Juan A sent me this great illusion.  Here is a picture of the well-known Latin American television star Don Ramón:

And here is another picture of him (it works best if you enlarge the image and stand back from your computer or gently shake your head from side to side)



  1. This is a form of halftone printing, isn’t it? The same process has been used to print newspaper images for almost 200 years.

    Look at a newspaper (through a looking glass now, the dots are much smaller than they were 10-20 years ago), the images are small dots. From a normal (reading) distance, the image appears.

    The dots here are larger, and the image is reversed to obscure it.

    1. Tom,

      I thought that, as an English speaking Norwegian, you’d like to know that the term ‘looking glass’ generally refers to a mirror, as in ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’. I think that what you intended to say was ‘magnifying glass’.

  2. @AyreGuitar the reason the John Lennon one works better is because it’s considerably less subtle than the Don Ramón one.

    I looked at the Don Ramón on full zoom and noticed that the “black” of the picture consisted of dots that were anti-aliased (so they had some gray pixels around them and the “white” consisted of dots that were jaggy (went straight from black to white with no gray between). That couldn’t be it could it? Maybe there was just a subtle gray picture below it and they were relying on lateral inhibition to obfuscate the image.

    I took both into photoshop and got rid of the black to see what’d be left. Sure enough on Don’s picture the only thing left was the gray around the dots. On the Lennon picture however there was a whole image. That one did rely on lateral inhibition. But in the Don picture the darker areas exist because the dots are actually slightly bigger but only by a halo of anti-aliasing around them. What’s amazing to me is that the Don illusions works zoomed out, that there’s actually enough data after pixels are averaged to achieve zoom to still function.


  3. I do not consider this to be an illusion. This is good old printing technique. Look any small printed image in an old news paper with ten times magnification. It would give similar feel. To reverse the process, copy this image in say Word and then zoom down to say 10%. One would see a normal printed image.

    1. I am sorry, Philipe3d. I was the one who submitted your wonderful illusion to Prof. Wiseman, but I did not specifically mention the source. I have never seen (or noticed) if the pictures, illusions, videos and other materials that are posted here are given the credits for the original sources, so I did not especifically mention your blog when I sent the image Neither I expected it to be posted so soon (I sent it on Sunday).

      I do follow, enjoy and highly recommend (to Portuguese speakers) your blog, MundoGump (http://www.mundogump.com.br).

      Sorry, again…


  4. His name is not “Don”! Don in Spanish is like a more familiar way to say “Señor”. Don Ramón is the character, the actor’s name was Ramón Valdez.

  5. i had to tilt me head all the way over to the right to see the image. The John Lennon one from a few months ago worked much better.

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