Blurred Lighthouse Illusion

After 9 years of struggle, finally I have graduated my University and obtained master’s degree in telecommunications. It feels like someone lifted a giant boulder off of my chest. Yet somehow I already miss this boulder. It made me feel I belong to something, I could’ve identified myself as being part of a student body… Anyway,  now that you know the big news, let’s see what m.ee. Vurdlak has prepared for you today!

Try and focus on the right (sharp) part of the photo on your right. The photo shows something that resembles two lighthouses, but I can assure you it would’ve worked even if the motive was carrots. After some time the image has changed, and the right lighthouse turns blurry. You’ll get the impression the left lighthouse is now sharper than the right one. In reality the new image contains two identically blurred lighthouses. Not sure if I managed to explain this well enough, but I can assure you this illusion deserves some extra attention!

170 Replies to “Blurred Lighthouse Illusion”

  1. The right lighthouse does turn blurrier, which can be seen if you cover up the left lighthouse entirely, so this is not an illusion at all.

    1. Actually it is an illusion.. When the right photo is blurred the left photo appears sharper. In fact both photos at that point are the same image..

    2. but the illusion is to hae one llight house blurred and one not to get the effect that they change blurriness

    3. Both images are on a loop: First, in focus then Blurred. When the right lighthouse changes to blurry, both pics are then IDENTICAL but the left pic looks more in focus than the right. At first, this one was kind of hard to understand what we were suppose to look for. Once I figured it out, it was pretty cool!!!

    4. Ummm.. to the person who said that “the right lighthouse does get blurry” – that’s the point. Really. It’s called ‘reading’. Try it.

    5. It does and it’s supposed to. Read the description again.
      The illusion is that when they change, the left looks sharper than the right when in fact they are equally blurry.

    6. did you even read the post? he told you that the right lighthouse turns blurrier. the illusion is that it seems blurrier than the left lighthouse when in reality it isn’t.

    7. The right-hand lighthouse is meant to be blurred, but if you continue to look at the right lighthouse as it blurs, the left-hand lighthouse looks less blurred than the right, when in reality they are the same image!
      It’s hard to explain the phenomenon though, and I found after looking at the double blurred image for a while, my eyes adjusted and the left-hand image reverted to looking the same level of blurriness!

    8. No. I thought the same thing and covered it with my hand as well. You are missing the illusion. When the left LH becomes clear the right LH appears to be more blurry than the left one. But at that point they are equally blurry.

    9. it is supposed to turn blurrier, the illusion is that the left one appears blurrier in the second frame though they are both identical

  2. That’s cool. I think it’d work better if they were both blurred a bit more in the second frame, and the left one was more blurred in the first frame. Interesting effect though.

  3. unfortunately if you put your hand over the left light house you’ll notice that the right is in focus but then changes to blurred.

    1. I think this is not the point made. Isn’t the point that both images are blurred equally but still one looks sharper? So then it makes sense that the right one blurs…

  4. Is it only me or does the right lighthouse turn blurrier than the left lighthouse? I concluded this after i covered my hand over each lighthouse individually…

  5. this is so cool!!! for me the two light houses take turns blurring back and forth. could be my eyes though because even blue cell phone light bothers them alot.

  6. Yes, guys, the right lighthouse DOES change to blurred. The idea is that initially, the right one is sharp and the left one is greatly blurred, then they BOTH change to the same image – the illusion is that in the second, equally blurred image, the right lighthouse looks blurrier than the left due to priming.

  7. Congratulations on your graduation. It is a great achievement. As a fellow masters student, I am envious. I don’t know about you, but I have been in school since 2002, so I get what you are saying about being unsure how to feel about it. I don’t know how things work where you live, but here in the US you would be eligible to work as an adjunct professor. So, you don’t have to leave the academic setting if you don’t want to. LOL. Just prepare to be broke for the rest of your life f you stay. Good luck and best wishes.

  8. I would not consider this an illusion, but a lame attempt at one utilizing technology.
    Right click the “illusion”, click “Save Picture As” and see if you can get a hint

  9. y’all are misunderstanding the illusion.

    it is not a deceitful trick.

    yes, both pictures change. they change to an identical blurriness and the illusion is that, when they are identically blurred, the left looks sharper than the right.

  10. Congratulations for your degree, I’m proud of you. But now, that you aren’t a student any more, I hope you still continue showing illusions that you find.
    This lighthouse illusion is to demostrate, another time, how our eyes deceive us all the time.

  11. Obviously both images change. I think the point is that it seems that, when the left image becomes sharper / right blurrier, it appears as though the left is sharper than the right, when they are both equally blurry. Not a very strong illusion though, as looking back to the left and right, you can quickly and easily tell they’re the same. It’s only at first glance, while focusing on the right, that the left seems sharper, probably due to your expectation and the greater amount of change that the left image goes through vs. the right.

  12. The right lighthouse does indeed turn blurry, but not as blurry as the original left one. At the same time, the left lighthouse sharpens, but not as much as the original right lighthouse. The end result after the change is that both lighthouses are the same amount of slightly blurry, yet (and here’s the illusion) you brain interprets the left lighthouse as sharper than the right lighthouse that you’re staring at.

    This is probably because the brain sees (just out of it’s focus) the the left lighthouse sharpen and the one you’re staring at blur and so “guesses” (incorrectly) that the left one is now clearer.

    Very nice illusion. I love the ones that fool the brain into incorrectly interpreting what the eyes see.

  13. Congratulations! And an interesting illusion…took me a couple of minutes of staring to realize what was happening. :-)

  14. No Illusion here both immages change focus at the same time.

    If the right one didnt change when the left is covered then it would be.

    Had me goinig for a while though, maybe thats where the illusion is?

  15. Examination of the image with photo editing software reveals the explanation as a lie. The image consists of two frames. The first has the blurry lighthouse (left) and in-focus lighthouse (right). After 3000ms the second frame is shown which consists of two blurred (slightly) lighthouses. 3000ms later the image then switches back to the first frame. Repeat ad infinitum… no illusion at all.

  16. He’s not saying that the right one doesn’t change. It does.

    But when it changes, the left one appears sharper.

    In reality, when the right one blurs and the left one turns crisper, they’re both at the same level of bluriness.

  17. Congrats on your masters degree! But…
    as the people above me have already stated, this is not an illusion. The picture moves. I at first thought it was a really cool illusion, but after I looked at it a few more seconds I realized that the images are blurred one at a time.

  18. @Doug $Nick The right one DOES get blurred. The illusion is that, the very moment that it blurs, the left one seems to be less blurred for a split second – which it isn’t: they’re both identically blurred. Vurdlak says that you should keep your eyes on the right one, but I wonder what the red star is for.

  19. The left is more dominately blurred then the right, however when the left lighthouse in this .gif comes into focus the right lighthouse then becomes blurred. Both lighthouses are changing from being focused and blurred at opposite intervals.

  20. Ok see ing the responses, I need to try to re-explain the illusion.

    At first the left is 100% blurry and the right is 0% blurry.
    Then they both become 50% blurry. That IS part of the plan.

    The illusion is that even though they are equally blurred in the second frame, the one on the left initially looks sharper than the one on the right.

  21. that was such a cool illusion untill i realised that the right one changed aswell:( so it’s not actually an illusion

  22. Doug and Nick seem to be misunderstanding the nature of the illusion.

    The pic starts as 1 very very blurred lighthouse on the left, and one sharp one on the right. After a while it changes to 2 pictures of equally blurred lighthouses.

    However the lighthouse on the left (which was previously very very blurred) now appears much sharper than the one on the right, although they are both equally blurred in the second frame.

  23. Bravo care za faks, samo sad ces zeleti da ga nisi zavrsio :)
    Sto se tice sajta, odlican je i nadam se da ces nastaviti da ga odrzavas i sad kad si zavrsio faks.

    Congratulations to obtained the diploma, now you’ll just wishing that you have not finished :)
    Your site is excellent and I hope that you will continue to maintain, even now when you’re finished the university.

  24. I think you got the illusion wrong… when the left one is blurred and the right one is in focus, focus on the Star, then when both pictures become out of focus, the Lighthouse on the left appears to be in focus… but only while you look at the star.

  25. Very cool illusion. Glad you graduated after 9 years. Set a goal and then make it a priority. In junior college after a 45 year break but doing well.

  26. It Isn’t an Illusion. The right picture becomes clearer when the left one becomes blurrier. it is very noticable when you cover the left image with your hand.

  27. I think I know what the illusion is in this image.

    If you focus only on the blurry half on the left, then the sharp image on the right does not appear to change, even though it does get slightly blurred when the left half becomes sharper.

  28. what he’s saying they both turn the same blurriness when the left one changes (yes the right does too) but the right one look even more blurry than the left.

  29. Congratulations Vurdlak! :-)

    The illusion occurs due to “lag” between the eyes/brain. When looking at the sharper image the eyes/brain have noted a “difference” in sharpness between that image and the one on the left. As the sharpness of the left image changes, the eyes try to maintain that “difference” as if the eyes are saying “huh, we didn’t do anything to make that less blurred, what’s going on?”. It takes a few milliseconds for the brain to reply – “it’s not you, it’s the image” and the eyes to then stop trying to compensate. Those few milliseconds, though very short, are noticeable.

    I’m wondering if this event is less evident to younger faster eyes, compared to adult/mature eyes – I will test it out on my daughter when she gets home from school :-)

  30. Congrats on the grad!

    I thought this was a really neat perception illusion until I read Nick’s comment, and all I have to say now is BOO on the creator.

  31. OH WAIT! It’s supposed to be blurry! He says in the intro it’s
    Sharp/Sharp
    Very blurred/Sharp
    slighly blurred/slightly blurred
    but because of the contrast betweem very blurred and only slightly blurred on the left, the right will seem blurrier in the third frame. I got it!

  32. @Doug, @Nick, It is not about the right picture. It is correct that the right picture has a blur… but When it has… is seems that the left picture is more sharp then the right.. and it isn’t.

    BUT… For me there is no difference about the brurring of both pictures in there equal state.

  33. you guys obviously haven’t read the text, he says that the right one becomes blurred but that makes the left one seem to become less blurred

  34. Congratulations Vurdlak! This illusion is not an illusion, the left one really blurs out more in the 2nd frame.. Maybe you should edit the 2nd frame to achieve this effect in real?

  35. unfortunately… when you save the image as a JPEG, you take away its GIF animation.

    because yes…. it’s only an animation.

    look at the image in JPEG, and you will see so focus shift.

    sorry.

  36. Vurdlak, congratulations on your graduation! I’m really proud of you.

    I enjoy MOI immensely, and appreciate your hard work on it.

    Ignore the whiners and complainers. I’d like to see THEM match all your achievements!

    Jayne

  37. Yeah, the light house on the right actually does become sharper when the left becomes more blurred. You’ve got a dud.

  38. that’s an animation! I extracted two different images from it; one shows a more blurref lighthouse on the left; the other shows two identically blurred lighthouses; the result is the feeling of a brain shift; clever!

  39. I just re-read the description of this illusion, and it does actually work. Focusing on the right image when it’s sharp and the left is blurry, and then waiting for the switch, it does look like the left image is actually sharper after the change, even though they are both equally blurry.

  40. Congratulations to you’re degree! I know exactly, what you mean, when you say, that something is lost when it’s finally over.

    About the illusion: The idea seems to be, that the second time, you’ll get two identically (lightly) blurred images. But, because in the initial view, one of the images was more and the other less blured, you’re supposed to see a difference in sharpness which actually does not exist… I’d say Vurdlak described it correctly.

  41. Congratulations on your masters! What a great accomplishment. Do you know what you’re going to do now? or is this it? :)

    As for the illusion, it’s simple, but
    i think it shows how your eyes see things differently. Yes I can see through it, and I’m not sure about the changing blur. My farsighted eyes blur all on their own. XD

  42. For some reason, after I stare awhile, the right lighthouse stays blurry, and the left lighthouse blinks every several seconds between blurry and sharp.

  43. What’s happening:

    1: left picture blurred+++, right picture sharp
    2: both pictures equally blurred+

    What you see (looking at right picture):

    1: left picture blurred++, right picture sharp
    2: left picture sharp, right picture blurred++

    Here lies the illusion.

  44. Yes the right one is supposed to blur slightly.

    Hard to understand what was meant here…

    1st Photo: left photo really blurred, right photo sharp.

    2nd photo: left and right photo are just slightly blurred.

    But the one on the left appears sharper.

  45. Ok guys read the description again, What he is saying is that in the first frame the one on the left is blurred and the one on the right is not and in the second frame they are BOTH EQUALY Blurred however the right one seems more blurry than the left!! Nice illusion

  46. I would like to speak with someone concerning a project I am developing with the use of illusions. Could someone please write to my email address & either leave me your phone number so I call you to discuss the specifics and legal that may be involved in mounting my project.

    I could also send you my telephone number as a response to your email to protect my privacy as per this correspondence. Thank you, Kenneth J Wyrtch

  47. I think you need more than 2 brain cells to understand this one but I get it :)

    Agreed, the right image does blur also but the point is that at the point when the right image blurs it is actually the same blurriness as the left image however the illusion makes it appear that the left image is sharper than the right when focusing on the right side only but in reality it never is! …confused? …give in! lol

  48. Congratulations on your masters degree. I worked 8 years (while holding a full time job) on my bachelors degree. I know exactly how you feel about being relieved and somehow missing it.

  49. When the left LH becomes clear the right LH appears to be more blurry than the left one. But at that point they are equally blurry.

  50. Well done on your masters!

    As for the others commenting I think they might need some more education, namely reading…

    If you read the post they didn’t say the illusion is that the right lighthouse becoming blurry. They said that the right image becomes blurry and the left image goes from extremely blurry to the same level as the blurred right image. The illusion is that even though in the second phase both images are blurred identically, the right image looks more blurry than the left.

    It is a very subtle image though

  51. This is a little confusing to insomniacs like me but is the illusion that when the left image changes to sharper it’s meant to look less blurry than the right though it is in fact identical.

  52. This one does not seem like an illusion to me. Instead the image itself is actually changing. It does not matter which lighthouse you focus on, they still alternate between blurry and focused.

  53. Not an optical illusion.. as optical illusion asks the picture to remain the same so this is done with some computer generated altering cuz it shifts into 3 different frames

  54. in the second frame, the right one is supposed to blurr. If you read it, it says that the second frame both pictures are blurred equally but the left picture appears sharper.

  55. Hi everybody, I’m afraid not everybody did understand the REAL illusion: in the first step, left image is blurred and right image is sharp, that’s clear so far. In the second step BOTH images are slightly out of focus, in the same way, i.e. they are IDENTICAL, even though slighly out of focus! So what’s the real illusion? If you watch them carefully, you may believe that one of the two “identical” images is more sharp than the other! Guess which one? That’s the reason why everybody is fooled, believing that the RIGHT image is out of focus, when indeed BOTH are IDENTICAL!

  56. I think I get it. Let me try to explain. The image consists of 2 lighthouses and a star in the middle. If you focus on the star in the middle and without moving your eyes from it but be aware of the right, “sharper/focused” lighthouse and the “blurry/un-focused” lighthouse. The image changes after a few seconds and the image on the right becomes a little blurrier and the one on the left a little shaper but both images are now the same focus. If you watch the change happen a few times the left lighthouse seems more in focus than the right lighthouse.

  57. I think what he means is, if you stare at the one on the right, when it goes blurry, it looks as if the one on the left is crisper than the one on the right…as if they switched places. Don’t stare at the star, and don’t actively compare images. Just stare at the one on the right.

    I hope that’s not too confusing.

    Also, congratulations for achieving your goal of a Master’s Degree! Quite an impressive accomplishment!!

  58. Doug and Nick did not read the description at all.

    The illusion is that when the right one turns blurry, the left one will ‘appear’ sharp. However the left one is still at least just as blurry as the right side becomes.

  59. I suppose if the details of the lighthouse were a little bit clearer, the “blurring” of the image at the right would be more noticeable.
    i^_.~’

  60. Congrats on getting Masters…. you could always go for PHD if you miss being a student :)

    I just about get the illusion… the trick is to let your vision go soft on the right light house and they both go blurry.

    1. Sarah, the illusion is that when it switched, it appears that the left tower is now sharper than the right, even though they are both the same.

    2. The illusion is this:

      There are two light houses one blurry one clear.
      Focus on the lighthouse on the right.
      When the light house on the left is blurry you will see the light house on the right as being clear.
      When the lighthouse on the left changes (to be the same image as the lighthouse on the right) the clear image (on the right) will then appear blurry.

      It is an illusion, as well as an animated gif. amazing how one thing can be two things!

  61. if I stare and concentrate I see 3 lighthouses and 2 stars and all three appear clear and not blurry. guess I have strange eyes and a vivid imagination.

  62. Fail!
    If you compare the two images on the right (I did) the “blurry one” is actually not as sharp as the second one.

    The concept is true sharpeness is very subjective… but this one is gimmick.

  63. This is actually a pretty good illusion if you do it properly. For those of you who aren’t getting it, the description is a bit misleading.

    There are two pictures alternating periodically. The first image show the lighthouse on the left very blurry and the one on the left very clear. The second image shows both lighthouse a bit blurry. The trick to this is to stare at the star, not the lighthouse. When the both lighthouses are slightly blurred, your peripheral vision fools you into thinking the left is slightly more focused than the right.

  64. I saw three lighthouses also and two stars. I guess it’s what you focus on. that matters. i must have strange eyes, too i saw them very clearly. And my imagination is very vivid.

    1. Some of you clearly don’t understand the point of this illusion. When the right house is sharp and clear, the left side is very blurry. When they change, they are the same amount of blurriness; but if you’re doing it right, the left one appears to be sharper, even though it’s not. And some people seem to think that an illusion has to be somehow natural and not created on a computer. Anything that tricks your eyes into seeing what is not there is an illusion whether it occured naturally or in a static image, or in an animated one.

  65. If you do the stereogram thing with this illusion, the middle lighthouse is sharp.
    Probably a clue as to how it works.

    Congrats on the degree.

  66. Whoa, irfanview info says:

    GIF – LZW – 2 images

    Image changes at regular time intervals. Will see if I can print one image later and I bet that this “illusion” will not work.

    Sarah is correct!

  67. Pasted to Serif Draw as pic, stopped working (as I predicted) without both pics

    Love the website

    Moderator: feel free to throw away my first comment and/or my second comment or to add the last two together and post. First comment is junk. Middle lighthouse goes fuzzy, sharp, fuzzy if viewed as stereogram.

  68. hi, that is cheating, it is a gif animation.

    if you cover the right half of the image, you still see the changes on the left.

    anyway, nice try!

  69. I thought this was a really cool illusion but after a short time I realised that it’s not an illusion at all. You can prove this by putting your hand over one side of the picture.
    Even without the aid of the other picture both left and right sides shift from blurry to clear. The GIF tricked me for awhile though.
    Congrats on getting your masters though, and I love your site.

    1. Reply to “Dave”
      and anyone that does not understand this
      Illusion,

      It looks like most people do not understand exactly what the “Blurred Lighthouse Illusion” is and what the actual directions say to do. A lot of people are saying it’s not an Illusion because it’s a GIF and the pics change! Well to start, THE PICS ARE SUPPOSE TO CHANGE!!!!!!!

      I have tried to think of an explanation that is simple to understand exactly what the Illusion is and how to see it. My description is below. I hope it helps and thanks for taking the time to read it!!!!!!!

      Both images are on a loop: Each pic alternates between being in focus, then Blurred. When the right Lighthouse pic changes to blurry, both pics are then IDENTICAL at the same time. Although both pics are shown at the same time side by side and they are IDENTICAL, the left pic looks more in focus than the right pic.

      Okay, that is the entire Illusion! The Illusion itself is very short and not at all difficult to see, but for some reason it is VERY, VERY hard to explain and describe!

  70. The actual illusion is as follows:

    Initial set up is a Super-blurry left image and a super clear right image. Then it switches to both images being identically partially blurry.

    However, if you stare at the red star, then when they switch, the illusion is that: the left image SEEMS perfectly clear and the right image SEEMS super-blurry. When in fact they are both identical at that time.

  71. well, congratulations for your master degree in telecommunication! I was curious to look at your university but the link sends to the candle and the mirror illusion page! wrong link or what? i was telecommunicated in an other place…! congratulations again, grown-up-now-dropped-out student!

  72. Congratulations on your great success! I’m currently enrolled in college too, and I feel that bolder almost everyday. I’m not even through my first year yet, so I have a lot of bolder lugging to do. Good luck in your future!

  73. I feel like I’m totally missing something. I see the pic with the clear pic on the right, then it goes to a blank white, then back to the same. I never see either image change sharpness. :(

  74. Congratulations on getting the Masters! Enjoy the ease of pressure. The pressure will build again soon enough when you start studying for your PHD.

    Fasinating illusion. The way our bodies work constantly leasves me flabbergasted.

  75. I don’t see it at all, they’re both as sharp/blurry as each other. The only reason the one on the right goes more blurry is because I’M NOT FOCUSING ON IT. As soon as I do, they both look the same.

  76. Illusion : Concentrate on the star.You will see first light house blur then the second one blur..This is happening simultaneously…

    Explanation: During right light house blur, try to out focus from the star and quickly compare both images…you can see both images having same resolution.

  77. It looks like most people do not understand exactly what the “Blurred Lighthouse Illusion” is and what the actual directions say to do. A lot of people are saying it’s not an Illusion because it’s a GIF and the pics change! Well to start, THE PICS ARE SUPPOSE TO CHANGE!!!!!!!

    I have tried to think of an explanation that is simple to understand exactly what the Illusion is and how to see it. My description is below. I hope it helps and thanks for taking the time to read it!!!!!!!

    Both images are on a loop: Each pic alternates between being in focus, then Blurred. When the right Lighthouse pic changes to blurry, both pics are then IDENTICAL at the same time. Although both pics are shown at the same time side by side and they are IDENTICAL, the left pic looks more in focus than the right pic.

    Okay, that is the entire Illusion! The Illusion itself is very short and not at all difficult to see, but for some reason it is VERY, VERY hard to explain and describe!

  78. mmm… I think this is fake as well. If you cover the left one you can obviously see that the right one changes every few seconds

  79. Its not an illusion . Both the left and the right images are animated gif image. Just cover one image and see the other uncovered image.Do it for both left and the right image. You will find out what i am trying to say.

  80. wait wait wait cover the blurry side…. watch as the one side changes from normal to sharp! thats cheating… its docent really even work…. >: (

  81. i first covered the right as to see the that left blurry side does switch over, as its supposed to. Whats supposed to happen is when the left switches over the right seems blurry all of the sudden from the sudden change in contrast. unfortunately when i covered the left, i saw that the image on the right changes to slightly blurry, not an illusion at all, but cheating. not an illusion at all.

  82. the illusion has to with how our eyes adjust to images blurring and then sharpening.

    whats supposed to happen as stated is that we think the left lighthouse looks sharper than the right once the pictures change.

    frame 1: lighthouse on the right is sharp and the left is blurred a lot.

    frame 2: lighthouses are both blurred equally but the left one appears to be sharper than the right because that it isnt as blurry as in frame 1.

  83. If you hide the left picture, you will notice that there is a change in the right picture, this is not an illusion, the right picture is really changing.

  84. I tested this one. Phillip is correct. Right click and check image properties. This one is a gif. If you cover one side or the other, both sides will still change because the image is animated and is really actually changing. Sorry, but this one is a fail…

  85. if u guys notice actually the left picture blurs and de-blurs every few seconds no matter whitch one u stare at, its set up that way to trick ur mind……..nice try tho guys ;) very clever =-p =-)

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