Most amazing illusion ever?


@CiaraMK sent me this amazing illusion.  Click on the image to open it as large as possible and wait for it to get running.  Then, when you cover up the centre of the image with your hand the dots will appear to speed up.  Cover up the edges and they slow down.

Does it work for you?


45 comments on “Most amazing illusion ever?

  1. Joanne says:

    Yes, it works for me. Just guessing here, but does this illusion work because the dots are expanding outwards from the centre?

  2. Liminality says:

    It works!

    Yes, I think that’s the reason @Joanne

  3. Vinod Niranjan Kumar says:

    Good one. I guess its because our eyes cant judge speed very well when we have an object heading straight at us.

  4. Works for me. I assume it’s because covering the centre causes us to view with our peripheral vision, which is more finely tuned to detect movement.

  5. Paul Annett says:

    Objects closer to us appear to move faster. So far away objects (in the centre) are moving slower. As objects get close and go “past” us they move to the edge, and faster past us.

    You’re effectively asking us to cover the slow moving dots in the middle, and then the fast moving dots at the end.

  6. Peter Leeson says:

    I was about to comment, when I saw that Paul had said what I was going to say. The dots on the edge are moving faster in order to give the illusion that they are moving towards us. If they were not moving faster, it would like rings expanding in water.

  7. M says:

    It works great!

    The dots on the edges are faster than those in the middle. When you see all, it averages the speed visually.

  8. Yeah it works for me, these kind of optical illusions amaze me.

  9. Paul says:

    As M says above;

    This is not an illusion. The dots on the outside really are moving quicker.

    If anything, the illusion is that it appears all dots are moving at the same speed when viewing the image as a whole as, due to the speed differences, you brain interprets it as if you are moving through through the dots (as if they were stars in space).

  10. Geoff says:

    Of course the dots at the outside are moving quicker! I took Richard to mean they will speed up / slow down “relative to what they were before” when you cover these areas, which in my case, they do. Fantastic illusion.

    • Aisling M says:

      “Geoff Says: I took Richard to mean they will speed up / slow down “relative to what they were before” when you cover these areas, which in my case, they do.”

      I agree! That’s exactly what’s happening. So quit the moaning, it’s a very good illusion! 🙂

  11. nanda says:

    Cover up the center then it will speed up

  12. Mark says:

    Yes, it does – very fascinating!

  13. Robert says:

    I tend to concur with Aisling and Geoff above – they speed up and slow down relative to what they were, not to each other. Fascinating illusion, +1.

  14. Lazy T says:

    It’s quite a strong effect, I’m wondering why I never noticed it with the windows starfield screensaver.

  15. dmmaxwell says:

    Google “parallax”. 🙂

    • Michael Sternberg says:

      More specifically, motion parallax.

      Interpreting the dots as a scifi-style “star field” I didn’t find anything noticeably illusory on covering parts of the image.

  16. Mystery says:

    Nice…. but best ever? No way!

  17. Mystery says:

    Also not quite an illusion as dots get bigger towards edge from original size in middle, just like watching snow fall from above! Still good fun!

  18. Chris Bird says:

    Nothing at all changed for me. No illusion, nada 😦

  19. D says:

    I already noticed this illusion when playing Portal – zooming in while falling makes the fall appear slower.

  20. James Ernst says:

    Huh. No change for me. Normally I’m completely taken in by illusions but this one does nothing at all.

  21. John Loony says:

    That’s only “amazing” to people who don’t understand angles. Nor is it an illusion.

  22. Okoko says:

    I like it but it’s not the best one I’ve ever seen. That honour goes to the incredible Checker Shadow illusion.

  23. Barry says:

    The dots at the edges are going faster than the ones in the middle, but they definitely appear to speed up significantly compared to what they were when I cover the centre – that’s one of the best illusions I’ve seen, I must admit.

  24. physicalist says:

    Messin’ with my head. I guess that means it works.

  25. It’s called warp speed.

  26. usefkl05 says:

    Yeah, I can see it. But I wonder if I would’ve been able to see it without you first telling us what to expect.

  27. Mark Smith says:

    This isn’t really unexpected. It’s a consequence of the geometry of perspective.

  28. Alonso says:

    Nope, just looks like that stars screensaver from win 98 only in negative.

    Hardly justifies the “best ever” title?!?

  29. I think I’ve been hypnotised by it. Works a treat! Shall be telling all my students about this one!

  30. Kharamatha says:

    So things that are actually moved at a higher speed than things which are actually moved at a lower speed also appear to be moved at a higher speed than things which are moved at a lower speed.

    Good “illusion”.

  31. Kharamatha says:

    Though the ones that just disappear do present a good illusion of superspeed.

  32. anibal says:

    yes, it works

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  34. 6clare6 says:

    Same speed, but distances are made shorter or longer by where you put your hand, clever 🙂

  35. Charlie says:

    that is so freaky

  36. Rob Went says:

    The dots in the center don’t move as far as the ones towards the edge. They appear for the same amount of time and therefore are literally moving slower.

    A bit like the outside edge of a record moves faster than the inside

  37. Enrique says:

    It works! also it is AMAZING!!!

  38. It’s just like lying on the ground during snowfall. Or travelling through space at light speed.

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