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This intriguing collection contains more than 275 optical illusions that appear to change before your eyes. Al Seckel carefully selected both well-known images, such as Shepard's tabletop, Wade's spiral, Ames room and Rubin's face/vase, and many lesser-known, but no less effective, illusions.
Every type of optical illusion is here, along with notes about the science of each visual perception and how the illusions work. Among the baffling images and shapes are:
With illusions rendered in photography, artwork and computer imaging, and a huge variety of themes and effects, Optical Illusions dazzles both the mind and the eye.
(1) Shepard's Tabletop: These two tabletops are absolutely identical in size and shape! If you don't believe it, trace only the tabletops and see for yourself.
Previous page: Fraser's Spiral is one of the most powerful illusions known. What you see appears to be a spiral, but it is really a series of perfect concentric circles! This illusion is so powerful that it has been known to induce incorrect finger tracing!
(2) Extent and Perspective: Although they appear to be dramatically different in length, lines AB and CD are equal.
(3) The Scintillating Grid: The disks at the junctions will appear to flash when you move your eyes around this image.
(4) Checker Shadow: The light check inside the shadow is identical to the dark check outside the shadow. If you don't believe it, cut out a peephole exactly the size of each square and test it!
(5) Escher's Impossible Box. Belgian artist Matheau Haemakers, drawing his inspiration from a print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Esther, has created a physical model of an impossible box.
(6) Ouchi Illusion: Move the page back and forth. The center section may appear to move in a direction different from its surroundings.The center section will also appear to be at a different depth.
(7) Man on the Moon: This image of Buzz Aldrin's helmet was made out of a collage of space images.
(8) Melancholy Tunes on a Flemish Winter's Day: Flemish artist Jos De Mey captured this incredible scene on a winter's day. How does that left column come forward?
(9) Crazy Nuts: Can you figure out how the straight steel rod miraculously passes through the seemingly perpendicular holes?
(10) Figure/Ground: What is hiding here? Before you check out the answer, search carefully, because once you perceive the hidden image, you will never be able to see this image in its meaningless state again.
(11) Kissing Couple Illusion: An illusory kiss by American artist Jerry Downs.
(12) Impossible Staircase: What happens when you walk around this peculiar staircase? Where is the bottom or top step located?
(13) Ball and Shadow Illusion: Are the balls in the two illustrations in different positions relative to the background?
Excerpted from THE GREAT BOOK OF OPTICAL ILLUSIONS by Al Seckel Copyright © 2002 by Illusion Works
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Your Mind's Eye
What's Going On?
Illusion Category Index
Part of the fun of this book will involve being tricked, fooled, and misled. Being fooled has nothing to do with how smart you are, how cultured you are, how artistic you are or how old. You will be tricked. In fact, many of the illusions are so powerful you will doubt the written description. Others are so convincing, you will not know what the illusion is until you read the caption.
This volume is by far the most comprehensive collection of illusions ever published. A good number come from recent work in vision and perception laboratories and others come from a variety of modern artists who have deliberately incorporated an illusion into a drawing, photograph, or sculpture. There are also quite a few illusions that have been created specially for this book. I have tried to provide a variety of different perceptual experiences. Many of the illusions in this book appear here for the first time in print. Of course,
you will find the familiar classics here too.
The chapter "Your Mind's Eye" puts the illusions into a framework of modern understanding. At the back of the book you will find a chapter "What's Going On?" that provides brief scientific explanations of our best guesses for why these effects occur and how they are consistent with the processes that mediate normal perception. There is also a glossary of technical terms that are used throughout the text, a category index so you can compare similar examples of the same type of illusion as well as suggestions for further reading.
"Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind."
-- Wllliam James
The Great Book of Optical Illusions can be appreciated on many levels. Most books on illusions reprint the same classic illusions over and over again, but this is not the case here. Although you will find the familiar classic illusions, this book contains innumerable illusions, which are not found in any other published source. A number of the illusions come from the results of recent research in vision and perception laboratories. Other examples come from a variety of artists who have deliberately incorporated an "obvious" illusion into a drawing, photograph, or sculpture. There are also quite a number of illusions, which were specially created by us.
The illusions are not ordered in any systematic fashion, but are grouped into galleries and at the back of each you will find some notes which give brief scientific explanations of our (and in some cases, my own) best guesses for why these effects occur, and how they are consistent with the processes that mediate normal perception. Illusions are a very nice window into how the brain perceives, because they can reveal the processes that underlie perception in a way that normal perception does not. At the end of the book is a glossary of technical terms that are used in the textual explanations and suggestions for further reading. Although the book is in a popular format and accessible to all ages, it can serve as a stepping stone to some wonderful projects onperception for students of all ages.
Most of us take vision for granted, We seem to do it so effortlessly; however, perceiving images, objects, depth, and motion is a very complicated process. Only in the last one hundred years, and especially in the last twenty years, have scientists started to make some progress in understanding vision and perception.
Take a moment to observe the world around you. For example, if you tilt your head, the world doesn't tilt. Move around an object: the shape you see changes, yet the object remains constant in your perception. "Sorting it out" is a truly wonderful process. Your visual system, however, usually settles for the correct interpretation. But there are some very powerful constraints on just how your brain does this.
For the most part, these constraints work. However, mistakes can happen. Sometimes, an illusion occurs when there is not enough information in the image to resolve the ambiguity. For example, important clues that would normally be present in the real world, and which would have resolved the ambiguity, are missing.
It needs to emphasized, though, that our understanding of vision and perception is very far from complete and the explanations in this book are tentative and should be regarded with some degree of skepticism, especially since some of the explanations involve my own speculations! Therefore, I sincerely hope that this collection will inspire some serious thought -- and practical demonstrations -- as to why these effects occur. It is my hope that this may lead to some new insights about the creative intelligence of vision.
Part of the fun will involve being tricked, fooled, and misled. This collection of illusions will definitely do that! It has nothing to do with how smart you are, how cultured you are, how artistic you are, or how old you are. You will be tricked. In fact, many of the illusions are so powerful you will doubt the written description, while others are so convincing that you will perceive nothing wrong. You will know that you are being tricked, but you won't know how.
Vision Science is one of the most exciting areas in current scientific research, and the study of illusions is one that brings great joy. I hope that this book will bring surprise and delight to both young and old alike, as well as stimulating some thought about the most marvelous mystery in the universe, the human brain. Now go have some fun!
California Institute of Technology, 2002
Posted March 19, 2009
What do you say when you want someone to believe you? Probably, you'll say, "I saw it with my own eyes." That's because you believe that if you have seen something with your own eyes, it must be true. But your eyes can fool you.
Certain patterns confuse your eyes and brain, causing you to misjudge the size of a circle, or the length of a line. When your eyes see a picture, they "send" that picture to your brain. Then it's up to your brain to make sense of the picture. But sometimes your brain gets it wrong.These are optical illusions.
Most published books contain age old illusions without offering a scientific explanation to enlighten the reader how their eyes and brain was tricked. With Optical Illusions, we have an alternative.
Optical Illusions is a good collection of a wide array of visual and other types of sensory illusion. It contains a large number of illusions that have not yet appeared before. Thanks to new discoveries in vision science, new effects have been added plus classics with a significant augmentation done. A wide variety of effects are shown with over 150 illusions presented to give your eyes a wonderful visual experience.
Perception is everything
A testimonial by a satisfied reader.
"The Art of Optical Illusions' will trick and treat your eyes. Images appear from nowhere, flat surfaces become three-dimensional, and pictures with paradoxes become peculiarly perplexing. This is a true amusement park for the mind. The lavishly produced collection of 150 color and black and white pictures are displayed in four galleries. Each gallery is followed by a page containing the explanations for the illusions. Under each picture, there is a short description of how to enjoy the illusion or a description of how to make the illusion work."
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Posted March 27, 2010