Chinese artist Li Wei’s Optical Illusions

I really have no idea how Li Wei managed to capture these photos of himself. The closest thing that comes to my mind is Johan Lorbeer.Dangling horizontally out of a skyscraper, his hovering figure looks set to fall to his doom, but this artist ‘jumper’ hasn’t just lost it all on a game of chance – this is performance art with a difference. Li Wei has previously produced series of self-portraits involving faces reflected in mirrors, and photographs of himself crashing into walls and sidewalks. His current work is a mixture of performance art and photography that creates illusions of a sometimes dangerous reality. I would really love if we could brainstorm on this “installation“, and maybe come to a decent conclusion.

210 Replies to “Chinese artist Li Wei’s Optical Illusions”

  1. What is the point in saying you’re first comment, and you don’t even say anything else? This gets so boring.
    These pictures are cool, though surely the images have been manipulated? Don’t really see how else they could be done.

  2. Possibly used some of the programmes that todays graphic artists use. My son is an animator and film maker and can do this sort of stuff.

  3. I’m guessing very, very good Photoshop skills. Not trying to be skeptical but I can’t think of anything else and the arm one does look a bit fake.

  4. Wow third!

    I’m guessing, the phots are photoshopped. Done quite well and a bit of thought put into layout and content. Pretty Neat if you like that sort of thing.

    Great site keep it up.

  5. It goes without saying that the pictures are fantastic and have been created by somebody with a great deal of skill. However, until I saw the second to last photo I really wasn’t sure quite what combination of trick photography and computer based visual effects software he was using, but having seen the arm was clearly created in a 3D package such as Maya, 3D Studio Max or maybe even Poser, the artist behind them (Li Wei himself, I presume) is obviously a graphic designer with a lot of experience in layering. Layering being the use of green screens / rotoscoping (manually cutting out) to remove a background behind an object and inserting it into a background and playing around with it until it looks like it was there in the first place. I’d go with Shake, Photoshop and/or After Effects if I had to guess at the programs behind these awesome creations.

  6. … i got nothing. i have no clue how he did these photos….
    I maybe even if i think i just for a second understand the first one… the rest of the rest of them are NUTS!
    way to go

  7. I’m guessing that he uses some metal supports hidden from the camera. Or what’s stopping him from using wires that are then photoshopped out?

  8. this is NOT a metroflog

    so comment some interesting…

    this artist are great, the pictures are awesome

    they are manipulated by any program???

    saludos desde mexico


  9. First time i place a comment here. Seen a lot of nice illusions but this time i really had to say something about it.
    I am pretty sure all of the images are photoshopped. If you look very closely you can see color and lighting differences. I noticed it after i saw the 8th picture. (that one is clearly photoshopped)

  10. Been checking the illusions through iGoogle for quite some time now, and gotta say these ones are the first ones I actually liked! Cheers Li Wei!

  11. The second last one looks sorta photoshoped, But the other ones are really cool looing. I Don’t think they are all photoshop.

  12. Wonderful photo’s. The one with the huge arm is freaky though.

    Also, what’s the point in commenting with a declaration of being first or second? Especially if you have nothing to contribute to the post.

    I don’t get it.

  13. The artist stands that are no computer effcets applied, the photos are made using mirrors, wires, things like these…

  14. I read his interview during an art exhibition where his work is at display and he said that he uses mostly metal wires that are digitally removed afterwards. I guess he uses this method in most of his work.

  15. OMG GUYS.


    PHOTOSHOPPED?? i hope your referring to the fact that cables were removed from the pics.. right..
    have your guys even heard of a blue screen..
    the big hand is a model, not photoshopped. the guy was actually there when these pictures were taken.. he was suspended by cables..

    thats what u call art.. not some superimposed photoshop picture..

  16. Photoshop would seem a reasonable explication, but as some people may have said before, THESE PICTURES ARE NOT PHOTOSHOPPED. And that’s the cool thing about this Chinese artist: he manages to create seemingly impossible set-ups, using only (invisible) wires and stuff. But still, even if they WERE Photoshopped, the images would still be very cool.

  17. Well, the artist claims the photos are not edited or photoshopped in any way, that they are obtained by using mirrors, wires, hidden platforms and acrobatics. Lighting and edges seem nice in the pictures, also. The only one bugging me is of course the arm one, which really seems fake. If it is real, maybe it could simply be a metal bar inside a hard plastic cover in the shape of a giant arm. Fantastic work.

  18. It’s definitely just a green screen like they use in movies. You stand on chairs or hang from the cieling or whatever and put your surroundings in later

  19. Wow! It could be three things:

    1. He has some awesome Photoshop skills.
    2. He’s a good illutionist.
    3. He’s a very, very brave person!

    Those pics are cool!

  20. I’m just curios why people who are like the 60th person to post put: “Hooray! I’m the 3rd person to post on here!!” Whats the point of even posting if your going to do that.

    Anywho, I really like these, they’re really cool. I agree that these are probably done using a blue screen in the back ground. My fav is the one where he looks like he’s stuck in the ground :D. The shorts need to be longer though…

  21. IN the picture with the young man booting the other over the side of the building the kid with glasses is smiling/laughing.

  22. What’s so amazing about it? Anyone with a photo shop program can do it on computer. It’s nothing special and it’s definitely not art.

  23. its not possible for this guy to actually no tphotoshop the image ….

    coz like for eg. the pic where the man kicking him off the building ….

    i mean come on ..! how can he be doing that

    oh gosh especially the one where he looks like hes flying …


    its obviouslt photoshopped

  24. You westerners don’t understand the Chinese way. We line up people on the death row and kick them off the roof one by one untill we get a decent picture.

  25. it’s easy they’re jumping or the owner of this pictures took this pictures to the photo shop i think !!!!!!!!!!!!! but i dont get it
    please tell us please

  26. in the one that shows him being kicked off a roof you can see the thin cable running from his waist through the kickers fist and continues on from there.

  27. im going to go with wire fu style rigs. China has a lot of those that are used in film making and i am sure there are professionals with enough experience to pull this off. wire are then edited out of course

  28. To all you idiots that just blurt out “Photoshop”

    Look at the pictures more carefully and appreciate the complexity in doing so even if it were done using software.

    I put my thumbs up for the creative Chinese.

  29. The tree one is obviously two barbie dolls…look at the hands of the girl int he tree…and the shiny plastic looking legs on the guy…these are so fake! ugh

  30. i ink tht is so much bangin its of its head into baiiz u get me baiiz comon baiiz lets go get hammered with the baiiz

  31. These are not photoshops. He uses wires and other steel contraptions to get the effect he wants. Do a Google on Li Wei and read it for yourself.

  32. The planning involved to get this right must be crazy! I’ve never seen Li Wei’s work until today so thanks for making me aware of his stuff. Even though he uses wires and other setups, I’m sure he must use Photoshop to clean things up…no?

  33. Nah, its not Photoshop, but wires are probable.
    Just look at the second photo, they obviously know how to use angles and lenses to create optical illusions.

    If you didn’t already know, a high grade steel cable thinner than a pencil is enough to hold up an SUV. Imagine how thin it would be if you only needed to hold person. Plus Li Wei seem pretty good at ‘static’ poses.

  34. I made this site in Photoshop. I wrote your answer in Photoshop. I Photoshopped your mom. And your dad. I photoshopped you.

    None of you exist, I photoshopped every one of you.

    I know, because photoshop creations have no imagination, and haven’t the mental cognizance to understand that there are things out there that are not photoshopped.

    It’s great, you go up to one of the photoshop creations with an apple and eat it, slurping and crunching, and they scream “PHOTOSHOPPED THOSE NOISES ARE PHOTOSHOPPED!”

    Facebook? I made it. In Photoshop.

  35. compare in the 3rd pic his reflection with relative position of building reflected as well…that photoshop….geometrically the pic is off

  36. In the picture with the guy kicking the other guy off the roof, you can see that the guy in the check shirt’s right arm and hand are being flexed hard. The guy is holding something tightly in his right hand, looks like a wire.

  37. AW look.. photoshop look at the picture in the building… at the pants the guy who is kicking is holding a wire.. look

  38. Look very closly at the man gettin kicked off the building, look at his fist and u will see a string attached to the other man, very clever

  39. It’s just Photoshop. If you look at the guy with the white shirt and blue shorts, he is in almost all of the photos. Many of them are the exact same picture of him, but just rotated or half-buried, or whatever. Duh.

  40. These are all photoshoped picture, and a combination of acrobatic stunt with body harness of steel cable and dangling wires.

  41. while there all clearly editted photos thats not the point. the photos are all a genius description of photographies degeneration into art. given the benefits of moder tech any photo can incoroprate such feats with time and effort and there would be no one who could possibly dispute it.

    moreover the photos generate an implicit desire from freedom; something we can all appreciate be it in china or the united states…

  42. Way to completely miss the real point of these pictures, guy-who-over-analyzes and people-who-talk-about-photoshop… which is to just make you go “holy sh*t, that looks cool!”

  43. freedom from life, freedom from country , freedom from stress, freedom from social roles, freedom from gender restraints, freedom from labels

  44. There appear to be a visible thread or some leftover after editing on the fifth picture, if you look at the kickers hand, you can see a small straight line. Something like a thread you’re fishing with.

    BUT photoshopped or not, I like them alot, and they are with no doubt professionally made.

  45. Agree with above…it’s not an “optical illusion” if you use photoshop, cables, etc…that’s called “a cool photo”. An optical illusion is one where the mind makes you THINK you’re seeing something that isn’t really there.


  46. I think it’s hilarious that all of your are pointing out that these are photoshopped! You really think you’re the first one to figure that out and you’re spreading your wisdom to the rest of us.

    That was the point! To make the shots look like this…of course they’re going to use Photoshop!


  47. I want a framed one in my living room. Especially the basket ball one. Li Wei’s creativity shines with technology as a tool compared to the too common “Oh, that’s photoshopped.” Keep em’ coming.

  48. Watch out. Someone put an advertising link on the word “technology” in my blog after I clicked Submit Comment. I see that someone did that in Scott’s blog also. I don’t advocate any of the companies that are using my blog in the link, involuntarily,to promote themselves. Get your link the hell out of my blog.

  49. Now I see that the links have rotated to different blogs after I submitted the previous one. Now there’s one in That Guy’s and nerj’s blog. It’s rotating to different blogs every time I submit a comment. Moderator, please get rid of this abuse of advertising on people’s individual blogs.

  50. Medium of creativity does not bound art to any particular form. Great to see some fresh creativity coming along in a country that has spend the last 30 years looking for an identity. Way to go Li Wei!

  51. well apparently, the artist stated that no photoshop is used on those images. and i think i agree to that, just some photography skills. lol. it not always computer works.

    “Chinese artist Li Wei creates art that proves to be impossible. How does he do it, you ask? Performance art and photography is what creates these dangerous illusions. He also uses props such as metal wires, mirrors, scaffolding and acrobatics to help him with the effect.”

  52. wow have u noticed its the same person doing those poses? is the li wei or whatever?? same white t gay blue shorts asian lookin person

  53. ok to those who talked about the beuty of the pics i agree with those ppl,for others who are wpndering how they did this, first they used wires then photoshop, but the wires are tiny, so you have to concentrate to see them.

  54. OH really you think these ps what was your first clue i really thought he was able to do all these naturally.. Atleast he’s actually doing something creative with photo editing rather than sitting in front of a comp for hours and coming up with something that is like everything else… oh wow check out this awesome meme with spaghetti arms…omg this is the funniest thing ever.

  55. Amazing and cool photos, i really like it. I want to try it by myself and i want to check if we do have the same results. hehehe Thanks for this post keep it up.

  56. i think theres something wrong with my eyes but the last person on the last one looks like hes taking a picture on his fone

    i think ive had to much candy :$

  57. One thing I have actually noticed is there are plenty of misguided beliefs regarding the financial institutions intentions while talking about foreclosure. One fairy tale in particular is that often the bank wishes to have your house. The financial institution wants your hard earned cash, not the house. They want the bucks they loaned you together with interest. Averting the bank will only draw a new foreclosed realization. Thanks for your publication.

  58. some people on here are very annoying. we have google for a reason. there is NO computer editing at all. it’s cables, etc and good angles. the person in the photos is Li Wei. Yes this is creative! this is original and interesting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *