a brain? ›

The human brain color physically appears to be white, black, and red-pinkish while it is alive and pulsating. Images of pink brains are relative to its actual state. The brains we see in movies are detached from the blood and oxygen flow result to exhibit white, gray, or have a yellow shadow.

Is the dress blue or gold? ›

Remember, the dress is actually blue and black, though most people saw it as white and gold, at least at first. My research showed that if you assumed the dress was in a shadow, you were much more likely to see it as white and gold. Why? Because shadows overrepresent blue light.

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