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By on July 5, 2011, with 69 Comments

We’ve seen hundreds of ultra-realistic chalk drawings by now. Over the years artists have truly mastered their craft, pushing the boundaries and making their results more realistic by each iteration. In my opinion, today’s featured illusion has pushed the boundaries even further -by replacing the “chalk” part in “3D chalk drawings” with actual flora (and fauna). Observe how strong the 3D effect appears. It’s almost impossible to visualize the scenery as being what it actually is – flat. I think the original artist has started the whole new trend, and hopefully, we’ll be seeing whole bunch of similar illusions in the near future! The only thing I regret is missing the author’s name. I’ve tried using reverse image search which TinyEye provides (as suggested by my audience), yet without any sucess. If you have any clue about the origins of this photo, also where this installment can be found, please don’t hesitate to share it via comments section!

Update 07/06/2011 – Thanks to our dedicated fans we’ve managed to identify the author behind this monumental achievement. His name is François Abelanet and may find more photos here.

  • ;-)

    I can’t unsee it!

    • Sterling

      It Is NOT FLAT!!!!!! Why cant you see the doors
      of the buiding behind it! It is on a hill you MOPES!

  • PromiseMe

    That is so cool! I can’t make myself see it flat!

  • Cathy Gould

    oops- re-punctuating!

    It took a while, but here it is!

    Pasted from

    “Optical Illusion at Paris town hall
    Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Publié par Eric”

    “Fa-sci-na-ting! I passed by the Paris town hall today, where they currently have an open air exhibit about Paris trees (there are 485 000 of them!). On top of the various – very interesting – explanations, they also installed an anamorphosis work of art by François Abelanet. Anamorphosis? Let me borrow Wikipedia’s definition: ” it’s a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image.” Well, since an image is worth a 100 words, click here, you’ll see that what you get in this photo is not really what you see! More, in French, on the Paris Website.

    Libellés : 04th, Event, Exhibition, Fun, Street Artist”

  • Layneee

    O my god!!! that is so amazing!!! And like it said I can bairley even see it as it being flat i try to concentrate but this is just too good of an illusian and its just fantastic! probably one of my favorites now too :) I kind of want to do a much smaller scale version in my back yard ^-^

  • Brian

    Truly awesome, I love it. I did a Google image search with it and came up with this site: http://www.parisdailyphoto.com/, which states that it is near the Paris town hall and the author is François Abelanet.

  • Care Bear

    Maybe the world is flat after all!

  • Dustin

    Wow, that’s quite an incredible illusion. It’s really too bad you don’t know who the author is, as he definatly deserves credit. I’d love to be there in real life, so I could see it first hand.

  • Wade
  • r4m0n

    It’s not clear the author of the photo, but at least there is some reference to the author of the work here:
    (Found it through google image search, they are using something similar to TinyEye, but better :-)

  • Danny

    TinEye, not TinyEye



  • Slammer

    I think even cooler than the illusion itself, is that you really cannot tell how big any of those spaces are except at the top and near the trees. Those bottom patches of grass could be a couple inches long, or a couple feet. You just can’t tell the size of those grass patches! And I think the fact that it was done well enough to render the size of the overall shape (and the individual squares) indistinguishable is even more impressive than just a new type of 3D art of the streets. Awesome!!!


  • dcbm14

    OMG looks so amazing and realistic! Thanks for sharing this!

  • jazz

    I cant even tell if its flat or not, thats cool

  • cooldude
  • Eric

    ok i see the skatepark feature thing by the girl, why we cant see half the guy with the purple shirt… but can anyone explain why above that the grass blocks buildings…
    if its a perspective thing that shouldnt happen…
    i think i see stairs at the top right “corner”, but still. im baffled; is it a perfectly placed/shaped hill… did they run out of space and make a wall
    it doesnt make sense

  • gerelyn

    nice !

  • Kelsey

    This is a nice illusion, but it cannot be flat.
    If you look at the top of the “sphere”, it obscures part of the building in the distance.

    My gut feeling is that it’s partially flat, and paritally “shopped”…
    Then again, it’s a very poor quality picture.

  • David

    The top of the ‘sphere’ partly obscures buildings behind it. Is it really flat? If it is it must be tilted up at the end far from the camera to cover the view behind.

  • SMC

    Wow! This is Awesome!

  • Hering

    It is not completely flat. The green area ends above people and windows (see rear).

  • Taunide
  • overtheriver565

    François Abelanet. On display at the Paris town hall. Also, in addition to Tineye, Google Images offers a reverse image search by clicking on the camera on the homepage.

  • overtheriver565

    Also, according to a commentor on a site called the ParisDailyPhoto, “80 gardeners were employed 24/24 for several days, and the form was “drawn” in 3D with laser beams.”

  • Damien

    Actually it’s even better than that, it’s not flat but there are some hills.
    I think I have another photo showing the spot from another angle, really impressive.

    you can see it for real in Paris just in front of the Hotel de ville, it is part of a little expo about the trees in the city.

  • ZL123

    Wow, nice illusion!
    Where is it?

  • lys

    “Let’s do the Photoshop again!”

  • Nice one! Btw: Twitter Button would be GREAT!

  • dada

    according to:


    “an anamorphosis work of art by François Abelanet”, to be found in Paris.

    first search result using Google’s search-by-image feature :-)


  • Niseeth

    I can’t make myself see this as plain!!
    Though it sure is long (the children seem so small).

  • MikeL

    Not all of the space is flat. If you look at the building in the back, some of it is covered by illusion from this angle. I think it is a combination of flat and actual shape.

  • Doudou42

    This photo has been taken is Paris, in front of the city hall.

  • ohno

    where is this?

    and are there different perspectives of this place?

  • Try using google’s reverse image search next time ;) ;) ;) it works like a charm!

  • risa

    wow?! cool and amazing as always :)

  • Sarah

    Hey! This is in Paris! Right by Town Hall. The artist is François Abelanet. It’s part of an exhibit all across the city on trees.

  • Wig

    According to http://www.parisdailyphoto.com/2011/06/optical-illusion-at-paris-town-hall.html it is an art installation in Paris from french artist François Abelanet

    See also his webpage: http://www.francois-abelanet.com

  • Music


  • Laura

    This is awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • Hypersapien

    Cool, but it’s not actually flat


    When I saw it, I thought it had to end with a hill in the distance since it was rising up above the pavement and people.

  • cletus

    You can’t unsee it until you see other pictures that show that the ground is not flat. Then, not only is it easier to see, it is even more amazing!


  • Valerie

    This is withot a doubt the best 3D image I have seen. I cannot believe it is flat. The talent of these guys is amazing!

  • Kimon

    It rises above the horizon, so if it is flat it is DEFINITELY also slanted. That’s why it is impossible to perceive it as flat.

  • A Snail

    Its not flat, look at the top/back of the picture. I’ve some a bit of looking around and found these images:photostream

    In many ways, its even harder to do this image than on a flat surface.

  • Leonel

    I like it…

  • Apps

    If you like this sort of art then you need to look up Julian Beever. He is an english artist and he’s known for his chalk drawings on sidewalks all over Europe! He’s the best I’ve seen!

  • Grace

    Soooooooooooooooo Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jill Harness

    I love this one V!

  • brianne

    yhat is so cool but i was expecting it to be fot a cell pone brand.

  • Eric

    Easily one of the best illusions ever created IMO. love your igoogle app btw!

  • carlols


  • Emily

    This is kool! It looks like it’s round (I like the trees) and it’s so big. I think chalkman did it.

  • Jitske

    Watch this:


    I think it’s hard to imagine it being flat, because it isn’t ;)

    Awesome illusion

  • misty


  • Kelsey

    Here’s another picture that shows how it’s not in the least flat…


  • Danyboy

    Awesome !!!

  • tineye not tinyeye

    Tineye, not TinyEye. Not that it matters :D

  • Ireally like this one! Very Cool!!!

  • I really like this one! Very Cool!!!

  • lys
  • charlie

    state bunch of weirdos

  • Avery

    Where is this at? I would love to take pictures myself :D

  • This is freakin awesome

  • Lander

    Lol this is not flat!! ..though its awesome..

  • HarryAJ

    I see a globe although my sister sees flat grass? (*_*)/