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By on April 17, 2008, with 48 Comments

I found this top quality Afterimage illusion and started to write an article about it. The image was titled “rick roll illusion”, so I titled the article accordingly. The afterimage looked like the negative image of Bob Dylan, but Rick Roll is someone I never heard of. So I did a little research and was surprised by the results I received. Apparently, Rick-rolling is a prank and Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up” written and produced by Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman known as Stock Aitken Waterman.

The meme is a classic bait and switch: a person provides a link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true source of the link without clicking (and thus satisfying their curiosity). A person who falls for the prank is said to be “rickrolled”. The practice began as a variant of an earlier prank called duckrolling, in which a link to a popular celebrity or news item would instead lead to a photoshopped picture of a duck with wheels.

Concerning the illusion, it works in the same way as Jesus Afterimage. You just have to stare at the little plus sign in the middle for about a minute, and then quickly look at the white surface. The effect will be stronger if you blink your eyes repeatedly.

Rick Roll Afterimage Optical Illusion


48 Responses
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey! I really like this one, any idea how one would go about creating an image of their own face like this?

  2. Anonymous says:

    James Dean. Oh I love him.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The American Flag one is the best.

    First comment?

    Love Max.

  4. Ash says:

    WOAH that is freaking wicked!

  5. Anonymous says:

    OK – Vurdlak, you totally missed an opportunity here man. Every single link in your thread should point to the youtube rick roll video. Im frankly quite surprised that you didnt even try to sneak one in there.

  6. Anonymous says:

    o god, rick rolled again!

  7. Milan says:

    I love afterimages.. ;)

  8. Anonymous says:

    i dont understand this

  9. Jimmy says:

    I dont get it, what am I looking for?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I see Elvis.

    No I see it….although, for a rick roll to work-you’re not supposed to let the “audience” know that they’re being Rickrolled…just put “Bob Dylan Afterimage” down for the title, leave out the explanation—then see if people get it.

    Then you could have the “answer” at the bottom of the page or hidden in a comment!

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Jill says:

    Looks like David Archuleta from American Idol very cool

  13. Anonymous says:

    really nice illusion. love the after image. my friend had the one with jesus as his background.

    if you have an apple computer, if you do ctrl – alt/option – apple – 8 you get the negative and the after image.

  14. djzbambam says:

    MUCH better than the Jesus one. This one is really good!

  15. brendan says:

    did you just rickroll me? -.^ CAUSE IF YOU DID! *Shakes fist* lol

  16. sermoa says:

    Oooh, the afterimage is quite cute really! :)

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is amazing! I can see a framed black and white picture of i think Ricky Astley! it’s been 3 minutes since I stopped staring at the cross and i still see the image!!! Great! But how is it possible? Maja

  18. Anonymous says:

    this is cool

  19. Anonymous says:

    yay im first!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    MAN! My eyes have been rick rolled… bastards.

  21. Anonymous says:

    That is amazing!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    1 comment!cool,although ive been rickrolled before.

  23. Person says:

    ok then…

  24. Anonymous says:

    kooool i love these after image illusions. wicked site!

  25. Anna says:

    Awesome! :)

  26. Anonymous says:

    The link is the following…

    It is easy to use in places such as DeviantArt, because the link can’t be seen, or you can use it in a picture link, so the link’s name can’t be seen

    Expect to be busy for five minutes or so if you ever fall for the prank…and keep your temper, peoplez!^^

  27. Anonymous says:

    First One yes

  28. Psycho-Designs says:

    Looked more like Bush to me

  29. Aileen says:

    This is amazing!

  30. Anonymous says:

    not as good as the jesus one

  31. Anonymous says:

    not another afterimage. its been done before.

  32. nerdpanda says:

    this one does nothing for me

  33. Aroosa says:

    That is soooo cool!!!

  34. Anonymous says:

    This is such a cool site. It teaches people the dangers of Rick Rolling: http://www.internetisseriousbusiness.com/

  35. Kyle says:

    WTF! when i was blinking and looking at “rick roll” his eyes were going back and forth between me and the left of him! is that supposed to happen?!?!?!?!?

  36. google/blogger says:


  37. Anonymous says:

    Thats not Rick Astle, THATS A BEAR!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Damn! I got Rickrolled, again!

  39. vickers says:

    never gonna give you up
    never gonna let you down

    haha love that song :P

  40. crystal says:

    hey this is cool ! i love it ..

  41. guijgf says:

    omg! for you to see it how this is efficient i looked at it for only ten seconds and when i blinked i could see perfectly his face!!

  42. guijgf says:

    omg! for you to see it how this is efficient i looked at it for only ten seconds and when i blinked i could see perfectly his face!!!

  43. peter says:

    i luv shit like this.. am gna hav a wank

  44. Confuzzled dude says:


  45. noah says:

    is saw my gandma

  46. abi says:

    i love these, but i also hate them, cause then you see them for another few minutes…

  47. kelly says:

    meme is my name! the blankblankblank took it from me.

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