Illusions and visual special effects – explanations and tutorials

Optical Illusions

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Waiting for Shining Person (a new optical illusion cartoon)

May 10th, 2010 by david

Here is a new animation in our series of animated illusion cartoons, Waiting for Shining Person.  (As with our earlier cartoons, It may run jerkily on first run-through.  It should be fine thereafter.)

Compression for Flash has slightly reduced the effect. If possible, view Waiting for Shining Person as a
Quicktime Movie

These cartoons are meant to work just like a three- or four-frame cartoon in a newspaper – each one presents a situation that ends with a punch-line.  The cast of characters are all illusion figures of different kinds, but each cartoon depends on a particular illusion effect.

So the cartoons are a new art form – but I’m not sure they’re entirely successful.

The main illusion to watch out for in the movie is the glare effect, which radiates from the face of the mysterious Shining Person:

 

 

Archives Posts

Animated Illusion Cartoons – re-posting of Chicken and Leaf

January 6th, 2010 by david

Woops, slight technical glitch with the original post of this, just before Christmas. So this is a re-posting of the third of our animated illusion cartoons, Chicken and Leaf. It may still run jerkily on first run through, should be OK second time around.

These cartoons are meant to work just like movie versions of a three- or four-frame cartoon in a newspaper – each one presents a situation that ends with a punch-line.  The cast of characters are all illusion figures of different kinds, but each cartoon depends on a particular illusion effect.

The main illusion effects to watch out for in this movie are tessellations, and especially the final transformation, which transforms across the image at the same time as it transforms locally:

You can also view Chicken and Leaf as a
Quicktime Movie

You can also see our this cartoon along with the previous ones in our Animated Illusion Cartoon category.

I’m fascinated by the effect that the movie ends with – a tessellation that transforms in space and in time. Tessellation (or tiling) wizard M.C.Escher was brilliant at these transforming patterns, as in his Metamorphosis prints, but of course couldn’t do animations.  I’m sure he’d have done the animations if he could, but without a computer they’d have taken years. In my animation there are two sequences of transformations, first where the pattern morphs in sync all over the screen – a number of people have done those – and then the one that morphs across the image as well as in time.  I’m not aware anyone else has done one of those.  Please let me know if so, I’d love to see it – and otherwise, I hope if you’re an animator you’ll be provoked into doing a better one than mine.

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Animated illusion cartoon – post no. 2

October 30th, 2009 by admin

Here’s a new chance to see illusions as you’ve never seen them before (unless of course you viewed our first post on animated illusion cartoons).

This one is STAG and the SNOW FAIRY.  The illusion it features, on which we have an earlier post, also with an animation, is revolving heads.

You can also view Stag and the Snow Fairy as a
Quicktime Movie

You should also be able to download Stag and the Snow Fairy for mobiles. This is a bit experimental, so please let us know if it works:

formatted (filesize 924 KB, .mp4 format) for
mobiles EXCEPT Iphones

formatted (filesize 3.2 MB, m4v format), for
IPHONES

Archives Posts

Illusion animated cartoons

September 25th, 2009 by admin

The world of illusion as you’ve never seen it before:

Here’s the first of a series of half minute or so optical illusion animated cartoons… also available as a Quicktime Movie.

This cartoon features a new version of the well-known rotating heads illusion.

And here’s the second …. also available as a Quicktime Movie.

This cartoon features two kinds of ambiguous images. One is the famous Duck/rabbit illusion and the other a new ambiguous image, first seen on this site, the mask/skull illusion.

More cartoons to follow over the next few weeks, along with illusion posts as last year.