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By on September 27, 2011, with 112 Comments

Seeing our latest illusion, I was immediately reminded of Hal 9000 and his memorable voice addressing Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I won’t talk about how great this movie really was, and how it marked the whole era, I’d rather see what you think of the illusion attached below. By now you must have noticed it has something to do with our recent Psycho post. After my initial disappointment (having read your feedback), I learned that my previous pick just didn’t do justice to the whole cinemagraphs story. I learned how I failed in choosing the right representative to start this whole new category with. I just hope today’s sample will change all that. If you have time, feel free to read my thoughts on this from couple of days earlier.

Just What Do You Think Youre Doing, Dave?


112 Responses
  1. Kit kat says:

    cool, first post! THis is kinda creepy! I was like I dont get it, then it BLINKS!

  2. Ron says:

    I don’t know what you’re doing Dave

  3. Jay says:

    I like both the Psycho and 2001 “illusions”, but don’t see why they are on this site. An animated gif that is mostly still, but occasionally moves, may be surprising, but it isn’t an illusion.

    • Ribber says:

      Indeed Jay. between the “holiday photos of my boyfriend” and the sudden influx of these animations, MOIllusions has definitely lost it’s edge over the past few months.

    • Eric says:

      very much so – i dont want to open my browser and see some creepy guy – gif still, occasionally moving – its like those stupid “haunted” pictures a few years back – you stare – you stare – blamo something appears… supposed to be scary – IN NO WAY AN ILLUSION; if you want to post this in some section for people who like it to go find, fine – but not the main page – 2 days running

  4. Beljumking says:

    Besides the blink, I thought Dave was looking in a different direction but I haven’t been able to reproduce. Anyone else?

  5. nathasja says:

    i agree that this is not a illusion, but if you think it is please explain what the illusion is.

  6. Susan says:

    Please just use my first name

  7. Mari says:

    The eyeballs are somehow turned around. Though the lashes seem to be rigt.

  8. judy says:

    In this and the gallery of cinemagraphs from yesterday, I think the ones with moving or blinking eyes are most disturbing. It reminds me of the old movie joke with someone spying through holes cut in the eyes of a portrait.

  9. ERICA says:

    Is it the blinking ….. Don’t get it

  10. sue doe nymm says:

    I looked around on the web and found a lot of brilliant cinemagraphs. I also found a helpful definition “A Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly.” the thing to notice is that in the whole scene only one part is moving, his eyes. everything else stays perfectly still to capture the drama and wonder of the scene in a way the movie or a still photograph could not.

  11. txedomoon says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but an animated gif file as an illusion?

    I would rather watch the new Prius commercials where numerous people make up the body of an individual. Nice illusion for the masses!

  12. Froscas says:

    Most of the face is another person?

  13. breandan says:

    He ages?

  14. bea says:

    i don’t get it.

  15. Fig says:

    Both are good. It seems that they are more of a short clip rather than just a picture. What is the reflection in his right (our left) eye? Where I agree this doesn’t seem like an illusion, it is always entertaining. Keep up the good work. Thanks

  16. I almost jumped out of my seat, scary how it comes to life…

  17. debolina mukherjee says:

    i fail to discover the ILLUSION that the site is supposed to be about. A man in a helmet blinks. So?

  18. John Schnall says:

    Now THAT’S a nice cinematograph! And I for one am glad you’re putting these on the site; while they may not technically be ‘illusions’ they do touch on the same part of the brain that’s startled to see something in an unexpected way.
    Keep ‘em up, Vurdlak!

    • Tom says:

      I agree here, while not actually an illusion it still has an element of the unexpected within the mundane. Good work mate! :)

  19. DudeMan says:

    Freaky, but how is it an illusion and what is it doing on this site?

  20. annaj:) says:

    i think its cool….but thats just my opinion.:)

  21. annaj:) says:

    well its also like way creepy, 1 of my frends like way skremed!!!! it was funny!!!:)

  22. Rob Figley says:

    Are we running out of actual optical illusions?

  23. John says:

    I don’t see any illusion? What is it?

  24. NeeL says:

    I don’t understand what all these people are complaining about. I come here to get my brain fooled, every single day, over and over.

    These cinemagraphs are really doing the trick and I really like them!

  25. Rob says:

    Your site is great, and I check it every day. Some illusions are obviously better than others.

    This new “category” seems like an interesting video technique, but how is it an optical illusion?

    It reminds me of “video art” you might see in a museum – it’ll be a whole room for one installation, you sit there for ten minutes and nothing happens.

    In this case, even if something happens, it’s still not an optical illusion.

  26. Stan says:

    The Norman Bates one was much more effective and creepy. I don’t know why you think it was the wrong choice?!

  27. Lucille says:

    This is all new to me. I enjoyed the slow blinking and then the fast.

  28. Lucille says:

    What does “awaiting moderation” mean?

  29. Michael says:

    Is it the Glare in the Iris of the eyes different and it actually two different face split in half?

  30. ginger says:

    I love the cinemagraphs! You can open one with Windows Live Photo Gallery and near the bottom it shows how many pages there are; in one case there were 49. Try flicking thru those and you’ll be amazed at what it takes to form this great illusion!

  31. Josh says:

    Great! I loved learning what a cinematograph is. I also loved that you offered more explanation than for the Psycho one. Pretty cool that you didn’t notice the skeletal effect that made it a double illusion.

    For those that say this is not an optical illusion, I disagree. I think at first your brain wants this to be a set of full frames, like a movie. That’s the illusion, since only a portion of the image changes.

    But even if it weren’t an illusion, I’d be happy with the site. Thanks!

  32. Conrad says:

    I know a lot of work goes into these but I have to agree with the masses you would think this stuff would be at a cinematograph site and not a illusion site

  33. Manny says:

    It’s in the reflection people.

  34. Pierce Krouse says:

    OK, the argument for cinematographs being illusions may be a little weak, but here goes…

    An animated GIF *usually* has low resolution, slight blurring, so-so color, a little continuous camera motion, and an immediate loopy action. Notice I said usually there. Not always true, we all know that. You know ‘em when you see ‘em.

    Cinematographs are better than that. Your first impression is that you are looking at a still image. Nice and crisp with accurate colors.

    Then the thing moves, you might be startled, but at that point things aren’t what they seemed at first.

    For what it’s worth.

  35. Slammer says:

    I think these are intriguing, I just don’t see them as illusions. I look at them for about 15 seconds and then it’s done, I’m not really interested in looking at it again. They’re neat, just not that great (no matter how hard they are to make) and I don’t think they belong on an illusion site :) but I do love your site.

  36. Dave says:

    There is a saying “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” and I think that is true with so many things.

    I have noticed a few of those who comment are downright rude. I heard a comedian respond to a heckler once by saying “Hey! If you don’t like it, get your own show”. Then there is the phenomena that came about as a side effect of the web and that is Trolls. There are folks who get a kick out of stirring up trouble and being rude.

    Personally I like the wide variance of your posts. Perhaps I like some more than others but that’s personal taste. Mostly I’m wowed and amazed and every day I find enjoyment in an otherwise predictable web environment.

    I dig the cinema graphs and I hope you’ll ignore those whose comments are antisocial.

    BTW, 2001 Space Odyssey was a fabulous movie.

  37. jeremy says:

    The illusion is that it runs longer than it appears. Notice the movement of the eyes between blinks. Rather than cycling after each one…there is actually three blinks in the cycle. Subtle…but, clever nevertheless. Well done.

  38. Carrie says:

    He blinks and….. is there something I’m missing??? What’s the illusion???

  39. Shtnly says:

    This is now my new desktop wallpaper.

  40. chris says:

    not as good. you see his eyeballs move around and stuff

  41. Slytherin_Chick_101 says:

    What’s the illusion? I mean, yeah, the blinking surprised me at first, but I don’t think it can be claimed as an “illusion”. Unless we are all just getting it wrong and can’t see the illusion, but so far, all the comments either ask what the illuson is or a guess at what it is. I think you’ve lost your edge a bit. I added your widget a year or two ago, and loved it, but I’ve noticed the “illusions” were more of cool images recently. IS there more of an illuson than we see?

    Wow that was long for an 11 year old,

  42. Indy says:

    I just don’t see why it’s so special!

  43. Fernando says:

    It looks like he is in front of some people…

  44. fossda says:

    …i dont get it. all he does is blinks. that’s it.

  45. person says:

    Neat. I like the way his eyeballs wiggle just a little bit then blinks, but the rest of his face is just like stone. Yep, kinda creepy.

  46. troy says:

    I have to agree with the others here. the dictionary defines an optical illusion thusly:

    a perception, as of visual stimuli (optical illusion), that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality.

    while these cinemagraphs are interesting, they do not cause the viewer to see or perceive anything other than what is being presented: and animated picture that actually moves. If the picture was not animated, but caused one to perceive motion where there was none, then it would be an optical illusion.

  47. Richard says:

    Wow people can not read these days….
    I’m grateful that you put these cinematographs on this site.
    And I do see them as an illusion. It’s amazing to see how this person appears to be normally blinking at first sight, but when you look a bit closer you notice something is wrong and after you’ve looked and understood what it’s about you can just see that a person can never blink like this in real life no matter how hard they’ll try,
    Amazing stuff and truly illusions! Keep them coming.

    P.S. to all the ignorant out there, please read the psycho post before you comment on this without knowing what you’re talking about…

  48. Ignoramus Maximus says:

    I am no expert about illusions, I just happen to work with psychophysics among other things, but it is my humble opinion that this can be considered an optical illusion. How? I believe that while your first impression maybe that it is a still image, the moment the eyes blink, the cognitive perception of several viewers (not everyone) will start to perceive the image as having some virtual depth (3D). The illusion is the virtual depth created by your cognitive skills and for some even the sense that it is the other side of the “looking glass”

  49. Mitchell Silverman says:

    Big deal Clutch Cargo was doing this with lips 60 years ago.
    (And Space Angel on Sandy Becker)

  50. Scott says:

    This one is really creepy and awsome!!!!

  51. owen says:

    not only is he blinking his left eye moves ever so slightly. I enjoy all your presentations. I look at them every day, for the most part never disappointed though there are some illusions I like better then others. Keep it up love the variety.

  52. brendnan says:

    Maybe I’m losing my mind but if you watch around the eyes closly it looks like he’s aging

  53. mycaricature says:

    that scared the crud out of me

  54. Bub says:

    I think that this type of illusion is very weak UNLESS there are other people in the illusion who are “frozen” while the main subject moves.

  55. Ben says:

    I Think you should forget these illusions because they’re really not all that impressive. When I look in my visual illusions box and see a face I’d like that face to not actually be a photo of a face and for that to be the illusion. Yes I get it he’s not moving its just the illusion of movement now move on and show us more of the good stuff.

  56. KJ says:

    Not a fan of these. Just don’t think these are really illusions or anything close. But that’s just me….

  57. erucsbo says:

    The “illusion” that so many people don’t seem to get is that the entire picture appears to come alive when only a small portion of it changes. There are more to illusions than hidden images and the like. An illusion is when what you perceive is not real. In fact most of what we see could be classified as an illusion since out our brain puts in extra details. http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/04/06/3183784.htm

  58. Nishi says:

    I dont get how this is an illusion. It just looks like a picture of a guy in a haz mat suit staring at the camera.

  59. Roland says:

    Perhaps check this site for some other examples of cinematographs.


  60. Sushanta says:

    Everybody is seeing that the man is blinking occasionally. But how many of you saw the eye ball is also moving? Its amazing.

  61. Josh says:

    Based on this and the gallery you posted, my question would be: when is an image a cinematograph? I see some of those which to me have way too much movement to fit this category. Or would an image with only one pixel standing still already count as such?

  62. alberto says:

    The point is that an static picture is used inside a movie just by moving the eyes. That was called mesmerizing some days ago in the psycho post. An static picture cannot be distinguished of a movie just by changing an small part, like in the manga animation.

    The point of this post is that mesmerizing, a novel technique, was used in a movie as old as 2001, an space odissey. Am I right?

    The blogger say that this is another argument to say that 2001 is a really influential movie.

  63. Mari says:

    I already said that the eyes are upside down, but the upper lashes are in the right place.

  64. Martin says:

    Look carefuly at his right eye. It’s constantly moving not just when he is blinking.

  65. Sande says:

    -I think he looks the “Black Monolith” in the room whith “white bright foor”, near to the end of the movie.

  66. illusion lover says:

    that was weired and scary at the same time. i have mot the slitest idea what was going on… apart from his eyes moving. but there was something stange ONLY his eyes were moving nothing ealse. that was really strange, i dont want to see ever again!!

  67. Hilary says:

    These are not illusions for me.

    His eyes move and then he blinks…so what? This isn’t an illusion.

    Give me chalk drawing illusions or body illusions or 3d illusions…something that makes you think to find the solution.

  68. Bob the wezel says:

    i dont get it… this is an illuson site not lets watch things blink

  69. Nisheeth says:

    For those unable to see any thing special in it, yes it is not technically an illusion!!
    Other images are just DOTS!!!
    Download the image and see it for yourself!

  70. Phyllis says:

    I don’t get it either what is the big deal about blinking?

  71. Mr Munnings says:

    Nope, don’t get it…or the Psycho one.
    Anyone want to explain it?

  72. Hypersapien says:

    Oh for the love of…

    DUDE! Google “cinemagraphs”. First and second links, right here.



    • Josh says:

      So, to repeat my question, according to the linked definition, a movie in which one pixel is always the same is also a cinematograph?

  73. Lani says:

    At least this one didn’t freak me out as much as the psycho one did. I had nightmares about that one. I think I stared at it too long!

  74. wii dvd says:

    for those negative comments… it’s a cinemagraph illusion, blending a still image with video. Try and do one yourself and post here for us all to see, thanks

    • Josh says:

      That it’s hard to make doesn’t mean it’s worth looking at (I don’t say that by the way. I like looking at those things, I just wonder why the should be considered special). According to your reasoning, anybody who doesn’t like Russian literature should try to write a book in that style first.

  75. john doe says:


  76. James Howde says:

    Another negative comment here. It might be difficult to do but it still isn’t an illusion as it looks like what it is – a video where most of the image is static.

    On a positive note if you are in need of a filler illusion you can just run a clip of any cheap kiddies cartoon of the last 20 years because they are all apparently Multiple Simultaneous Cinematograph illusion showcases.

  77. fossda says:

    i get it now it is cool!

  78. Mandy says:

    I love this illusion!

  79. Tom says:

    I really dont get Cinemagraphs, I would just call it a “Video” or a “Movie” Really cant see the illusion in Cinemagraphs.

    Although if you realy want to get philosophical, a movie is all one big illusion anyway

    Keep up the good work I look forward to new illusions on my desktop everyday

  80. eee efff geee says:

    I don’t get it

  81. auqiz says:

    Why not credit the author? http://iwdrm.tumblr.com

  82. Anita says:

    creeped me out the first time i saw it, but i actually think the psycho one is creepier – it really demonstrates his mental condition… fantastic images even if they aren’t what we think of when we think optical illusion…

  83. Jamie says:

    HELP!!!! I don’t see anything besides his eyes moving and him blinking! I love all the illusions though, it just drives me crazy when I can’t see it.

  84. bill says:

    ow, c;mon u smart furball, can’y ye see its only his pupil that was moving and not his eyebrow , ye who can’t apreciate something llike thiz, better look it without blinking yer eyez..

    • LitlMomma says:

      Seriously… I can move my EYE’S (I’ll assume that’s what you meant since the pupil is the black part in the middle of the eye… NOT the whole eye) without moving my eyebrow’s… I think you’re mistaken.

  85. E says:

    The reason this is so cool is because it is suppose to be timed to your blinking pattern! For those of us who are self-aware it creeps you simply because you blink at the same interval. Loved it!

  86. GODdamn says:

    eyes are moving!

  87. Lydia says:

    So…the point of the illusion is it’s a still picture but the eyes move? I’m sorry, but…how is that an illusion. It seems like lazy filmmaking to me.I don’t get it.

  88. Iris da doodle says:

    DUDE for a second I was like WTF?!?! when he blinked XD I thought it was a picture not an animation

  89. Nice says:

    no camera in front of the man? nice

  90. Mavreen says:

    looks like an astronaut? but the reality he is not wearing any astronaut helmet but just staring at the mirror

  91. cool says:

    didnt u realize it blinks scroll down or look at the opposite side of the page it blinks and moves its eyes

  92. You Can't Know Me says:

    Don’t really like this cinemagraph. All the man does is blink, blink, blink.
    I found this cinemagraph on google I much prefer, though when I typed the URL, a ‘dirty’ picture came up. Click twice on the right arrow to see the one I want to show you. It’s worth a look.
    So sorry for any of you who don’t like what you initially see at first.

  93. wen says:

    This was so scary. He blinked and I was like huh? But then he blinked again I screamed my life out. Hehehe its an animatation

  94. smarty says:

    look good all you dum-dum’s, his face is painted with white, to make it look like reflective glass. duh!

  95. Herb says:

    His eyes aren’t the only thing moving. Look closer.

  96. John R. says:

    uhhh; this does not qualify as an illusion, because I saved it as a gif file, and then examined it as a background / enlargement. Amazing that DAVE Blinks on THIS page, but not when duplicated…..because then it’s a true image without some-type of insert that was placed within the image (before it was Posted)!

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