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By on June 5, 2011, with 49 Comments

This 3D anamorphic pencil illustration of Newton’s Cradle was sent to us by reader Joshua Stacy. The shading effect on the artwork is so realistic, I almost expect to see the balls clacking together. In fact, if you’re reading this Joshua, I think it would be amazing if you created a few similar drawings that could be put together into an animation of a moving Newton’s Cradle. The result would be eerily unreal. And rest assured, if you did decide to do that, I would eagerly put it up on the site as well.

Newtons Cradle Illustration


49 Responses
  1. David Sri says:

    I’m not understand, but keep posting.. Great

  2. Hering says:

    I think the illusion is something different. *cough*positions*cough*

  3. fossda says:

    cooool + 1st post!

  4. valerie says:

    I didn’t quite got it. for me it’s a normal drawing, not any illusion. Am I wrong?

    • David Blair says:

      Okay, this is my attempt to explain this Illusion as I see it. Like most of you, it took a little while for me to understand this Optical Illusion.

      To start, the paper is a normal, flat piece of paper with a drawing of Newton’s Cradle on it. Even though the paper is flat, the drawing, which is also flat, does not appear to be. The drawing has a 3D effect that makes it look like it is standing up off of the paper. The only thing that I can see wrong with this drawing is the shadow of Newton’s Cradle. The shadow was done at a much lower standard than the rest of the drawing and it almost ruins the entire Illusion. To be blunt, the shadowing is so bad, it looks like my 10 year old daughter drew it while she was half asleep!!!

      So, to sum up my explanation, the paper is flat and the drawing appears to be in 3D standing up, off of the paper!

      Even though I know that my explanation was not the best, I hope it at least answered some of the questions that were posted.

  5. MK says:

    Nice drawing but whats the illusion? The balls appear to be hanging sideways. The shading isn’t very good either, ths shadow of the pole on the left side is going almost straight left. the shadow of the block at the right side is going anther direction. So not inpressed by this one.

  6. diane says:

    That is soo Cool Love the Drawing :-)

  7. Mathias says:

    What is the illusion here?

  8. ZL123 says:

    Wow, really real, except for the shadows that give it away.

    I saw this on my gadget, it said…

    ‘Newton’s Cradle Ill…’
    I thought it was ‘illusion’ and I was like >:O


  9. JoeP says:

    Good drawing. I don’t see any illusion though.

  10. Mike says:

    Wow, if you think this is realistic looking, you need to get your eyes examined. I’ve seen some bad examples of optical illusions before, but this is by far the worst.

  11. Huh? says:

    So where’s the illusion? I can’t see one.

  12. Eizabeth says:

    th is a very real looking drawing, at first i thought it was real! =)

  13. Meegan GaLANtE says:

    I thought it was just a painting at first!

  14. Craig Schaff says:

    This is by far the worst you have put on on here. There is NO illusion in this. The drawing is not that good. Grade school caliber.
    I understand can’t be perfect all the time. But not even close.

  15. me123987645 says:

    that is cool!

  16. Hannah says:

    that is sooooo awesome!!!

  17. lisa says:

    Wow. That looks really high 3D or its real because of the shadow!! But otherwise I really cant tell!!!!

  18. donaldtrump says:


  19. Care Bear says:

    If thi is just a pencil drawing, Joshua has a mind I would not want to mess with.

  20. Bryan says:

    I think this could have been presented better, because just about everyone is missing what this is.

    What you are looking at guys is a photograph of a pencil drawing, and what makes it particularly good and maybe what causes everyone to miss the details is that the perspective is actually very well done.

    ‘illusions’ of this type are a combination of the graphic, viewing position and location in its environment, change any individual component and it will look wrong.

    Its not until you really appreciate how the elements combine that you can understand the achievent

  21. Joshua Stacy says:

    Thankyou so much Jill for posting this!!! To all the critiques thanx for your input! There are some things I would like to make better about this drawing and the shadow an the balls are two of them. I will be redrawing this soon and I will also try and do the animation! But no promises lol :)

    • David Blair says:

      @ Joshua Stacy,

      Even though I thought the shadow in this Optical Illusion looked a bit rushed, and probably could have been up to par with the rest of the drawing, the drawing as a whole is VERY GOOD! I would LOVE to have the talent to draw Optical Illusions in this category. I would really like to see more of your Illusions. Do you have them posted somewhere? If so, where can I go to look at them? If not, you should really consider posting them online so people can check them out! Keep drawing Illusions! Thanks for taking the time to read my post!!!!!!!

    • Joshua Stacy says:

      I have some more stuff posted on deviantart.com my username is magic-of-josh. Thank you for taking an interest! :)

  22. The sketch is distorted to match the angle in which it is photographed, so it looks as a a normal (rather dull) drawing again. If it was painted realistically the effect would have been more obvious.

  23. Stanley says:

    could have done better, but not bad for first try

  24. kid says:

    what? good drawing, but I really don’t see an illusion WTF?

  25. ZackF says:

    “The shading effect on the artwork is so realistic, I almost expect to see the balls clacking together.”

    lol really? It looks like a 5th grader drew it. Did you get paid to post this picture and hype it?

  26. Elizabeth says:

    I think that if more of the ‘background’ had been included or a second picture so that folks could see that it was just a piece of paper then they might have seen the illusion…

  27. Lizzy says:

    THe drawing itself is amazing only he ruined it by drawing the swadow!

  28. Joshua Stacy says:

    I think most of you do not understand my intention with this drawing. The purpose was not to make it look ultra realistic with drawing techniques such as shading. It was to practice and exhibit anamorphic drawing such as the 3D chalk drawing section of this blog. I understand that it may not look realistic, but it DOES look as if it is sitting on the paper in three dimensional space, which was the intention all along.

    • ZackF says:

      I think the poster did a discredit by talking about how real the shading looks. I agree, the perspective aspect of it is great.

      Keep it up!

  29. Chris says:

    Not as realistic as some of the sidewalk drawings and other 3d’s you have shown but a good example. One can easily see it is a drawing but it does exhibit a subtle 3d effect.

  30. horsebeast says:

    WOW I thought it was a real craddly until I read the thing

  31. OvExX says:

    Illusion is perfect.. got it on the first time when i saw it on the igoogle gadget… it’s really not difficult to see the 3d effect.. the angle says everything..

  32. duncan says:

    Not an illusion, this is called a perspective drawing. I see only one thing in this image, a flat 2D drawing of a 3D object.

  33. ls says:

    i think that if you showed the drawing from a different perspective, (rotate the paper around) them people would get it.
    it is pretty clever.

  34. chris r. says:

    its the shadow of the strings. its quite different to the projection of the shadow of the base block.

  35. Georgia says:

    It’s not the best I’ve seen but clearly someone has put in a lot of effort into this picture so i shall not bag on it!!

  36. Amy! says:

    This Illusion Confuses me!

  37. Rob says:

    Amazing! The illusion is so good, you don’t even notice it. Incredibly well done 2D sketch that appears to be 3D.

  38. Isaac says:

    I wonder why some people DO NOT notice the illusion. its REALLY REALLY obvious. and i hate those who hate this illusion. i think i saw someone said this is the WORST ILLUSION. this took hard work. Why do you dislike it? Argh, be contented.

  39. crikey mikey says:

    It would be an illusion if the shadow continued onto the table. As it is it is just a 3D looking drawing on a bit of paper similar to the advertising you get on sports fields. OK but not exactly WOW!

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