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By on April 20, 2010, with 64 Comments

Floating Screws Optical IllusionFor those of you who missed our last announcement, one regarding illusion submissions, let’s repeat what already has been told – Few days ago we’ve started our very own Optical Illusions Fan Group, which is proudly hosted by Facebook. There are already hundreds of fans who joined, but more important some of them actually began contributing their own content. When you stumble upon something illusory or puzzling, be sure to send me an email, and I’ll feature your submission if it’s good enough by my rigorous standards. But you shouldn’t stop there, and be ashamed to post your stuff additionally to our Fan Page. You just might higher the chances of your stuff being published on this website. Those of you haven’t sign-upped as our fans, be sure to do so NOW :) Additionally, inviting all your friends to join as well, would be considered a true heroic act! I would owe you more than one…

And now the illusion… I always mix the two paragraphs; one describing the illusion, and other talking about site news. I think the former one should come in second. Anyway, do you know how the photographer made them screws levitate? It took me a second or two, but then I remembered we had something very similar posted month ago. Btw here’s the Fan Group signup, again. You’re just few clicks from becoming Our Fan:

Comments

64 Responses
  1. Barbarella says:

    I did something similar to this in high school to prove that we don’t really know what lies behind celestial bodies because we have only one POV. There is a fine wire soldered on the back of the screw and it is stabbed into the material behind the screw. You can’t see the shadow of the wire because it’s fine gauge and the material is uneven so the shadow is masked.
    Thanks for taking my back to high school today!
    Cheers,
    Barb

  2. Kathy Harris says:

    Hi- My husband and I both love the illusions. We feel a little foolish but we cannot use the site like we want to.
    We would like to click on the illusion picture and have it explain it.
    i.e. The Floating Screws on 4/20. We click on it and get a smaller picture that says, ” You are located inside the gallery of this post: Floating Screws Optical Illusion” Then, if you click on it again it goes back to the original site.
    Are we doing something wrong? rkh1427@nwi.net

  3. Hyper says:

    Low f-stop creating a shallow depth of view meaing he could hang themfrom fishing line.

    or they are sitting on the bobbles.

    or bang the table they are on so they bounce :)

  4. Phintel says:

    I like optical illusions but your chatter is annoying. You type a lot of words but you say nothing. How about at least an explanation of each illusion or in cases of hidden illusions, tell us where they are and what to look for.
    Thanks

  5. Rick Haviland says:

    The screws appear to be setting on a piece of glass with lighting from above. The glass is setting on some type of spacing, allowing for the shadows. Very nice illusion indeed, yes indeed. (I became a fan).

  6. NeeL says:

    The photographer slams the cotton, which makes them jump.

    It’s not like the man behind the puddle!

  7. Care Bear says:

    I wish the screws and things I drop when I’m putting stuff together would do that. It sure would make them easier tofind.

  8. Justice193 says:

    .stops gur (:

  9. Justice193 says:

    lolol… decipher my previous post for the answer is you are desperate :D

    well done, and nice play with the focal blur :).

  10. It does not seem to be an illusion. Even masking the shadows, the screws still looks levitating. Corroborating my point, if Barbara is write (She said “There is a fine wire soldered on the back of the screw and it is stabbed into the material behind the screw.”), there is no illusion, the screws are in fact levitating and this has nothing to do with http://www.moillusions.com/2010/02/cool-optical-illusion-bro.html

  11. Chandler says:

    Those aren’t shadows, they’re just smudges in the shape of the screws to make them look like shadows. Cool illusion.

  12. mage_cat says:

    Funny how two small stains on the fabric in front and to the left of the screws can look like shadows when shot from the right angle.

  13. MyWy says:

    I’ve been following your site for months – it’s very entertaining – but I can’t believe how harsh some of the feedback is! Please keep up the good work – the “chatter”, the hyperlinks, and the illusions that do “not seem to be an illusion”. All good stuff.

    Mouse-over explanations would be cool, but I wonder if you even know all the secrets… =)

  14. Rul says:

    The screws are not floating; their real shadow is being erased by lighing them up. the apparent shadows we see were painted on the surface. Well that’s my guess, although I admit the very surface of the screws looks like there is only one light source.

  15. eb says:

    Nice Illusion, Just like the floating guy in the street. Is it a coffee stain or chocolate?

  16. cliveawalsh says:

    Erm, Are the screws not laid on the material and the shadows made with black paper or have they been drawn in???

  17. Snacko says:

    they are just sitting on a piece of glass.

  18. tinkerer says:

    wow that is so cool, and also so simple for someone to conduct! a masterpeice!

  19. brian says:

    the screws could be magnetised then the opposite pole mag underneath or use air blown through fabric,it works i tried it

  20. Justice193 says:

    @phintel

    If he says nothing then you do not exist, and I shall carry on with the notion that if by some random chance you do exist, you are wrong, because I find it at least slightly informative.

  21. anonymous says:

    its magic!

  22. Angeliqa says:

    Ummm, Felipe…I don’t get your point.
    You seem to agree with Barbara about the wire, then you say that the screws are actually levitating (which they are not) so which do you believe?
    BTW, the link shows a guy standing on the street next to a dark spot meant to look like his shadow (levitation illusion.) I don’t get what point you are making with this link???

  23. Kat says:

    i wonder if the screws might be actually lying on the carpet….
    and the shadows are painted on. hmm…..

  24. Pappas81 says:

    Well i believe that the shadows are drawed on the cotton…the real shadows cant be seen due to the angle of the light (they are right behind the screws)…And this makes the illusion…just my 2 cents…

  25. anon. says:

    I believe that the screws are spposed to be on the carpet, but their real shadows are hidden under them. The shadows shown are just drawn.

  26. parrotheadfl says:

    Maybe the screws are resting on the cloth and the shadows are drawn into place?

  27. the dirty knapkin says:

    no… the shadows are just dirt… ive seen it5 before the screws are on the cloth but behind the “shadow”

  28. kraftboy says:

    Wow, people are paranoid. How about you just paint/mark the shadows in front of the screws, and your brain adjusts because a shadow cast so far ahead implies the screws are levitating.

    Simple, but pretty effective. Wire? Glass panels?

    The human brain is much easier to trick without using such cheap tricks.

  29. Bosterman says:

    Just a piece of glass between screws and the cotton… very old and funny illusion

  30. mitch says:

    We have seen this kind before. The screws are sitting on the rug, not above it (or it may just be a painting or Photo of a rug. Heck, even the screws may just be painted or photos) The “shadows” are painted on the “rug” closer to us. Taking a picture from an angle gives an illusion that the “screws” are floating above the “shadows”
    Which is exactly what was done in your “very similar” link. It doesn’t seem like most of the previous commenters went to that link

  31. Zevon329 says:

    If you rub the screws into the fabric, they’ll hang by tiny almost invisible threads when you turn it over. Then just turn the picture upside down..

  32. hiya says:

    The screws just look like they are levitating because of the shadows. erase the shadows and it looks normal. very good simple illusion.

  33. Jenn says:

    I love the illusions even on kinda lame ones this one has me a little stumped though I do agree with the glass idea

  34. Joanna says:

    Sometimes I don’t care to understand how the illusion works, and this is one of those times. Other times, though, I REALLY want to know the answers so it would be good if they were posted in the next Illusion.

    And in the past couple of days my MOIllusions gadget has suddenly stopped appearing. The error message says “Unable to retrieve “. Why is this?

  35. Buzz says:

    If I’m right this is a great illusion as I don’t think the screws are in the air at all. I think the ‘shadows’ are just marks on the cloth and so the eye makes those marks out to be shadows and then the brain figures the screws must be floating (rather than just sitting on the cloth next to them!) Cool!

  36. Lord Ashes says:

    Are the screws really floating? They might actually be set down on the surface with the seeming shadows actually nothing more than discoloration of the surface.

    The shadows are what give the illusion that the screws are not sitting on the surface, so if the surface is lit in a way to not generate shadows and then the surface is discolored to make it appear like shadows, you get the illusion that the screws are not sitting on the surface.

  37. Roop The Black says:

    The screws are placed normally on the carpet, and the shadow is drawn or painted on. The perspective makes them appear to levitate.

  38. Mburo says:

    That is a pretty cool illusion. A good explaination that i read on the facebook page was a piece of very clean glass with no relfection can maybe actually be on top of the rug with the screws on the glass…

    Justice193 … im not sure about rug spots

  39. luis says:

    hey, is a illusion not a trick is just the way light is possitioned and from what angle they took the picture the screw are not floating they are on the carpet.

  40. Patricia Ann Ingram says:

    I don’t care what anyone says; I think it’s fantastic! Keep up the great work!

  41. Valerie says:

    I think that those “shadows” are in fact stains on the rug. As quite a few people have said, it wouldn’t be an illusion if someone had simply soldered a fine wire on the back. Justice got it right I think :)

  42. Frank says:

    I think they just pulled the wool under the screw,s and let go and took the picture while the screw,s where in the air.

  43. taylor dawn says:

    the screws are actually touching the surface, but the shadows are drawn farther away

  44. Jay says:

    So I think you are all wrong. :-)

    Here are the reasons:

    Glass Theory: Though the glass could be invisible, it would press the lints of the wool down. This is obviously not the case: Theory busted!

    Painted Shadow Theory: The lightning is the key in this case. The light origins from a point left above and nearly in the XXX of your computer screen. This means you would have to see the original shadows of the srews, especially of the left one.

    Fishingline Theory: In such a makroshot it should be possible to see them. I´ve been doing magic tricks with fishing lines for a long time and even if they are very thin there is some 30 cm people need to be away to not notice them.

    So what stay are two possibilities left: Either somebody hit the floor so they jumped or as Barbarella said in the first comment they have some thin wire soldered to them that penetrates the wool right behind the screws. You wouldn´t see the shadow of the wire because of the quite global lightning.

  45. Jay says:

    hups…

    “XXX” stands for “plane”.

    I´m not a native speaker and had to look that one up. (But forgot to replace it.) :-)

  46. tunde says:

    i think the vans stuff is really cool

  47. A Snail says:

    Looking at the image properties, this picture has been edited using Adobe Photoshop CS3. If there was anything holding the screws up e.g. fishing line, it would be very easy to remove using CS3.

    How are these pictures checked? Do you know the way this picture was actually made.

    PS Personally, I think banging the table is probably the best way to recreate this with out cheating.

  48. A Snail says:

    Forgot to say, the shadows and screws are in focus, but even the backs of the shadows are starting to going out of focus. The screws and the shadows are the same distance from the camera lens.

  49. Jess says:

    brilliant illusion, and i like your paragraphs!

  50. madBOX20 says:

    maybe a magnet under the cloth?

  51. gennia11 says:

    i kno how dey did iy but my eyes refuse 2 c it! but i luv it ;P

  52. Mad H says:

    Yeah, you look at the lighting and hold a finger over what many claim to be “painted on” shadows and the screws look completely unnatural. If they were resting on cloth with lighting at that angle you would definitely be able to see their shadows. If you hold a finger over the shadows right now the two screws look like they were simply pasted in from a different picture, they look so out of place. It must be either the wire behind the screw trick or banging on the table, but I really doubt banging on the table because then they would not look as though they were laying down flat 99% of the time — you’d have to bang a lot to snap a picture where they aren’t just flipping over every which way.

  53. Jani says:

    like, magnets? :D

  54. EgRoJ says:

    It’s only the shadow, the screw are on the scarf

  55. JamesG says:

    The screws are lying on a sheet of glass which is between the screws and the cloth :P the lighting is above and to the right casting the shadow at a distance.

  56. Scott says:

    You’re all wrong unfortunately.

    What it is is that the tiny thin fibers (think fuzz like fibers) coming up off the fabric are holding up the light weight screws. You just cant see these fibers due to the lighting and they’re thin enough to basically disappear.

    • Kamil says:

      You’re wrong unfortunately.
      Event though all I can tell you is that, having the basic fibers holding them up would defeat the purpose and therefore not make it an illusion.

  57. Madelon says:

    I’m gonna sound stupid and say someone was just tossing the screws onto the cloth and quickly snapped a pic XD

  58. May says:

    I’m not sure that the illusion is spots on the carpet anymore. At first I definitely thought there where just spots the rug, but looking at the screws without the shadows makes them look out of place. After a moment of looking I think I know why. A pair of normal screws sitting on the carpet would have the top and bottom of the screw touching the ground, with the screw diagonal. These screws are perfectly parallel to the ground, which would mean they’d have to be balancing sideways on the head of the screw.

  59. bethatron says:

    It’s much more simple than that my fellow friends, the screws weight is light enough to be sustained by the fibers. As you can see in the photo it’s a close zoom, so you cannot distinguish their real size.

  60. Someone says:

    The screws are held by a glass/plastic holder at their ends.If closely looked,they are visible.

  61. oa65 says:

    I don’t know what it is, but those shadows do not look like they belong to those screws. And Kamil… if fibers are the culprit (which has my vote) it WOULD be an optical illusion because the assumption is that the screws are levitating when, in fact, there is a reasonable yet hidden reason for their action. That’s what an illusion is. You just failed.

  62. Zak says:

    Just a piece of glass below the srews. 8P

  63. Dude says:

    Do u realize that the screws an the material in front is sharp yet perfectly around the screws and behind they are blurred, probably cos the screws are actually lying on the cloth ( or whatever) further down and the shadows are just drawn there or something. This is what I think the cloth is unnaturally blurred around the screws and if u look closely u can see on the outside of the screws that they look really photoshopped (or whatever).

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