I’ve copied this beautiful demo (with small changes) from one by Stuart Anstis, who is one of the world’s leading and most prolific researchers into illusions. His website includes a page of great movies, including this one. Whilst the yellow circles are visible, we tend to focus locally on the pairs of spheres, each pair orbiting a central point. But without the circles, loosely fixate the central blob, and though the movement of the spheres remains just the same, they appear to re-group into a more global view, of two pulsating, intersecting circles of spheres.
I came across Stuart’s movie amongst the many web pages of figures and demonstrations that accompany a once-in-a-generation, landmark publication, the Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions. (It’s not cheap – check the price before ordering!). But that’s because it’s HUGE, with some 800 pages. Almost all the leading researchers in the field worldwide have contributed, with essays on the history of visual illusions, up-to-the-minute, detailed discussions of a comprehensive range of illusions and effects, and philosophical essays on whether the word illusion is really the right term to describe them.