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By on May 25, 2012, with 42 Comments

“The Illusion of the year” contest (held by NeuralCorrelate.com, for the past 8 consecutive years), just announced its 2012 finalists. Here’s one that hasn’t won, nor qualified in the finals, still it was the only one that captured my attention. Created by Kaia Nao, “Floating Star” optical illusion gives the strongest floating effect I have seen up to date.

Perhaps not the most original illusion among the finalists, yet the effect it casts is truly astounding! Can you believe the image below is completely static?

Floating Star Optical Illusion

The peripheral drift effect is applied to a random pattern to give the illusion of motion in different areas of an underlying figure, in this case a star – Kaia Nao

Here’s what Kaia had to say about his creation: “The random quality of the pattern tends to minimize interference between the elements of the image that generate the illusion of motion and the interpretation of the overall figure. The technique could possibly be used to “animate” illustrations of phenomena such as fluid flow, flux lines, or weather patterns.”


42 Responses
  1. Spigles says:

    I see it static

  2. Not happening for me. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Does one have to stare at it for longer than a minute? Close one eye? What?

  3. Michael Anthony says:

    Quick convo between the Bf and Myself.

    Me:”Does this look like its floating to you?”
    Him:”Is that that optical trick page agin…”
    Me:”Just look at it!”
    Him:”Ok, I will…Im sorry babe, but Im not tripping on Acid”
    Me: Facepalm

  4. TacoDave says:

    Weird. I don’t see any floating or movement at all…

  5. owen says:

    Eh not the best

  6. Don In Alabama says:

    I don’t see a star at all…where is it?

  7. guemes bill says:

    Wow!! This is truly deserving of an award.


  8. mycaricature says:

    I don’t get a strong illusion out of this one. Sorry.

  9. austin says:

    Just wondering if its the same for everyone, but which way dose the star spin and which way does the background for you? For me the star “spins” clockwise while the background “moves” counterclockwise.

  10. Margaret says:

    Sorry, didn’t get it at all. Nothing floated for me. I thought it was supposed to be some sort of colour blindness test.

  11. christoffer says:

    yes strong epic effect, also noted that if I stare at the middle for some seconds it all become blue.

  12. Sakura says:

    Wow! It makes me dizzy but it does float! @.@

  13. KayBeQueenBee says:

    Uhm….it looks completely static to me. No matter how long or hard I stare, I don’t see any signs of movement. I see why this one wasn’t a contender. Thanks for sharing anyway though! :)

  14. Don says:

    I’m not surprised it didn’t qualify…there is no apparent motion. Yes, I’ve experienced the illusory motion in this type of illusion. Just doesn’t work, here. Perhaps, with effort…but a good illusion shouldn’t require effort.

  15. Scott says:

    Whatever this illusion might be, I don’t see it. So, to answer the question, I have no difficulty whatever believing this image is completely static.

  16. Brandon says:

    Maybe I am so old that my neurons and synapses are not functioning, but I perceive no suggested motion from the figure.

    This same lack of perceived motion has also occurred to me in other illusions to which some motion is suggested.

    Do other viewers also have the same lack?

  17. nicole says:

    wow made me feel drunk! it even affected me in my peripheral when i was reading the blurb. crazy strong effect

  18. xD says:

    woooooooaaaaahhhhhhh….thats coolio… XD

  19. RN says:

    Very cool… there’s no where in the image you can look without seeing that motion effect.

  20. glittergirl says:

    yaaaaaay, first comment!!!!
    thats really cool!

  21. Scott says:

    It rotates clockwise to me any other directions to anyone else?

  22. David says:

    Yes I can believe it’s static,,,I don’t see any movement at all, Is it me?

  23. Steve says:

    Interesting that the parts surrounding the star appear to move but the star itself doesn’t.

  24. Timasp says:

    I don’t see anything

  25. Sunny says:

    awesome… unbelievable creation…

  26. Shashi says:

    i can’t see it moving..

  27. Eddie says:

    Sorry it is static to me

  28. Care Bear says:

    It must be me but that star doesn’t look like it’s floating anywhere. Maybe it’s the blended bifocals.

  29. My Opinion says:

    cool but a little wierd :(

  30. plmethvin says:

    I thought it was moving for sure! I don’t know what the deal was for the other people. I mean, my page was really zoomed in so maybe that had something to do with it…

  31. TheOneWhoGotIt says:

    For the people who didn’t get it, you won’t see it if you keep staring at it at one point. To see the effect you need to move your point of focus from one past of the picture to another. Hope this helps.

  32. Tim says:

    Very trippy.

  33. Xavier Kreiss says:

    I’ve seen quite a few illusions based on the floating effect, some of which have been spectacular. But this one doesn’t work for me – it stays static. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one for whom it doesn’t work.

  34. sara says:

    I’m amazed some people can’t see the effect. It is a very dramatic movement effect when I look at it. I wonder why it is different for different people.

  35. Mikey says:

    If you need glasses then this illusion won’t work for you, also works better the closer you are to the screen

  36. Timothy says:

    The star is clockwise and counter for the edge. This is one of the hardest ones for me to stop all motion on. Even when I have the star stationary the outsides keep moving. Very difficult to make the whole thing static at one time.

  37. Timothy says:

    Distance though makes a huge difference. Far enough away and static. Close enough and almost impossible to see as static.

  38. Arny says:

    try to put it on desktop (extended); it still works (a little bit less, but it works); very nice

  39. Q says:

    This actually worked better for me as one of those magic eye 3d effects, and when I did that it actually made the illusion even stronger

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