Floating Star Optical Illusion


“The Illusion of the year” contest (held by NeuralCorrelate.com, for the past 8 consecutive years), just announced its 2012 finalists. Here’s one that hasn’t won, nor qualified in the finals, still it was the only one that captured my attention. Created by Kaia Nao, “Floating Star” optical illusion gives the strongest floating effect I have seen up to date.

Perhaps not the most original illusion among the finalists, yet the effect it casts is truly astounding! Can you believe the image below is completely static?

The peripheral drift effect is applied to a random pattern to give the illusion of motion in different areas of an underlying figure, in this case a star – Kaia Nao

Here’s what Kaia had to say about his creation: “The random quality of the pattern tends to minimize interference between the elements of the image that generate the illusion of motion and the interpretation of the overall figure. The technique could possibly be used to “animate” illustrations of phenomena such as fluid flow, flux lines, or weather patterns.”

  • Spigles

    I see it static

  • Not happening for me. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Does one have to stare at it for longer than a minute? Close one eye? What?

    • mr doo

      If you have glasses on, the illusion doesn’t work.

  • Michael Anthony

    Quick convo between the Bf and Myself.

    Me:”Does this look like its floating to you?”
    Him:”Is that that optical trick page agin…”
    Me:”Just look at it!”
    Him:”Ok, I will…Im sorry babe, but Im not tripping on Acid”
    Me: Facepalm

  • TacoDave

    Weird. I don’t see any floating or movement at all…

  • owen

    Eh not the best

  • Don In Alabama

    I don’t see a star at all…where is it?

  • guemes bill

    Wow!! This is truly deserving of an award.


  • mycaricature

    I don’t get a strong illusion out of this one. Sorry.

  • austin

    Just wondering if its the same for everyone, but which way dose the star spin and which way does the background for you? For me the star “spins” clockwise while the background “moves” counterclockwise.

    • Natalie

      Same with me.

  • Sorry, didn’t get it at all. Nothing floated for me. I thought it was supposed to be some sort of colour blindness test.

  • christoffer

    yes strong epic effect, also noted that if I stare at the middle for some seconds it all become blue.

  • Sakura

    Wow! It makes me dizzy but it does float! @.@

  • KayBeQueenBee

    Uhm….it looks completely static to me. No matter how long or hard I stare, I don’t see any signs of movement. I see why this one wasn’t a contender. Thanks for sharing anyway though! :)

  • Don

    I’m not surprised it didn’t qualify…there is no apparent motion. Yes, I’ve experienced the illusory motion in this type of illusion. Just doesn’t work, here. Perhaps, with effort…but a good illusion shouldn’t require effort.

  • Scott

    Whatever this illusion might be, I don’t see it. So, to answer the question, I have no difficulty whatever believing this image is completely static.

  • Brandon

    Maybe I am so old that my neurons and synapses are not functioning, but I perceive no suggested motion from the figure.

    This same lack of perceived motion has also occurred to me in other illusions to which some motion is suggested.

    Do other viewers also have the same lack?

  • nicole

    wow made me feel drunk! it even affected me in my peripheral when i was reading the blurb. crazy strong effect

  • xD

    woooooooaaaaahhhhhhh….thats coolio… XD

  • Very cool… there’s no where in the image you can look without seeing that motion effect.

  • glittergirl

    yaaaaaay, first comment!!!!
    thats really cool!

  • Scott

    It rotates clockwise to me any other directions to anyone else?

  • David

    Yes I can believe it’s static,,,I don’t see any movement at all, Is it me?

  • Steve

    Interesting that the parts surrounding the star appear to move but the star itself doesn’t.

  • Timasp

    I don’t see anything

  • Sunny

    awesome… unbelievable creation…

  • Shashi

    i can’t see it moving..

  • Eddie

    Sorry it is static to me

  • Care Bear

    It must be me but that star doesn’t look like it’s floating anywhere. Maybe it’s the blended bifocals.

  • My Opinion

    cool but a little wierd :(

  • I thought it was moving for sure! I don’t know what the deal was for the other people. I mean, my page was really zoomed in so maybe that had something to do with it…

  • TheOneWhoGotIt

    For the people who didn’t get it, you won’t see it if you keep staring at it at one point. To see the effect you need to move your point of focus from one past of the picture to another. Hope this helps.

    • mycaricature

      Thank you! Your tip was all aces.

  • Tim

    Very trippy.

  • Xavier Kreiss

    I’ve seen quite a few illusions based on the floating effect, some of which have been spectacular. But this one doesn’t work for me – it stays static. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one for whom it doesn’t work.

  • sara

    I’m amazed some people can’t see the effect. It is a very dramatic movement effect when I look at it. I wonder why it is different for different people.

  • Mikey

    If you need glasses then this illusion won’t work for you, also works better the closer you are to the screen

  • Timothy

    The star is clockwise and counter for the edge. This is one of the hardest ones for me to stop all motion on. Even when I have the star stationary the outsides keep moving. Very difficult to make the whole thing static at one time.

  • Timothy

    Distance though makes a huge difference. Far enough away and static. Close enough and almost impossible to see as static.

  • Arny

    try to put it on desktop (extended); it still works (a little bit less, but it works); very nice

  • Q

    This actually worked better for me as one of those magic eye 3d effects, and when I did that it actually made the illusion even stronger

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