How Many Circles Do You See?

Before you start reading this, count the circles in the image below. How many are there (if there are any)? Also known as Coffer Illusion, this optical illusion was created by Anthony Norcia and qualified for top 10 category in “Best Visual Illusion Of The Year Contest”. Anthony describes this visual phenomenon like this:

16 Circles

First time viewers of this display invariably do not see the 16 circles segmented from the background. Rather, they see a series of rectangles that they frequently describe as “door panels”. The illusion pits segmentation cues against what appears to be a very strong prior to interpret the image as a series of 3-D structures “coffers” with closed boundaries. (A coffer is a decorative sunken panel.) It appears that the prior involves both closure and shape-from shading assumptions.

116 Replies to “How Many Circles Do You See?”

  1. Thanks rudolph, I couldn’t see it at first. I can now though, even though the cross tip made it harder to spot.

  2. wow thats cool it took me a minute to see them but then they popped right out and they keep going in and out now but now i know how to find them

  3. actually thre arent any circles at all because if yo look closly there not circles because circles no have strait edges and these “circles”do! so ya your all wrong!

  4. There are twenty-five once you’ve found sixteen look in the middle of two circles to see the others good luck: )

  5. This illusion worked in reverse on me.
    At first i only saw the circles and thought “jeez this is lame” until i focused on a different part and began seeing the rectangles.

  6. wow, yes there r only 16 circles and couldnt find out wat they ment by 25 but after i read Al B’s comment i looked again and i finally found them and if you cross your eyes there r no circles

  7. if u say 25 i think that u r rite but those who say 16 thins is how we got 25… u hav just counted the small circles but if u imagine this as the little circles u will c wat i meen

    o o o o
    o o o o
    o o o o
    o o o o

    r they the circles that u c if so look more carefully… can u put the circles in2 squares like this

    o o o o
    o o o o

    o o o o
    o o o o

    if so then look in the middle of a square u will c a bigger circle

    am i rite?

  8. Yes there are 25 that I can see. There are straight lines in a circle, you can use a protractor, measure each 10*(degrees) around the circumference and draw 180* diameters conecting all the 10* around the circle. That is how you can see circles in the corners of the coffers If ther are two coffers next to each other either vertically or horizontally.

  9. this illusion is posted wrong
    your supposed to stare at the white cross and then 16 circles start to appear and eventually that all you can see

    people seeing more either cant count or are seeing circle fragments and imagining more because thats what they wantwbxvkd

  10. The people that see 25 are seeing the parts between the “real” circles. What you are supposed to see is that the vertical lines all make up the background and the horizontal lines are all in the circles. So if you see horizontal lines, they are part of the 16 circles, and the vertical lines are all part of the background. Basically, the people who see 26 are looking at the spaces between 4 of the “real” 16 circles and thinking they kinda look like circles, too.


  12. Topperrrr! >> 31


    Hmm, there are no circles. There are only approximations (..duh..) of circles; 16 of them are 'clearly' visible between the groups of vertical lines; 9 more are suggested (and incomplete at the bottom and top)in the complementary space between the circles mentioned first; and the final 6 are in the same vertical space but then cut off by the boundaries of the picture.

  13. Even though you can pretend like there’s 25, there’s really only 16 circles in the picture.

    Yeah I know u newbs will say it’s 9 + 16, but the 9 circles aren’t really full circles, since u can’t see the edge of the 9 circles on the top and the bottom. So the correct answer is 16 circles (and 9*2 = 18 half circles).

  14. Yes, only 16 circles, this is fact. Those who say 25 doesn’t know what a circle is. You can pretend there are 25, but the fact remains, only 16.

  15. Yes, there’s only 16. Using the graphic design principle of closure you could see an additional 9 circle. But YES, there’s only 16 that appear clearly without having to really look for the others. I saw all 16 right off. Not the best illusion, but still good. :)

  16. I copy and pasted this into ms paint, zoomed in and looked the pixels, there are exactly 16 circles in this picture.[img][/img]

  17. I’ll show you a freaken circle! Honestly took me a hour. 16 ..I only saw them once I stopped looking for them, go figure.

  18. I found 25 also!! I would love to know what the person who designed it says about how many circles there are meant to be!

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