Adjusting Speed Optical Illusion

Either once again I failed to explain the difference between simple animated gifs and cinemagraphs, or I really stink at choosing illusions for you :D Shame you didn’t love our previous post as much as I did, but heck – there is no purpose for me to push something you really don’t like. I hope today’s animation will be perceived better, as it has nothing do to with cinemagraphs and the effect it holds is a truly epic!

Check this out: wait for the warping animation below to get running. Then, when you cover up the center of the image with your hand (just like in the example showed on your right) the dots will appear to speed up. On the other hand, if you cover up the edges the dots will appear to have slowed down. Now if this isn’t illusion, I really don’t know what else to show ya’.

98 Replies to “Adjusting Speed Optical Illusion”

  1. this one is an awesome illusion…i tried to understand the other two illusions but apparently my mind aint that warped… but keep up the good work…i especially enjoyed the different animals painted on peoples hands (forgive me i forgot what the actual name was)

  2. This one puzzles me, because it doesn’t seem to me to be an illusion at all. The dots in the middle really are moving slower than the ones near the edge. The geometry of perspective dictates this. Maybe the presentation works to obscure this, but it’s really just that simple.

  3. nice illusion, also, on the topic of the cinemagraphs, i think if you explained why they are illusions and not just GIFs they may become more appealing

  4. the ones in the middle are going slower. this is where you focus when looking at it originally. when covering up the middle, it goes faster

  5. I like this one but I do see why it works. Covering up the center blocks the “stars” coming at you which are mostly just growing in size. The stars on the outer edges are moving more sideways so they seem to be moving faster. Nice one, pretty fun to play with. Can you try to find more of the black and white full color illusions? That one was epic!

  6. Thats more like it, amazing effect, not seen this one before.

    Vurdlak, dont get dissolusioned about the cinemagraphs, to be honest I quite liked them, although they are not technically illusions.
    I can see why some people visiting the site wouldnt want to see them if they are looking for true illusions.

    Great site though, keep it up.

  7. This effect is being caused by the mind remapping the particles in 3d space. On a standard xyz grid the particles appear to be moving out at a diagonal. When you cover the edges the mind remaps them to be moving directly towards you, and that gives them less velocity in 3 space for the same trajectory. When you cover the center the particles seem to move outwards exclusively in the yz plane, and the 3 space velocity is much greater.

    Though completely understandable, it remains very impressive.

  8. Hmmmm… I don’t get it. Yes, it does what you say but it seems like that is because it actually IS doing that. In order to create the illusion that you are flying through space headfirst into an asteroid belt, you have to create dots that move slowly in the middle and speed up as they reach the edge of the field of view. So I’d say there’s no real illusion there, just a computer program making dots fly at different rates depending on position in the box. Still LOOKS cool, though.

  9. Kinda cool, but it isnt an illusion, you are just seeing what’s realy going on.

    The 2d motion of the dots – i.e X and Y axis, is alot greater on the edges than in the middle, because the closer to the middle the more the dots are flying straight toward the camera, with little apparent up/down left/right travel, while the ones on the sides, being on a much less accute angle, travel alot further up and down, left and right.

    So while all dots are traveling the same speed in 3d space, when considered 2 dimentionaly, because of perspective the further out ones are moving alot further in X/Y in the same time- hence going faster.

    So.. no illusion they realy are moving faster on edges and slower in middle on the x/y plain (not on Z) and by covering up one or the other you are left just seeing the faster or slower moving ones.

    I guess that wasnt a very clear explanation lol.. hope some ppl at least understand.

  10. This is a great illusion. I also like how you have been mixing it up with a variety of illusions. To bad some people can’t just enjoy what ever you come up with. :)

  11. At first I was blown away, and then I took some time to study it, and I noted that the dots on the inside are, in fact, “travelling” more slowly than those on the outside. When viewed together, they appear the same speed. Thus, the illusion.

  12. :D Oh wow ! This one really is cool . I kept moving my hand from the center to the edge “changing the speed” of the dots . This is kind of fun actually lol

  13. Pretty lame, I’d say.
    The dots are moving slower in the centre of the image and faster toward the outside. If you cover up the centre, you’ll see the faster moving dots – and vice versa…
    I preferred the Psycho gif!

  14. OK this one is pretty. The cinemagraphs, I’m sorry, but I always fail to understand what’s there to see, and how it is not a .gif or some kind of loop.

  15. This is amazing! Love it! Is great to see a illusion which you can play with.

    Don’t listen to the haters, everything you have post is cool and amazing, I love your site!

    Grettings from Venezuela! =)

  16. I did like the cinemagraphs!

    In this illusion, the dots in the centre are actually moving ‘slower’ (in a 2D plane, that is) because they are coming right at ya (in a 3D view).
    At the edge, there are only dots moving at the same speed, but more away from you (in 3D). In a 2D view, they are therefore faster moving.

    looking at the whole picture, you persieve it as a 3D animation. When looking at only the centre or the edge, you see it as a small 2D movement.

    Hence the differences in speed. :)

  17. Simple,
    To create the imagery of the ‘moving through a shower if dots’ the artist had to make the dots in the center move a small amount and increase in size prior to vanishing, as opposed to the peripheral dots moving a considerable distance and maintaining a minimal increase in size.
    Therefore the different illusory effects are the result of obscuring either portion of the complete image!!
    Try putting a doughnut in front of the image and reconcile that outcome!!!!!!!!!

  18. The cinemegraphs were hard to tell what they were. Could you provide a little more explanations for them in your next post? I love this illusion, though.

  19. Pretty cool. I’m guessing that because of the perspective it appears to speed up and slow down. Since the objects toward the center are seeming to come from a distance more slowly, covering them up makes the whole thing seem faster.

  20. I loved your previous post. Creeped me right out… it’s awesome. And this one. Isn’t the whole point of an illusion that nothing changes except your perception?

  21. I loved the one you had yesterday After you explained it it is amazing they can do that! Also it brought back memories of 2001 Space Odessey Bring more of those on I am sure others like myself like them too they just aren’t telling you! Thanks for your hard work in finding these allusions.

  22. This is cool. I’m not getting the illusion properly because of my computer but its still cool. For some reason when I cover it with my hand the animation stopped.

  23. This one is really excellent. After looking at other examples I began to really appreciate the cinemagraphs too. The really cool thing about them is that only 1 part of the picture moves. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it. Sort of remind me of the photos in the Harry Potter movies. I don’t think they qualify as illusions though, do they? Maybe that’s what threw everybody off.

  24. Try this trick
    cut a hole in a post-it size piece of paper. Position in in from of the screen so that the middle and edges are visible. You will be able to clearly see the rapid peripheral movement and the rapid central movement simultaneously.

    1. Will you re-write this without typo’s please. Are you referring to putting the post-it size paper on the above “dots” warping animation?

  25. I don’t know why people don’t think cinemagraphs are illusions. I don’t know why people don’t like ’em.

    Yes, cinemagraphs ARE animated gifs, but animated gifs are not necessarily cinemagraphs. And the reason cinemagraphs work is due to optical illusion. Too bad an everyday miracle no longer impresses people.

    I wish you’d still show cinemagraphs when you can. I’m one person (of many, I hope) that do enjoy them.

  26. Well… to be honest… this isn’t strictly an illusion. The dots/globs actually do move slower in the middle, and speed up as they move toward the edges. So naturally, if you block off the middle the outer edges will move slower than the middle was, and vice versa. Now, if the dots/globs were actually moving at a constant pace, and you could get this effect, that would be truly awesome.

    On the other hand, I kind of appreciated the cinemagraphs… although, to be honest, it seems like a lot of work for very little return… animated gifs have been around forever, and just because someone can make one through laborious PhotoShop processing, well, like I said… an awful lot of work for basically nothing. I appreciate the artistry involved, but not much else.

  27. As art, the cinemagraphs are great. But it boils down to this… it’s just a photograph with part of it animated. An animated gif, if you will. Nothing to trick the eye or induce vertigo. There’s no illusory aspect to them.

    As for this current illusion, the dots are indeed moving at different speeds.

  28. This is great. I love this site and regardless of whether it is a ‘true’ optical illusion or a cinemagraph or like this one I get great pleasure of looking at every ‘illusion’ you post – keep up the excellent work. A bit of wonder every day does me good. Thanks

  29. This is exactly the same than driving a car with high speed. When you watch forward towards the road the speed doesn’t seem so high but when you turn your head to see the side, the speed now seems much faster. It’s the movement that tricks us, the bigger the movement the higher the speed seems.

  30. Didn’t go thorugh all the replies (just plain lazy) but am I the only one who sees the dots moving from left to rigfht when covering the centre and coming outwards when covering the edges or nothing?

  31. the dots at the sides are actually faster than in the middle so when you cover the middle part you focus on the area surrounding your hand which makes you think the dots had gone faster.

  32. this is a really great illusion!! i tink it is similar to the stars one in many ways but diffrent at the same time,
    the cinemagraphs were or, but what was the illusion?? sorry i just don’t get them.

  33. I think it is great that you put so much effort in to bringing different kinds of illusions to us. Some are more outstanding than others, but nevertheless, thank you.

  34. oh great! it’s not illusion, it is a real different speed! roll on a paper sheet like for a telescope and look at different portions of the picture; in the center are far and slow; at the edges are fast because dots are closer….!

  35. You’re doing great stuff here! As for the previous illusions — as much as I enjoyed them personally — No one hits it out of the park every time!

  36. I liked the cinema graphs… please do more. I think those who didn’t like them couldn’t appreciate the subtlety of their creation. Today, it’s all about More, Faster, Bigger, Louder… people don’t want the flower, they want the whole garden with birds, wind, and sunbeams.

  37. These dots form a 3D effect (what you called “warp”).

    Seems to me that when I cover the middle, the apparent increase in dots speed is accompanied by a flattening of the 3D – the dots seem to radiate more in a plane.

    When I cover the edges, the 3D effect increases: the slower dots in the middle appear to me as if I’m looking at them down a tunnel or tube.

    That the dots are indeed radiating differently at different radii is necessary for the original “warp” effect. Moving rapidly through a real 3D array of random dots, I would indeed see the dots in the center appear to move more slowly. The dots near the center represent the “distant” stars; more outward, they represent the ones I’m just now flying past.

  38. this is not an illusion, it’s a trick, an animated gif. the dots in the edges move faster than the ones in the middle, originally.
    So no wonder that if you cover the centre, you notice that the dots in the edges mover very fast, and if you cover the dots in the edges you see that the dots in the middel mover slower.
    Proof: look only in one edge, then cover the centre and notice there is no difference.
    Look at the centre, cover 2 edges and notice there is no change in the middle.

    1. i agree and i posted befor i read any o the coments so i infact said the same thing a a few have already my appoligies

  39. Yes – it’s not an illusion, it’s reality. The dots literally move slower in the center, then accelerate out of the picture at the edges.

  40. “Yes – it’s not an illusion, it’s reality. The dots literally move slower in the center, then accelerate out of the picture at the edges.”


  41. it rather easy to figure out the larger dots in the center are in fact moving slower then the much smaller dots on the out side edge by cover one of the 2 it appears to speed up and slow down a nice trick but easy to over come thnx tho enjoyed

  42. The dots don’t speed up, the outer dots always look faster than the inner dots, so when you cover the inner dots it looks faster.

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