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Archive for the 'Illusion' Category

Tricking your ears.

I do a lot of video and image posts, so I thought I’d mix it up today with some sound fun.

3-D sound. These require your headsets for full effect. It really sounds like the sound is happening around you.

I once had a whole collection of these kinds of sounds, with all kinds of neat stuff. Music, a woman whispering in your ear (it tickled my neck…honestly felt like someone was there). If I find it again, I’ll definitely hit you with an update.

Secondly: Audio Illusions. These blow my mind.

To experience them, follow these links, then use the “download this” link provided on the page. You can listen to it on the page, but not with the repeat, which enhances the experience. Then open them up in your media player, making sure the “repeat” option is activated.

When repeated, you can’t tell where these sound files end and where they begin!

Ascending Tones. They go up and up and up…

Falling bells. Annnnd we go down and down again…this one’s beginning and end are more obvious, but they give some insight into what you just heard.

We can’t slow down! I love this one!

Appreciate your ears today.

The trick to viewing is to look at the two images, cross your eyes until you see three, and bring the middle one into focus. Once you get the focus, lean back. The “eeew” factor is pretty good.

3d insect stereogram

3d insect illusion

More excellent photography and cross-eye-3D images are at Genes Digest. via

People Pulling Illusion or Trick

I must be slow – it just looked like a random street picture to me at first. A friend had to point out the folks in the upper right. I wonder how they walk sideways like that?

Cool Dragon Illusion

If you haven’t seen this illusion before, the effect is amazing (actually, I’ve seen it half a dozen times and I’m still awed):

(if you can’t see the video, click here)

Want to create your own dragon illusion? Download the PDF with instructions here.

Amazing Illusion

True or false … in the picture below, squares A and B are the same color:

Checkerboard Illusion

Like me, you probably answered false, right? In fact, they’re actually the same! I didn’t believe it, and figured it was a joke or used some other trick … so I copied each square into Photoshop:

Checkerboard Illusion Comparison

Even now that I know they’re the same, I still can’t see it in the original picture no matter how hard I try. Thanks to Edward H. Adelson at MIT for creating this!

Why do Advertising executives think that a blurry photo of five 30 foot horses on the side of the road is going to make me drink beer? Or why do they think that I’d even attempt to remember the phone number of a fat greasy lawyer while I’m attempting to simultaneously finish my crossword puzzle puzzle, eat a waffle, and change from 4th to 5th?

Due to the abundance of bad roadside ads, I typically admire cool, funny, or just amazingly creative billboards while driving. Below are my choices for top 10 real billboard advertisements:

10. Bic ad:

3d bic ad
Apparently located in England. However, this is the only one of the ten that I can’t independantly confirm as being real (if you’ve seen it, let me know where). Picture via

9. Moving and storage ad:

Doll collection freaks people out
I saw a few of these in New York last time I was there. At the time, I thought it would have been much funnier if the adjacent billboard read: “Why store your doll collection? There’s plenty of freaky people on eBay!” Picture via Billboardom

8. Max Factor mascara:

Max Factor Crying Billboard
This cool billboard changes from an attractive model to a make-up nightmare when it rains. Not sure how this is supposed to help sell more mascara though. Picture via Frederik Samuel

7. Sign from God:

Sign from God
Funny and a clever play on words – definitely more amusing than the other dozen or so “Billboards from God” dotting our highways. Picture via

6. Ikea – The page cannot be displayed:

Ikea page cannot be displayed
This electronic billboard was supposed to be showing a real advertisement, but it looks like Windows (or their network) pooped out. While almost certainly not intentional, something tells me this would make a great ad for a Microsoft competitor. Picture via

5. Gain – Irresistible Scent:

Gain - irresistable scent
3d billboard ads are popping up everywhere, particularly in big cities. This is one of my favorites, probably because it’s the first laundry detergent ad that was both effective and made me laugh. Picture via

4. Ford Mustang Blurred Motion:

Blurred Screen Billboard
This simple Ford Mustang billboard isn’t painted – it was actually created using a special type of semi-transparent material that blurs the scene behind it to make it look like you’re moving really fast, regardless of weather. UPDATE: looks like this was just a concept by Ian Hart, would have been a great ad though.

3. Nike 10k in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nike 10K
Another new trend is interactive billboards. In this ground level billboard, passersby can walk or run on the enclosed treadmill. For every kilometer run, Nike will donate a certain amount to UNICEF. Picture via Briefblog

2. Massive 3d Adidas goalkeeper:

Adidas Ad - Oliver Kahn
To make sure they weren’t upstaged by Nike or other rivals, Adidas constructed this massive 3d advertisement at the Munich airport for the 2006 World Cup. Defining this as a billboard may be a stretch, but it was too cool not to include. Picture via

1. Summer 2006 Cartoon Network:

Comedy Central Ad Campaign
These funny ads showed up in the summer of 2006 all over the country. Most people had no idea what they meant, and the uncertainty heightened the buzz. After a few weeks, The Cartoon Network revealed characters on each ad (bottom right panel). Pictures via Andy little, here, here, and here

And finally, here’s one that was just taken today … it didn’t quite make my top ten, but I thought it was pretty funny:

Plenty of room for God's creatures

If you’ve seen others that you think should be included, let me know and I’ll post them here.

Wow, graffiti can be funny!

Whenever I go to cities, I am typically appalled by the amount of graffiti on buildings, sidewalks, buses, etc. Some of it is artistic, but most of it seems to be filled with anger, cursing, and genuine unoriginality. This is why I was happy to find a few examples of graffiti that I thought were pretty funny:

At least they’re truthful:
your bike is all I think about

They sure do … although I would have said “like bunnies”
starbucks breeds

To make sure someone takes a picture of your graffiti, do this:
graffiti not a photo opp

The yin and yang of the graffiti world:
you give me diarrhea

Nerd graffiti (from Tucows):
nerd graffiti

Just a cool graffiti illusion:
cool graffiti stairs

Cool wavy illusion

Hopefully I’ll have a chance to announce the winner of our contest tonight (worst case I’ll announce it tomorrow), but until then I thought I’d share this cool little illusion. Try moving your head around, towards/away from the monitor, scrolling with the up/down arrows, or move scroll the screen up and down with the slider bar (this worked best for me):
wavy illusion
via Belle

For the past few days, we’ve been working to create an illusion where a picture looks different from far away than close up. On a small monitor, you’ll need to get about 6-10 feet away. If you have a huge monitor, you may need to backup further. If you’re having a hard time seeing the far away image, let us know so can post smaller pictures that you can see from a closer distance.

In the first illusion, the “baby genius” turns into a young Einstein when you stand far enough from the computer:
baby turns into einstein

A few people who saw the first one so far said “yeah, but I knew what I was looking for, which is why I could tell it was Einstein”. Good point, so we created this second image using the same baby … what does it look like to you from far away?
baby ages

If you like these, let us know and we can post a couple other hybrid image illusions and also give you instructions on how you can make your own. This is particularly fun to do using your own children, for example … you can make one child turn into his or her sibling.