Animated Illusion of Two Hearts

Color-adapting category is one of the rare sections on this site that almost exclusively contains true optical illusions. The effect we showcase most often, usually makes two parts of a picture seem as if they were of a different color, even though they’re actually identical. This can often be proved by removing the contextual background, isolating only the two parts on a colorless surface. Representative example for this type of illusions would be original Checkers Illusion. But what would happen if we could produce completely opposite effect? Check out the animated .gif file below. While the two hearts are surrounded by appropriate contextually relevant colors, they seem as if they are of the same color. The moment animation changes and background colors disappear -illusion stops and we can see the truth that was there the whole time. Would be interesting to hear why you think this effect occurs? What could be causing it?!

41 Replies to “Animated Illusion of Two Hearts”

  1. Hummm… they are different colors?? Cool! Im so bad with these kind of illusions!! Love the 2nd to last post to love the animal pics!! thanx for your great posts!! :)

  2. Sorry, but I picked a colour difference initially, with the heart with the red background destinctly pinker than the heart on the right. Removal of the background colour intensified the pinkness/purpleness of the left heart.

  3. I cannot tell any difference in color with or without the backgrounds. My wife thinks I am color blind. She might be right (even though I do see color).

  4. the two hearts are slightly different shades of lavender (which is a color that is is the result of mixing pink and blue together) .the one that is surrounded by the pink field is somewhat pinker than the one surrounded by the blue field(which is comparatively blue-er)
    the pink field mutes the pink tones in the “pinker”heart, and the blue field mutes the blue tones in the “blue-er” heart, so when the colored backgrounds are removed, they appear to be the same color.

    1. I know right? At first I thought it was different colors and I thought the illusion was that they were the same color. But I was right! They are different!

  5. disappointment.

    I waited for my eyes really cheat me, but the picture was the same level – what time I could draw with MsPaint and post if I had no any moral.

  6. Man this one not so good….i though at the end of it that they were the same color but my eyes were seeing 2….well afterwall they were….i tohugh…’wow iam seeing 2 colors and the ilusion its probably tell me that the color is the same’….then bam, the hearts got 2 colors…like someone said i already were seeing the 2 colors before the white background.

  7. It shows clearly that a color is defined by the colors aroud. It’s a well known stuff for graphists, painters or 3D makers that the shadows are colored from the object it reflects. But the best exemple would be the color of the sea… Blue ? No no, transparent, the blue is the reflexion from the sky…

  8. While it is easy to mistake them for the same colour, if you look direct at each heart, you do detect a slight difference, but you might think you are imagining it.

  9. Kiwibot, you missed the point of the illusion. It is supposed to LOOK like the same color when the backgrounds are non-white.

    The white back ground reveals the truth that they are not the same color.

    You admitted that the color difference intensified after it went white, so you saw some of the intended effect.

  10. I believe that this is an example of metamerism. Two objects look like that have the same color under one set of lighting conditions but have a different colors under different lighting.

  11. Neat.
    Also, if you stare at both hearts, you get a nice blue afterimage around the left heart when the screen turns white.

  12. I could tell that both hearts looked the same with or without the color backing from the thumbnail. Maybe we are to notice how much brighter the hearts look without the background

  13. I thought the hearts with the background colors looked the same, and they looked different with the white background, the right heart was obviously bluer than the other.

  14. I was able to see a slight difference when color backgrounds were present, but it is still a neat illusion. The right one is easier to understand: the contrast of the dark blue background makes the heart appear to be a lighter blue than it acutally is. The left one is very interesting: blue and red make purple . . . so, the more-red-dominant background makes the heart appear to be a less red-dominant purple than it really is. It’s a great affect.

  15. I don’t know why you see the hearts as different. Certainly with the background colour, the difference is a bit less extreme, but I can still see the pink and blue. But then again, my job requires good colour sense eyesight. Perhaps the illusion is dependent on the strength of a persons visual acuity? Or maybe it’s all in your monitor?

  16. cool! it is interesting to measure colors in the animation; where hearts are deeped in different colors (red on left, blue on right) they look identical; when they are in a white background (let’s say neutral BG) you catch the difference; analytically (in RGB system) white is 255, 255, 255; RED BG is 204, 51, 102; BLUE BG is 0, 102, 153; heart on the left is 204, 153, 255; heart on right is 153, 153, 255; in summary, in BLUE BG there is no RED and in the left heart there is too much RED; in my opinion, the difference is in the amount of RED color that is in the left heart; RED on the left is exceeding the RED in the right heart; you don’t see the difference when BGs are colored because the exceeding quantity of RED in the left heart is diluted in the image when a RED BG is seen; it looks like our sight is deceived when an higer content of color is presented to our eyes in a context that is rich in the same color.

  17. the one on the right seemed darker to me even with the red/blue background. Although it’s still a surprise to see how much difference there is once the backround is gone.


  19. i can see the difference in the pic without the background very clearly but woth the background it looks the same

  20. It’s called color subtraction. Since the redder heart had red behind it, the red is subtracted and it looks bluer, and the bluer heart has blue behind it and so it looks redder. It’s never absolutely perfect, but this one is pretty good.

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