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By on June 3, 2006, with 110 Comments

Before you start reading this, count the circles in the image below. How many are there (if there are any)? Also known as Coffer Illusion, this optical illusion was created by Anthony Norcia and qualified for top 10 category in “Best Visual Illusion Of The Year Contest”. Anthony describes this visual phenomennon like this:

First time viewers of this display invariably do not see the 16 circles segmented from the background. Rather, they see a series of rectangles that they frequently describe as “door panels”. The illusion pits segmentation cues against what appears to be a very strong prior to interpret the image as a series of 3-D structures “coffers” with closed boundaries. (A coffer is a decorative sunken panel.) It appears that the prior involves both closure and shape-from shading assumptions.

How Many Circles Do You See?

Comments

110 Responses
  1. ghe says:

    i can see 16 circles

  2. Carl Johnson says:

    Wow! Cool! I didn’t notice the circles at first glance.

  3. LESSA says:

    I FOUND 25 CIRCLES!

  4. milliemoon says:

    ummmmm.lessa, there are only supposed to be 16…….i think…………huh…

  5. Joe says:

    I can’t see any.

  6. Hai says:

    obviuosly 16

  7. roshi & andre says:

    lessa we also found 25 cool!!!!!!!!!

  8. Sakura says:

    Ah..I also found 25…

  9. Al B says:

    the extra 9 you guys are talking about aren’t circles, but fragments of a circle.

  10. coolio the best says:

    Im seriosly not trying to brag, but I saw them at first sight, swear on the bible

    <33

  11. rudolph says:

    whoever did not see it here is a tip!

    look in the center of the white cross dummy dumbo people!

  12. Rayne says:

    Thanks rudolph, I couldn’t see it at first. I can now though, even though the cross tip made it harder to spot.

  13. wolfskin says:

    25 circles? someone has been drinking…

  14. Marianna says:

    there counting the circles that are between the circles that you see the space in between

  15. deborah says:

    if you look at it like it is a 3-D picture you can see 20 circles. it made it easier to spot them for me.

  16. person says:

    atfirst i only saw 16 circles, but i think i found 31

  17. ok... says:

    yeah wolfskin is right. there are 16. duah. you guys need to learn hhow to multiply.

  18. Excite the exciting excite says:

    16

  19. Amanda says:

    i only see straight lines, we did this type of stuff for art class

  20. BUGJAMED says:

    28 :)

  21. MMM says:

    yeap, 25 circles

  22. random says:

    i found 30 am i wierd

  23. fd says:

    there are only 16 and i saw them at first sight too soooooooooo?

  24. person1 says:

    yup 25 there inbetween four of them but there pretty hard to see

    O-O
    i * i
    O-O star is where the other 9 are

  25. lucky says:

    i found 16 circles – soooooooooo coool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. matticus says:

    it depends on how you look at it

  27. 3Destruction says:

    i6 circles… actually, in reality, there are 0 circles. It’s all an illusion!

  28. shev says:

    At first i could only see the four circles on the right but now i see all of them

  29. angelus says:

    wow thats cool it took me a minute to see them but then they popped right out and they keep going in and out now but now i know how to find them

  30. some random chick=) says:

    THERE AREN’T ANY CIRCLES. YOUR BRAIN IS JUST TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF WHAT IT SEES.

  31. caleb says:

    16 circles any more your going to go crazy for finding more lol guys.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I see 25

  33. Anonymous says:

    There are definately 25!

  34. your all stupid says:

    actually thre arent any circles at all because if yo look closly there not circles because circles no have strait edges and these “circles”do! so ya your all wrong!

  35. Anonymous says:

    i found 16, i didnt see them at first, then i moved back a little and they jumped out at me..

  36. Anonymous says:

    found 16 all who found 25 are the most retarded people on this planet!

  37. LOOK_DEEPER_INTO_THE_PUZZLE says:

    There are twenty-five once you’ve found sixteen look in the middle of two circles to see the others good luck: )

  38. Anonymous says:

    I found 25. Did I do something wrong???

  39. slinky says:

    This illusion worked in reverse on me.
    At first i only saw the circles and thought “jeez this is lame” until i focused on a different part and began seeing the rectangles.

  40. Anonymous says:

    wow, yes there r only 16 circles and couldnt find out wat they ment by 25 but after i read Al B’s comment i looked again and i finally found them and if you cross your eyes there r no circles

  41. Anonymous says:

    i see 25!!!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I saw the circles before I saw the squares. Maybe it should be count the squares instead…

  43. Edgey says:

    There tis sixteen circles.
    By da way they were hard to spot

  44. Anonymous says:

    there r 16 circles for the idiots that didn’t find 16. =^^=

  45. Anonymous says:

    I’ve found 32! (But I did cross my eyes)

  46. Anonymous says:

    there are 16 with another 9 in between 4 circles.

  47. Anonymous says:

    25…thats all there is.

  48. Anonymous says:

    cool…i see 16!!!

  49. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t see that at first but now I do, it is sooooo cool. I don’t see how anybody could see 25

  50. Anonymous says:

    16

  51. Mikayla says:

    if u say 25 i think that u r rite but those who say 16 thins is how we got 25… u hav just counted the small circles but if u imagine this as the little circles u will c wat i meen

    o o o o
    o o o o
    o o o o
    o o o o

    r they the circles that u c if so look more carefully… can u put the circles in2 squares like this

    o o o o
    o o o o

    o o o o
    o o o o

    if so then look in the middle of a square u will c a bigger circle

    am i rite?

  52. Very Odd Circles says:

    I See 25

  53. Anonymous says:

    i ddint get it at first bubt you look at the x and thres lke 15 or 16 but im pretty sure 15

  54. Sandy Banks says:

    Yes there are 25 that I can see. There are straight lines in a circle, you can use a protractor, measure each 10*(degrees) around the circumference and draw 180* diameters conecting all the 10* around the circle. That is how you can see circles in the corners of the coffers If ther are two coffers next to each other either vertically or horizontally.

  55. Ben says:

    this illusion is posted wrong
    your supposed to stare at the white cross and then 16 circles start to appear and eventually that all you can see

    people seeing more either cant count or are seeing circle fragments and imagining more because thats what they wantwbxvkd

  56. Anonymous says:

    i see 16 baby

  57. hammered. says:

    ..i found 32.

  58. Anonymous says:

    16!!!!!!!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Is the illusion that the circles are there or that they are not there?

  60. Kathleen says:

    THere’s sixteen!oh yeah!

  61. Anonymous says:

    Staring at the X helps. Wow…that’s cool!!!

  62. wotpsycho says:

    The people that see 25 are seeing the parts between the “real” circles. What you are supposed to see is that the vertical lines all make up the background and the horizontal lines are all in the circles. So if you see horizontal lines, they are part of the 16 circles, and the vertical lines are all part of the background. Basically, the people who see 26 are looking at the spaces between 4 of the “real” 16 circles and thinking they kinda look like circles, too.

  63. Anonymous says:

    There are really twenty-five circles

  64. Anonymous says:

    AT FIRST I THOUGHT THERE WERE ONLY 16 BUT THEN I LOOKED REALLY CLOSLY AND SAW 25 AND THEY ARE NOT FRAGMENTS OF A CIRCLE

  65. Grant says:

    Wow, it all depends if your eyes try to line them up straight or sideways. fantastic.

  66. Hoi says:

    Huh wtf how can you see 25 circles??? there are only 16…

  67. Anonymous says:

    i see 25!

  68. Anonymous says:

    I see dead people

  69. godzilla1715 says:

    i only see 16. i can’t find 20 or 25.

  70. Anonymous says:

    lessa is right we found 25 circles

  71. Anonymous says:

    audit i can’t find any how do u do this

  72. Anonymous says:

    Topperrrr! >> 31

    Or:

    Hmm, there are no circles. There are only approximations (..duh..) of circles; 16 of them are 'clearly' visible between the groups of vertical lines; 9 more are suggested (and incomplete at the bottom and top)in the complementary space between the circles mentioned first; and the final 6 are in the same vertical space but then cut off by the boundaries of the picture.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Wow… that was like magic! After like 10 seconds they magical appeared =)

  74. nicholas says:

    9+16

  75. Angel says:

    i was gonna say 16 but it’s 25 :)

  76. lal says:

    Even though you can pretend like there’s 25, there’s really only 16 circles in the picture.

    Yeah I know u newbs will say it’s 9 + 16, but the 9 circles aren’t really full circles, since u can’t see the edge of the 9 circles on the top and the bottom. So the correct answer is 16 circles (and 9*2 = 18 half circles).

  77. gloria says:

    i see 32

  78. Griff says:

    I see the moon!

  79. :) says:

    yup .. got 16 circles .. !!! coooool … !!

  80. Watche Buyer says:

    i can see 16!!! very nice !! kind of head aching if you try too hard like i did hahaha

  81. KingJon says:

    Yes, only 16 circles, this is fact. Those who say 25 doesn’t know what a circle is. You can pretend there are 25, but the fact remains, only 16.

  82. angelique says:

    So as soon as I looked at before I even read how many there were , all i could see were 16 cirlces and nothing else.

  83. Anon_reloaded says:

    I was looking at it when I stopped I could still see the circles O.o

  84. blah says:

    I see twenty eight being a logical person if you look im between the columns not just the rows

  85. Alma says:

    I see it they ate in between the recyangles going up and down

  86. Mathew says:

    I see 28…

  87. Crystal says:

    all 16 on the first try!

  88. Unknown says:

    16!!!!

  89. Irufan says:

    I saw 16 immediately but I don’t see 25 or 32..

  90. Louise says:

    I can see 25. 16 main ones, 4 rows of 4; then 9 less obvious ones in between them, 3 rows of 3.

  91. DestinyCole says:

    Yes, there’s only 16. Using the graphic design principle of closure you could see an additional 9 circle. But YES, there’s only 16 that appear clearly without having to really look for the others. I saw all 16 right off. Not the best illusion, but still good. :)

  92. Andrew says:

    easy to see

  93. Eric says:

    Nobody see’s 40??? WOW

  94. aroiun says:

    16 cirlces

  95. Kyle says:

    I copy and pasted this into ms paint, zoomed in and looked the pixels, there are exactly 16 circles in this picture.tumblr_mlv89tkfj11rj8cpxo1_400.jpg

  96. sagar says:

    There r 16 circles between two windows

  97. Christopher says:

    I’ll show you a freaken circle! Honestly took me a hour. 16 ..I only saw them once I stopped looking for them, go figure.

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