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By on May 22, 2011, with 81 Comments

As we concluded last Monday, occasionally “repeating” somewhat similar illusions shouldn’t be a problem (at least this is what the majority has decided). In practice, the only similarity between today’s animated gif and previous submissions of this type lyes in the way they work. I remember like it was yesterday when John Shadowski first introduced us to this effect. The post was titled “Black and White seen in Color“, and was published almost 5 years ago. For those of you who forgot how these work, wait for the central red dot to appear and then concentrate on it. After some time black and white photo shall appear, which you will then be able to see in full color!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mia-Bostic/721296421 Mia Bostic


    • Bob the wezel

      Not awesome it is timed…. i had me and my sister try it out and she stared at it for awhile and told me when it was black and white and then i turn around and it is not in color but in black and white and it whould change at the same time for us LAME LAME LAME LAME LAME

    • TrueGem

      BobTheWezel you obviously didn’t get it.

    • bahskerp

      I am confused it doesn’t work its already in color

    • Ben

      this is the lamest “illusion” in the world its timed so DONT BELIEVE IT

    • Seth Jordan

      Its because you have to Stare at the red dot dumb but

    • Courtenay

      its not timed everyone .

  • ZL123

    Good good.

  • CissyDoraTrix

    wow :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Merrill/100002108047836 Adam Merrill

    Very impressive! It worked much better than I had expected. Only complaint is the effect wore off after about 5 seconds.

    • Padma

      Bhat do you expect? It to last forever. BOZO!!!!!

  • This guy

    This was the best working one for me!

  • Crox Fox

    That’s pretty cool :)

  • cutsie

    omg that was amazing! i <3 opt illus that have to do with color!

  • Sammy

    wow it actually works

  • bluepool


  • https://www.youtube.com/user/Jazza159 Jazza

    Love these :)

  • Kelly

    Cool…no complaints if you have a few more like those. I only recently found this sight, so it’s all new to me :)

  • Selma Cahta

    It made me go wow… :D

    • jazz

      your not the only one =]

    • nonya


  • Logan

    It seems cool, but it’s not. It is justa really slow gif that changes automatically every five seconds or so. Nothing is really happening

    • Word Nerd

      Actually it is only two images. The first is a “negative” of only the colors of the beach scene….a sort of blurry image. the second is a black and white version of a sharp version of the beach scene. When you stare at the first one, the image is temporarily burned into your retina. Your brain reverses the color, so that when the black and white image appears it is colorized by your brain.

      A similar thing happens when someone take s a flash photo of you. That dark flaoting spot that stays in your vision for a while is the reverse color of the yellowish-white flash.

  • Logan

    meant 20 seconds…

    • Abob

      People like u REALLY irratate me. Try this. do as it says, but stare at dot as long as u can wen its black and white. count the seconds its in colour.
      Now, stare at dot but wen it goes to black and white, look somewhere else on the illusion. The colour disappears faster. How could it automatically know wen u move ur eyes???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michii-Mikki/100000073358229 Michii Mikki

    that was beautiful!!! loved it!!!

  • me123987645


  • pi

    This is soooo amazing! It’s funny cause every time the color fades out, I’m, like, nooooo!. lol.

  • Aianna

    that is so cool, but am i the only one that thought it seemed like the red dot was actually getting smaller?

  • nicmir

    it turns b&w anyway, has nothing to do with the concentration on the red dot…

  • Nagaji

    what’s interesting is that when you shift your eyes around the B&W photo, it loses its color — until you stare at the center again, and the color after-image “lines up.” (Does that make any sense??)

    • Abob

      Yeh, it happens to me too!

  • Rod Hnatiuk

    I have to ask… does this sort of illusion actually trick color blind eyes into seeing proper colors? I would think not, but the title seems to imply that it does.

    • Alasdair

      @Rod Hnatiuk
      It dosent, the color image burns temp into your retina or somthing, and then when the black a white image shows, its in color.

    • Abob

      My version of explanation.
      1. After staring, colours burn into eyes retina
      2. b&w image comes, but the colours have burnt our retinas and changed to their oppisites, such as black to white and purple to yellow, creating the full and correct colour affect
      3. be amazed then blink and watch sadly as it goes back to b&w

  • Anne

    It does not ever change to full color for me.It goes to black and white and then to partial color again.It is still really really amazing though.Really cool.

  • inara aziz


  • psb

    I’d have never believed it! That is mind boggling!

  • Nisheeth

    Tell me, what did you think it was at first glance?

  • Mary

    At first glance I thought it was the earth in space.

  • Merla

    that. is. cool.

  • Jesse


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Danny-Jenkins/541499378 Danny Jenkins

    that was great until the color started to fade

  • http://www.thee-music.com Moses

    thats not an illusion… there is just made an blue stain on the image…

  • Magz

    Didnt show colour for me it was black and white with the sand background a very washed out sand colour and the sky a washed outgrey as soon as you look around the background looses what little colour it had.

  • Tiffany

    Sad, when I blinked it went back to Black n White. Cool effect though. I always liked these but never saw an animated one before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Haviland/100000657164709 Richard Haviland

    Great optical illusion. Thanks keepup the good work……….:)

  • RickyM

    Wonderful example of ‘Habituation’.

  • Abe

    Sort of a techno-color effect.

  • drew

    coolest one on here I’ve seen

  • kitty

    lol the reason you see the black and white in “full color” is because you were focused on the other picture which had the corresponding complementary colors to the ones you would see on a normal beach. complemetary colors are green to red, yellow to purple, blue to orange, and mixes in between. For example, if you focus on a blue peice of paper for a while and take it away u will see an orange square in its place.

  • Bob the wezel

    It Is timed. i had two people try it at diffrent times and when the second person turned a round to look it was already Blackand white

    • Hey

      You don’t look away at any point. Just stare at the red dot on the coloured picture the whole time it’s up and keep staring in the same spot when the b&w pops up. I hope that helps.

  • some random guy you’l never meet

    i<3 this illusion
    and these type of illusions

  • Jennifer Bouchard

    that was neat, didn’t stay in color long enough,my eyes anyway lol

  • http://haha.com JLarrian

    Ow… Made my eyes hurt…

  • zack forbing

    totally awesome!!!!

  • Terry Reed


  • http://www.TeachingWithFun.com Teaching With Fun

    I have seen a bunch of optical illusions in books, but I think this is amazing. I’d love to teach students how to make this. It does quite literally reference the idea that those who are blind, now shall see. So cool. Thanks for the post!

  • josephine

    That’s awesome!

  • Bob


  • audrius

    it is not bw photo – you can check, there are many picels which are for example #99999B

    • AC

      Umm… 99999B is 33.2% red, 33.2% green, and 33.6% blue. Given lossy compression (and the fact that we’re less perceptive to blue values) I’d say that that’s pretty close to gray.

  • TrueGem


  • bahskerp

    I allready see it in color. Is it supposed to go to black and white?

  • br

    color blind see only dark colors not black and white

  • anwar

    where can i get these type of pics..??

  • annaj:)

    wow thas wierd!!!!!

  • john1546

    We studied this in physics.. it’s the saturation of certain type of cone receptors in our eyes that makes us balance it with the complementary ones once we look at something different, which creates this interesting effect =]

  • unknown

    wow thats amazing!!!

  • russ1267

    this is a fake, it is a gif file. i.e an animation, if you take a screenshot of the first image, no matter how long you stare at it it wont change. what you’re seeing is just two images flicking between one and the other.

    • screeching weasel

      Did you read the description?
      Of course, it’s a GIF. The illusion is that even though the black and white picture doesn’t have color, when you stare at the colored picture long enough, the black and white picture seems to be in full color.


  • russ1267

    well in my opinion anyway

  • Ian

    Try covering one eye while you are looking at he saturated picture and uncover it when the non colour one comes on. One eye will see colour and the other one will see black and white.

    • Missy

      Owch. That hurt but thanks.

  • bob

    you can blink

  • i love my horse molly

    cool and cool experiment ian

  • Anastasia

    Not exactly the best illusion…

  • DubDingo

    im sitting here reading these comments lol. people are so stupid

  • Onyxbutterfly

    I love this type of thing. I also rather like the type of illusion where you find a picture in amongst what looks like random dots of many colours.
    However, I cannot believe how really stupid people can be regarding things like this. Where have they been all their lives. Yu can prove something like this for yourelf easily enough. Stare at a coloured page for a while then transfer your eyes to a blank wall or sheet of paper. The after-image shows up as a picture with the opposing colours on the colour wheel on the blank wall.
    This illusion is the same principal, except the creator has used the opposing colors of the beach scene and then shows the black and white photo a few seconds after you get a chance to concentrate on it. The opposing colours colour the black and white shot for a few seconds until you either blink or move your eyes.
    This is called after-image and a very real phenomenon.
    Get some education people.

  • tabbycat900

    oh ma gawwwd thats crazy.. just stare at the red dot and wait till the grey pic comes on then u can see itin full colour