Topic: optical illusions

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The Bicycle Animation: Live animation on a bicycle wheel

Bicycle wheel animation by Katy Beveridge.

Little Music Flipbook

Flipbooks (and making them) are little bits of magic.

Pixar’s Zoetrope and how animation works

An introduction to the zoetrope from the team at Pixar, who wanted to show exactly how animation works. In 3D. The zoetrope consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. On the inner surface of ...

The praxinoscope

This is a praxinoscope. It was invented in France in 1877 by Charles-Émile Reynaud. Like the zoetrope, it used a strip of pictures placed around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder. The praxinoscope improved...

The Phonotrope (formerly the Phonographantasmascope)

This video (which picks up at about 40 seconds) is by the fascinating Jim Le Fevre,” a BAFTA and British Animation Award winning free-lance film maker mostly working in animation” who experiments with (wha...

How to make your own thaumatrope

Cut out a white cardboard circle. On the front, draw something on the left. On the back, draw something upside down on the right. Punch two holes in the sides of the circle, as shown above, and thread string through e...

Paper engineer Matthew Shlian: Flipbook & paper installations

A flip book video by paper engineer, TEDx speaker, and artist Matt Shlian, who also makes paper sculptures and videos of his intricate flip books and small paper installations. A few favorites are here, here and (don...

The making of a praxinoscope animated music video

Created, drawn and colored by the director David Wilson, this “how to” about the making of a music video is an excellent primer for how the praxinoscope works. Watch more videos with optical toys.

Impossible motion illusions by Kokichi Sugihara

Kokichi Sugihara at Meiji University in Kawasaki, Japan, has been using computer software to bring impossible drawings to life. The video above shows some of the objects he has made moving in ways that appear to d...

Magic Moving Images

A little tour of the book Magic Moving Images by Colin Ord. From the archives: optical toys and more scanimation videos.

Scanimated Optical Illusion

YouTube’s Brusspup specializes in optical illusion videos that are inspired by the animation concepts in the book Magic Moving Images, and in scanimation books like Gallop!. In this video,...

The Moon Illusion – AsapScience

"Wow the moon looks huge tonight!" We’ve all said it, but is the moon ever larger or closer at the horizon? (No, it’s not.) Is it some visual magnification by the atmosphere? (Nop...

How to make amazing anamorphic illusions

There’s nothing that twists the mind quite like an optical illusion and this one is pretty great. From Brusspup, who has previously created scanimation toys (among many other optical tricks), check out the video...

Brusspup’s Amazing Water & Sound Experiment

This mind-bending and water bending viral video is another experiment from Brusspup (featured previously on this site). Here’s the zig zag DIY:  Run the rubber hose down past the speaker so that the hose touc...

A Basic Demonstration of Optical Cloaking

Above, A Basic Demonstration of Optical Cloaking. Cloaking is a term for hiding an object from view at specific frequencies, but evidently one can cloak things DIY-style with four mirrors a...

The Moon Illusion – TED Ed

Why does the full moon look larger when it’s near the horizon than when it’s high up in the sky? For generations, astronomers, psychologists, brain researchers, and many others ha...

Can you trust your eyes? – AsapScience

Can you trust your eyes? This episode of ASAPscience gives you reasons to think about your answer.

How to draw a Penrose Rectangle & other impossible objects

The Penrose Rectangle is what’s known as an impossible object, an optical illusion that is drawn to look like a three-dimensional thing that could never actually exist. If it’s hard to see at first, cover ...

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