Illusions

Volumetric Sound Display

Volumetric Sound Display

Scientists from the University of Sussex are developing a method of displaying 3D tactile images using ultrasonic waves. The system works by levitating a small plastic bead and rapidly maneuvering it to create a persistence of vision effect. If they can move more dots or move them faster, they could create more complex images.

Infinite Portal Sculptures

Infinite Portal Sculptures

British/American artist Anthony James creates amazing sculptures which use a series of LED lights and mirrored glass panels to create an illusion of infinite depth inside of 3D polygonal structures. This GIF really captures the illusion well.

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Infinite Delivery

Infinite Delivery

Over the years, Dave of sheepfilms has created some pretty wild short animations, among them this trippy loop that makes it look like a package that’s being delivered contains the front door into which it is being delivered. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Furniture Illusions

Furniture Illusions

Magician and video illusionist Zach King shows off a variety of fun optical tricks with furniture that isn’t ever quite what it seems. Unlike some of Zach’s other videos, the effects are all done in camera, using some truly unusual props.

Quantum Stealth Invisibility Cloak

Quantum Stealth Invisibility Cloak

Canadian camouflage experts Hyperstealth Biotechnology has recently applied for patents on their technology which can bend light around an object to make it vanish from sight when placed in its sweet spot. The paper-thin screen could be used to hide military targets from ground-level threats. More on Vimeo.

Bonobo: No Reason

Bonobo: No Reason

Reminiscent of the best in-camera visual trickery of the mighty Michel Gondry, director Oscar Hudson’s incredible music video for Bonobo and Nick Murphy’s chillwave track was created using forced perspectives with “a very small camera… and a very big set.”

Slow Dance Machine

Slow Dance Machine

Intrigued by slow motion visuals? Wonder Machines‘ unusual picture frame makes real world objects appear to move in slow motion. Designed by artist and inventor Jeff Lieberman (Time Warp), the device appears to use some sort of nearly imperceptible vibrations to pull off its trickery.

Video Illusions Compilation

Video Illusions Compilation

Kevin Lustgarten shares a reel of some of his many clever and brain-bending scenes he’s created over the years. Most of the trickery is done with digital visual effects, but the resulting imagery is still really entertaining.

IRIS

IRIS

Remi Devouassoud’s visually stunning CG animated short presents us with an image which plays with our minds. Are we looking at another universe, or an up-close image of a human eye? Or is it both?

Toy Car Illusion

Toy Car Illusion

This 3D-painted anamorphic illusion by artist Leon Keer will mess with your head. Watch as a toddler drives her mini car into the middle of what appear to be a stack of giant Hot Wheels cars. Be sure to check out more of his amazing imagery on Instagram.

Laminar Flow Disambiguation

Laminar Flow Disambiguation

Captain Disillusion investigates those videos that show what appears to be water frozen in time, and demonstrating something known in science as “laminar flow.” It doesn’t take the Cap’n long to replicate the effect himself, but is it real or fake?

The Spoke Blur Effect

The Spoke Blur Effect

Have you ever noticed how when a bicycle wheel rolls along the ground that its top spokes appear to be much more blurred than the bottom ones? Michael of DONG explains the physical and optical properties that bring this effect to life.

3D Makeup Illusions

3D Makeup Illusions

Professional makeup artist Luca Luce has an ongoing series of amazing illusions that play with the dimensions, texture and shape of his head. The illusions probably work only from a very narrow angle, but they’re still messing with our heads.

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The Impossible Screw

The Impossible Screw

Latheman’s crazy machines made what he calls the “impossible screw.” If you hold it sideways, it will turn only clockwise. It doesn’t matter if you flip it. The only way to get it to turn both ways is to hold it upright. It’s a fun trinket that you can replicate with a hacksaw and a file.

Circle in Circle Illusion

Circle in Circle Illusion

Take a look at the video, and you’ll swear that these balls are spinning in a circular orbit. But look more closely, and you’ll see that each ball is moving along a perfectly straight path. The mechanical model is based on a design by 16th century Italian poymath Girolamo Cardano.

Color Illusion 3D-printed Skull

Color Illusion 3D-printed Skull

Using a professional full-color 3D printer and taking advantage of the stairstepped surfaces of voxels, Make Anything was able to create a sweet model of a human skull that appears to change colors when viewed from different angles. Download the model here.

Pyro Fire Shooting Pen

Pyro Fire Shooting Pen

Ellusionist took the technology from its wrist-mounted flash gun and incorporated it into a marker pen. The Pyro Fire Shooter Pen looks like a Sharpie and actually writes, but press its covert button for 3 seconds, and it will ignite and shoot flash paper over 10 ft.

Sketches

Sketches

A computer keyboard and mouse pointer take turns manipulating real-world objects, clothespins take flight, and nothing else is quite what it seems in animator Tomin’s playful, cgi-augmented short film.

Eric Chien’s Ribbon Magic Trick

Eric Chien’s Ribbon Magic Trick

Magician Eric Chien won the 2018 FISM Close Up Grand Prize with this amazing series of tricks. He uses a ribbon and two rectangles to transform playing cards (and his vest), swapping their colors, slicing and repairing and ultimately turning the cards into coins.

2018 Illusion of the Year

2018 Illusion of the Year

What you’re looking at is mathematician Kokichi Sugihara’s “Triply Ambiguous Object, ” a seemingly three-dimensional object that messes with minds by providing three completely different interpretations depending on the angle you view it from.

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Making People Invisible

Making People Invisible

An amusing clip from the Netflix series Magic for Humans in which magician Justin Willman uses a mix of illusion and collusion with the audience to convice two subjects that they are now invisible. Lots of commenters think the marks were actors, but we’re not so cynical.

Will This Trick Your Ears?

Will This Trick Your Ears?

AsapScience presents a handful of illusions for our ears – actually, the part of our brain that processes sound. These illusions often fool us into hearing sounds that don’t exist, or hearing something else aside from what’s actually there.

Making “Impossible” Woven Wood

Making “Impossible” Woven Wood

Maker of things Izzy Swan shows off a building technique that makes it look like layers of wood have been woven together into a form that should be impossible to pull off. We won’t give away the trick, but it takes a whole lot of work to pull off the illusion.

LEGO Magic Angle Sculptures

LEGO Magic Angle Sculptures

John Muntean shows off his amazing LEGO shadow sculptures, each of which looks like an amorphous blob, but casts shadows of three distinct images as it’s rotated through a beam of light. After DragonButterflyJet, be sure to check out KnightMermaidPirateShip and ABC.

The Sacred Riana

The Sacred Riana

Twenty-five-year-old magician and illusionist Riana Graharani’s tricks probably won’t fool Penn and Teller. But she still managed to win Asia’s Got Talent 2017 by augmenting her craft with just the right amount of disturbing presentation and acting.

Reverspective Illusion Paintings

Reverspective Illusion Paintings

Business Insider UK shows off some the art of Patrick Hughes. In his “Reverspective” paintings, sections of the canvas project outwards making closer objects seem further away, and further objects seem closer. More trippy business here.

Rubika Bookcase

Rubika Bookcase

Anesis’ Rubika Bookcase can showcase even the plainest objects. Its overall shape, the shape of its compartments, and its color scheme make it look like it’s popping out of your wall like a giant Rubik’s Cube. Available in different colorways.

Fast Slow Motion

Fast Slow Motion

In-camera effects trickster Eran Amir did his best to make it look like everything in this video was shot in slow motion, when in fact it was all recorded and plays back in real time. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a solid effort.

Void Rug

Void Rug

Scott Jarvie’s handmade rugs have an incredibly simple yet brilliant pattern. When viewed at an angle, the Void Rug looks like a literal black hole on the floor. It’s available as a circular or a rectangular rug.

The Slinky Master

The Slinky Master

We know they walk down stairs, alone or in pairs, and make a slinkity sound, but we had no idea that a Slinky could be used as the centerpiece for a crowd-pleasing stage show, as this participant on a Chinese TV talent show demonstrates. Original video here.

Kaleidoscopic Dominoes

Kaleidoscopic Dominoes

Master of all things domino-related FlippyCat presents a fun way to make it look like you’re have way more dominoes than you actually do. The trick – like all good illusions – it’s all done with mirrors.

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