The most baffling optical illusions of the year

The Scottish Sisters/YouTubeThese optical illusions baffled people this year.
  • This year was full of optical illusions that baffled people.
  • Some were viral photos of humorous coincidences.
  • Others were more intricate works of art using Photoshop or other materials.

From intricate works of art to masterful Photoshop jobs to viral coincidences, 2018 was full of optical illusions that baffled people.

Here are 15 of the most mind-bending optical illusions of the year.

“Triply Ambiguous Object” created by Kokichi Sugihara of Japan won the title of Best Optical Illusion of the Year.

The Illusion contest/YouTubeIt looks completely different from three different viewpoints.

“Triply Ambiguous Object” created by Kokichi Sugihara of Japan shows what appears to be a three-dimensional object looking completely different from three different viewpoints. These seemingly different objects can all be seen at the same time thanks to two vertical mirrors placed behind it.

There are three reasons why the illusion occurs. For one, it only works on video, meaning that depth perception is absent: our brains then fill in the missing depth information with rectangles. Also, the vertical pin emphasises the direction of gravity when viewing the object on a slant, strengthening the illusion of a 3D space. Finally, it’s hard to tell that the three viewpoints are showing the same object.

Contrasted by the colourful items in the aisles, the greyscale section in this supermarket looks eerily colorless.

The Scottish Sisters/YouTubeThis picture is not Photoshopped.

Holly McKee was shopping for a Halloween costume for her younger sister at Asda supermarket in Dundee Milton, Scotland, when she came across an irl optical illusion that made her do a double take.

Sandwiched between colourful aisles of clothes and accessories was a display of greyscale children’s clothes so uniform that it looked like a black and white filter had been applied in reality.

McKee first posted the photo to her Instagram story,then to Twitter, captioning it “Thought I went colour blind in Asda today.”

When people thought that she edited the photo, McKee went back to the store to film a video of the display to prove that it was real for her YouTube channel, The Scottish Sisters.

This frog actually consists of five models covered in body paint.

Courtesy of Johannes StoetterThis frog is not real.

Johannes Stotter creates optical illusions that first appear to be hyperrealistic depictions of animals. But on closer inspection, you can see they’re actually humans covered in body paint.

Stotter began his “Illusions” project in 2013 while living in the Italian Alps, where he says nature directly influenced his art.

The horizontal bar appears to change colours, but it’s actually just one colour.

Dodek/Wikimedia CommonsThe horizontal bar is the same colour throughout.

Psychology professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka studies optical illusions at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. He posted a demonstration of lightness perception involving a piece of paper and a square moving across it. The square appears to change colours as it moves from one side of the paper to the other – an example of a simultaneous contrast illusion. The square wasn’t changing colours, but its luminosity appeared different against different backgrounds.

Another example of a simultaneous contrast illusion is a horizontal bar placed against a colour gradient. It’s just one colour throughout, even though it appears to progress from light to dark grey.

People couldn’t figure out whether this was a photo of someone’s neck, or a woman with long hair.

LilMaarty/TwitterA back or a neck?

Twitter user MartyMula tweeted a simple photo of a woman – but it got the internet in a tizzy.

People couldn’t figure out whether it was a photo of someone’s neck, or a woman with long hair flowing down her back. The tweet amassed over 70,000 likes and 30,000 retweets.

The photo is, in fact, a depiction of a young woman’s back, not neck.

Twitter couldn’t decide whether this black animal was a cat or a crow.

The image uploaded to Twitterby user @RobertMadguise_ shows a black animal on a tiled floor. People on social media seem to be split – some see a black crow, while others see a black cat.

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the image as a black crow. But if you adjust your eyes, you can see that it’s a cat with its head twisted backward, looking up at the camera. What appears to be a beak is actually the cat’s ear.

These drawings of everyday objects are so accurate that people can’t tell which are real and which are fake.

Courtesy of Howard LeeCan you tell which is real and which is drawn?

Howard Lee blurs the line between reality and illusion with his hyperrealistic drawings of everyday objects.

The artist is known for his mesmerising drawing videos, which typically begin with a still, side-by-side shot of two or more items. Both items look like the real deal, but, as Lee eventually reveals, one of them is actually a drawing.

The popsicle on the left is real.

A teacher accidentally created an optical illusion while doing arts and crafts with his students.

Braden McKinnon/@bradesmckThese red poppies don’t overlap.

Canadian teacher Braden McKinnon was celebrating Remembrance Day (a Canadian commemoration of military service) with his class by drawing outlines of poppies for his students to cut out. He noticed that the edges of the flowers looked like they were overlapping – even though they were drawn separately.

McKinnon posted the image of the poppies to Reddit, where it went viral with 124,000,000 clicks.

A few Redditors suggested that the reason for the flowers’ trickery is something called the Gestalt Continuity Law of grouping.

“Descent into Limbo” at the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal, looks so much like a two-dimensional painting that a man fell inside the gaping hole.

fundacaoserralves/YouTube‘Descent into Limbo.’

A 60-year-old Italian man visiting the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal fell down a gaping hole that he mistook for a two-dimensional painting.

The man, who is believed to be about 60, was admitted to the hospital for back injuries, but has since been released, according to The Times UK.

The man was viewing “Descent into Limbo,” which is an eight-foot hole that is painted black so it appears to be bottomless. The piece was created by British sculptor Anish Kapoor in 1992.

To the confusion of many, this dog’s ear looks exactly like its face.

interest_mild/TwitterThis dog looks like it has two faces.

Reddit user Embeast shared a photo of her dog, a three-year-old Great Dane named Floyd. The fold in the dog’s ear actually looks like his eye, and the rest of his ear is eerily shaped like his face.

The Twitter account @interest_mild picked up the photo. Once people were able to understand what they were looking at, the ear puns started rolling in.

Calvin Klein model Natalia Vodianova looked like she was floating without any legs.

natasupernova/InstagramWhere are her legs?

Calvin Klein model Natalia Vodianova took to Instagram to show off her outfit, but her fans immediately noticed that she appeared to be floating without any legs. The image went viral with many commenting on the optical illusion and asking, “Where are your legs?”

Some commenters thought this illusion was the result of a bad Photoshop edit. But it appears that the right leg is blending in with the couch behind her while the edge of two mirrors is distorting her left leg, making it appear to be another leg of the table.

Chef Ben Churchill makes desserts that look exactly like random everyday objects that appear inedible.

Courtesy of Chef Ben ChurchillThis seemingly moldy orange is actually a decadent dessert.

At first glance, Ben Churchill’s Instagram and Facebook pages seem to be filled with photos of random, inedible objects and savoury dishes like eggs over toast.

But the professional chef, who taught himself how to make desserts three years ago, is actually an expert in all things sweet. A self-described food illusionist, Churchill regularly transforms decadent cakes into dirty kitchen sponges, fresh parfaits into moldy oranges, and panna cottas into ashtrays – all while ensuring his creations remain delicious, despite what they may look like.

Romanie-Jade Tulloch creates optical illusions with makeup.

Tulloch, a 19-year-old makeup artist, combines her love of makeup and art to create mind-boggling optical illusions that will make you do a double take.

Her Instagram account, @cakefacerj, features all of her makeup looks, which often employ bright colours and bold lines. She hopes to inspire young people to be creative and take risks with their makeup.

Jonathan Higbee’s perfectly-timed photos capture optical illusions in everyday life.

Courtesy of Jonathan HigbeeAn optical illusion on the streets of New York City.

Higbee’s collection of photographs called “Coincidences” captures everyday moments on the streets of New York City, where he moved a decade ago.

Each picture in the ongoing series reveals a playful optical illusion, taken at the perfect time, making it look as though a man’s hair is made of steam, for example, or a stranger is larger than life.

Justin Peters merges reality with imagination using Photoshop.

Courtesy of Justin Peters‘Another Way.’

In his own words, he creates “unique digital art inspired by surreal painters.”

“I hope that when people experience my work, they stop for a moment and discover a new and different world,” he previously told INSIDER.

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