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By on July 23, 2010, with 56 Comments

Can you read what the poster below says? Now try and move further away from your monitor. Read it again, what does it say now? Should be something completely different, though the message should now look more like what you could’ve seen in the first place if you are a widget user. Anyone has a clue how these hybrid optical illusions work? More examples can be found here.

Are You Far or Close?


56 Responses
  1. A Snail says:

    I like this one. I guess its all down to how good your eye sight is. If you can see the sharp lines then that is what you read. If your too far away to see the narrow sharp lines, then you read the fuzzy part.

  2. crazyyboyy says:

    As a guess these illusions ork by playing with the focus in your eyes, when close up (or in large as I saw it) your eyes easily focus on one message so dont try find any others, whereas when you’re far away (or in thumbnail) your eyes focus on the alternate message.

  3. Jen Steffen says:

    I didn’t see the fine lines at first and thought I was pretty close, but then I was looking at it on my facebook feed. Nice display.

  4. Care Bear says:

    That’s so confusing. I wear bifocals so I never know whether I’m far away or too close most of the time. Thanx to you I will probably never know. ;-)

  5. Jacob says:

    ohhh! SICK! i think its cuz close up the white lines are dominant but from a distance there to thin to see so the gray-ish far away thingy shows better

  6. Jacob says:

    green lines sry…

  7. Mudshark says:

    Nice illusion. There are 2 phrases, a blurry one and a sharp thin-lined one.

    When you are close, you see the thin lines sharp,
    move away and you don’t see the thin lines, only the blurry.

  8. tina says:

    wow that has really good effect
    like this one :O)

  9. Ava says:

    This is so nice! one of the best illusions i’ve seen

  10. Ryan says:

    It works because when you are close you have higher spatial resolution and the thin lines are more salient (i.e., obvious). Farther away, the thin lines are too thin (if you think about the width of the lines in terms of visual angle) and the fuzzy (also known as low spatial frequency) letters are more salient.

  11. Amazing! When I sat down and looked at the sign I read “You Are Far Away” but I could not see the other message; so I walked away and still could not make out anything. But, when I sat back down it popped up and I couldn’t help but smile because it had been there all along. Great Job Vurdlak!!

  12. ice says:

    you don’t have to be farther away from the monitor to see “far away”. in the gadget preview, i see “far away.”
    i guess its easier to see the outline of “close” when you are closer to monitor or the picture is bigger

  13. Brad says:

    Nice i like it!!!! Very good :D Well done to the creator

  14. Anna says:

    I really like this one. Great poster.

  15. legomaniak says:

    the “you are close” is outlined making it harder to see from far away. “the you are far away” is fuzzy and harder to read from closer

  16. James Smith says:

    THAT is ingenius..

  17. suresh says:

    not working

  18. Kimon says:

    When you are close, the clear well-defined letters are easily picked up and draw the brain’s attention to them.
    When you move away, the light-coloured lines get thin and can’t be easily read in the light-coloured mist anymore. This allows the brain to see and interpret the misty letters.
    You can still read the far message when you come close again, knowing now that it exists.

  19. Luver.of.Pie says:

    Woah! Weird! Yet awesome! :)

  20. ky says:

    my mom started yelling at me saying THIS SAYS YOU ARE FAR AWAY! im like noo it says you are close! it was funny, now i c both.

  21. Very clever illusion!
    I like it =)

  22. Fred says:

    This would be a good premise for a bumper sticker. I would have it say “Thank you for keeping a reasonable distance” from far away and “You are following too close” when the driver closes in.

  23. chris says:

    obviously, is you stand close, you see the outline over the blur, and it says, ‘you are close.’

    but if you stand far away, than the blurred shapes take form, and it says, ‘you are far away’.

  24. Brian Peralta says:

    too cool!

  25. ahdaunti says:

    Clever use of focus vs. resolution at changing distances.

  26. Sero says:

    Like it, but I find I have to scale the picture down smaller AND move the the otherside of the room not to see the sharp lines.

  27. EricD says:

    i dont know if i have better resolution than everyone else, or just better eyesight (around 19.5/20) but i see the thin lines at any distance…

  28. tessa cisco says:

    thats awsum

  29. Lynzi says:

    Cool! With my glasses on I see “You are close” without them I see “You are Far away” more clearly!

  30. Cockney Cowboy says:

    Cooler than penguin pee

  31. James Travis says:

    Well I see this best from about 12 feet. I need magnification to even see the lines !!

  32. Voigt says:

    An excellent suggestion Fred. Now if we could only have something like this for our personal space…

  33. Joe Od says:

    amazing !!

  34. gil roy says:


  35. Cherry Blossom says:

    Didn’t work for me. :-(

  36. julyssajane says:

    if you go faraway it will say you are faraway but if you go close up to it it will say you are close

  37. Amazing! I love this one!

  38. patko0770 says:

    good. i think because that green color under letters are words and because thoose lines of letters are very tiny, you cant see them from far.

  39. Latisha says:

    that’s awesome :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

  40. Joel Corless says:

    it’s all to do with the clarity of the lines, and which ones your brain can visualise – it works equaly as well if you tilt your computer screen or fiddle with the resolution or brightness.

  41. bren says:

    i read “you are crazy”

  42. emil says:

    pretty obvious how this works aint it? already been explained very nicely.

  43. coolio says:

    u go close, it says ur close you move far away, it says ur far away. nice!

  44. Andre Ardona says:

    WTF.What do you do?

  45. amelia says:

    thats not a very good illusion o u guy should cheak out the hidden wolf illusion that is awesome

  46. Sueakyfart says:

    Really like it its really coo yo

  47. MeEgAn GaLaNtE says:

    It like tells you if you are close ore far!

  48. zach says:

    this worked better when looked at the screen of my laptop from an angle.

  49. ravi says:

    it is because blue color has less wavelength.. so if we go away, blue line cant be seen..

  50. Laura says:

    Doesn’t work very well for me…
    I have bad eyes. T_T

  51. Peter Cami says:

    You are close? You are carash? What does it say?????

  52. Kaos says:


  53. TheRhyslightning says:

    I was in class when I saw this illusion, I saw YOU ARE CLOSE so I got my friends at the back of the room (I was at the front) to look and the said it says YOU ARE FAR AWAY, then I brought it to them and they swore it said YOU ARE FAR AWAY, they still haven’t figured it out…

  54. Aaryash Nayak says:

    when you are close it says YOU ARE CLOSE but when you are far it says YOU ARE FAR AWAY . I got the hint from the illusion itself it first said you are close so i thought that something might happen if we go far and checked it out from a far away distance it is helll awesome!!!!!

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