Fun Visual Tricks & Optical Illusions

The lines in the picture appear to be curved and slanted (but they aren't)

Have you seen the duck which is also a rabbit? How about the Spinning Dancer who seems to be moving in a clockwise as well as a counter clockwise direction? These are some of the more popular optical illusions. What do you think an optical illusion is? If you think that the word “optical” has something to do with eyes, you are already half correct. The word “illusion” is derived from a Latin verb which means “to mock”. When you think about it, illusions trick people into seeing things which are not. The best way to learn about optical illusions is to experience them first hand. After you have checked the following links, you will have a much clearer idea about optical illusions. Have fun!

Motion & Time

  • Stepping Feet: The yellow and blue feet seem to be “stepping” when the grid is visible but in reality, their movement is parallel.
  • Motion Induced Blindness: Focus on the dots. Do the dots really disappear?
  • Motion Silencing: When the ring rotates, the dots seem to have stopped changing colors. Is it true?
  • Rotating Snake: The “snakes” seem to be rotating but are they?
  • Pinna-Brelstaff Illusion: Fix your eyes on the blue cross, then move your face towards the screen, and away.
  • Waterfall Illusion
  • Stereokinetic Phenomenon: The motion “changes” a 2D image into a 3D image.
  • Reverse Spokes: Try and see if you can make the spokes stay put.
  • Enigma: Start by fixing your eyes on the center. Do you see how things are starting to move and rotate?
  • Biological Motion: In motion, you can see a figure which is not there when there’s no motion.

Luminance & Contrast


  • Lilac Chaser: Focus on the black cross. Do you see the moving dot turning green and then all the dots disappear?
  • Benham’s Disk: Learn how to make these cool optical illusion spinners.
  • Neon Color Spreading: Good demonstration of this amazing phenomenon.
  • Rotating Sphere: Play with the controls to learn about structure from motion.
  • Color Mixing: Here’s a great place to experiment with color mixture.

Geometric & Angle Illusions

Space, 3D & Size Constancy

Cognitive/Gestalt Effects

Specialties with Faces

Websites Dedicated to Optical Illusions

  • New Optical Illusions: Collection of visual, scary and funny illusions. Visitors can submit additional visual illusions to be published on the site.