Shallow Rotating Gem Optical Illusion

Just found this animation in my mailbox which was submitted by one of our fans – Brad Snyder. I’m not exactly sure how it functions, but the illusion should be similar with our famous Spinning Girl illusion. Apparently the gem we see below is rotating in only one direction. Because it is shallow, it gives you impression it changes direction every few seconds. Don’t take me for granted, though. I have a feeling I don’t get this illusion in its full sense. I would appreciate if some of you managed to understand it, and post a clue for me and others via comments section. If my intuition is right, this can easily be one of the greatest illusions on this site. If I was wrong, don’t hate me…

118 Replies to “Shallow Rotating Gem Optical Illusion”

  1. It works the same way that spinning hollow masks work. It is not a full jewel. It’s the inside and outside of the edge of one.

  2. the triangles sometimes look like they are in front, like a six-sided cone, other times the triangles are in back,making it look like shadows or a hollow one. this makes it look like it is constantly changing.

  3. You may say it rotates in only one direction, but it keeps changing directions for me. The lower facets seem to be almost transparent, and the face seems opaque,starting out clockwise, then changes. This is a fantastic illusion!!

  4. OMG I think i get it! See it is only moving in one direction but when it gets to a certain point while turning it looks like it is turning in the opposite direction when it really isn’t. That’s the illusion. Wow it’s trippy lol @[email protected]

  5. Pretty cool.

    It reminds me of when I was a kid and we did those 3-boxes and it looked different when you blinked your eyes. I don’t know how it works, but it is cool.

  6. I dont think this is possible for someone to make this illusion move a full 360 degrees in their head. So the spinning girl is good to focus your right and left brain together, like before a test. But this is not. It is just, well, an illusion.

  7. Acutally my last comment was off. It is possible t turn it a full 360 Degrees, but because of the opposite spinning it is extremely hard. So this would help you think better, but it is also very frustrating.

  8. Seems like this might be cheating… you can only see through the bottom portion of the diamond when the illusion needs you to see the underside of the top of the diamond. You should be able to see the other facets of the bottom portion through the opposite-side bottom facet for this to be a non-cheating illusion.

  9. I have uncovered the secret: It is a badly made optical illusion, that’s why it seems to change its rotation every few seconds.

    The gem is supposed to be semi-transparent, and on the top part they did fine. On the bottom, however, they only show one side of the facets, when they should be showing both sides of the gem, one moving in the opposite direction and slightly dimmer.


  10. If you watch the tip or point of the gem at the bottom it is obvious that it is rotating in only one direction. The illusion comes from the fact that as it rotates you can see through the gem thus the flat top is visable from the backside or inside thus giving the illusion that it is rotating in the opposite direction.

  11. It’s spinning clockwise. Focus on it and nothing else. And Vurdlak is 100% correct. Bravo! This illusion is truly one of the best in this site. Keep going! ;)

  12. wow!!
    this will amuse me for hours :)

    the gem does only spin one direction!
    the sides are transparent, so you can see the top surface even if it is facing away, which is where the illusion comes from
    it goes around in a full circle


  13. its a translucent 3-d object rotating on a tilted axis, much like the earth, such that you are just viewing the top from behind, or inside the gem, much like viewing north america from asia thru the earth. if you watch, the long triangles meet up with the small ones the entire time, you just are looking thru the long triangles and from behind the small ones. everything is a matter of perception. percieve from another perspective. peace

  14. OK, I’ll try to explain what I see here.

    Imagine that the cone is transparent. So sometimes you see the flat surface (the one consisting of the six triangles) from the outside and sometimes from the inside, through the cone. Then you lose the impression of it changing its turning direction.

  15. hi,
    you need a very concrete idea of a gem to understand this illusion.
    for somebody who had never seen a gem there are only flickering shapes.
    but! you have to think a bit abstract because for somebody who have an idea how the ligtht reflexes etc. in this gem really works are it just a worse graphical representation of a gem.
    with a bad display of hidden edges and transparency.

    ^^ worse english, i know but i can’t really explain it in german.

    was ich allerdings damit sagen möchte is, dass es ansichtssache ist, wenn jemand ne klare vorstellung von nem edelstein hat ist es nur ne schlachte darstellung eines edelsteines. und wenn jemand überhauptkeine ahnung hat was ein edelstein ist sind es nur flackernde formen.
    also brauch man etwas abstraktes denken und die unwissenheit über die wirkliche lichtbrechung, darstellung von verdeckten kanten und transparenz.

    btw. in fact it is just a bad rendering of a green pyramid in a green room.

    also es ist in wirklichkeit nur ne schlecht gerenderte grüne pyramiede in einem grünen raum.

    thx, alpha

  16. On the spinning girl–I had to stare at her pivot heel to make her change direction.

    I can’t get this one to work.


  17. It’s not moving; it’s static. Maybe it’s broken? I tried it in IE and Firefox, but it’s still just a picture of a gem, not an animation. What gives?

  18. If you adjust your view so that just the bottom of the cone is showing you can then see that it is actually only moving in one direction.

  19. try to watch it and think of it as moving in only one direction. if you look at it the way I see it, it seems as if when it appears to change directions, you see it from the bottom, looking into it. sorry, but that’s the best I can describe what I see.

  20. Where is your attention? Which side of the rabbit hole be thee on? The rabbit hole is the mirror of our attention. The illusion comes in this type from a swapping of viewpoint from one side to the other. Most obvious in the spinning girl. Direction change noted by the high leg changing from left to right and vice versa.

    The gem, however, reveals symmetry swap by concentrating on the top. The bottom point does not swap. Block the top off with something and see that the bottom only turns counterclockwise.

    Coin toss as to which is best; the spinning gem or the girl. Both are #1 and #2 for best illusion.

  21. just look nd follow a dark traingle of the three 1s;nd follow its sense of rotating with the side of the prism it holds ; it looks wierd cuz its rotating twice

  22. i could be very wrong, but from looking at it it seems like the top and bottom turn in the same direction for some time, but then at one point, the top or bottom stops spinning and the other part continues, creating the illusion that its spinning in reverse


    well either way its a pretty awesome illusion

  23. Pish-posh, I’ve seen much more complicated illusions in my lifetime. This one is very simple. The top of the diamond spins half the time the opposite way then the body of the jewl. Case closed.

  24. The top is what gives the illusion. If you cover up the top with your hand then the bottom will just keep going in the same direction.

  25. That was pretty awesome :D Could have been more exiting colors thought.

    PS: You should set someone else in charge for the magic site… If you are in trouble of finding one I guess I might be able to run it, atleast better than your brother (Don’t take that bad)

  26. Lame. The bottom continues in one direction and the top switched back and forth. Easy to see. I don’t get the fascination.

  27. the trick is rather simple. It relies on retinal disparity in the shading of the lighter hexagonal “top” and darker triangular “bottom”. This first creates a three dimensional appearance, which is then confused with the movement.

    When the top and bottom are in alignment (spinning the same direction) our brain appropriates this to mean that the object is solid.

    However, when the top section reverses rotation, yet stays in the fore layer of the image, the lighter overall shading still makes it seem to be in front, as a 3D image. The reversed rotation of the bottom section separates it from physical attachment to the top and we therefore perceive the object to be hollow.

    Does that make sense?

  28. This is a tricky one, but its basically the same as the rotating girl one.

    The upper part ist the part that makes the brain switch directions, BUT if you cover it with a hand or omething you can also make the lower part turn in either way.

    If you now slowly take away the cover you can take control of the entire strukture.

    Once you get the knack, you can have it turn in the direction of your choice ;) (so as said before it’s basically the same as the rotating lady dancer)

  29. If u just watch the bottom of it the whole time, u can see how it’s moving in only one direction. It messes up ur mind if u watch the top. it’s REALLY COOL!!

  30. It has no sense in reality …. is an image in three dimensions that when the top is in a position in which it should be behind the body appears forward… nothing else….

  31. For all of you ppl who are saying this illusion is silly or not good: shut up and go home!if you think it’s that bad why don’t you make your own illusions site!

    btw Draikyn, i read your comment like 5 times and still dont get a thing :D

  32. I think its like this..The Gem is supposedly spinning in one direction but if u notice closely, due to the shadow, the gem is spinning only half direction..Half way clockwise, halfway anti-clockwise..



    THEY’RE NOT!!!


    So just imagine the gem is made of glass- so you are always either looking AT the top face directly, or you are seeing it THROUGH the other facets.


    hope that helped…

  34. Some people did have similar ideas before me, so, well, sorry to those people.

    Normally I’m one of the people who whinges when someone says what was already said…

    so again, sorry.

  35. This is spinning in one direction. One side of the spinning object is transparent and allows you to see the top from the underside. When the transparent side is visible this makes the object seem to change direction, but it does not. Cover the top portion of the object with your hand and focus on the bottom point and you will see that there is no change in rotational direction. :)

  36. If you concentrate on the sides and not the top, you can see that it does actually only rotate in one direction but a slight distraction and even then it appears to be rotating the other way.
    Very cool illusion.

  37. you have to look at it from the inside and only look at the top from underneath…as soon as you look at the top of the gem from the top it seems to change direction…concentrate because as soon as you lose it it appears to be changing directions.

  38. Very cool!

    I scrolled my browser window so that I could see only the bottom, and then only the top, to see if it really was spinning in just one direction…

    Obviously, yes, it really is. But it was neat seeing it that way.

    I’m not sure I fully get it… But then again, it’s late and I should be finishing some projects and not looking at 3D diamond optical illusions but you know how it is…

  39. there are two separate rotations, one is visible from the point at the bottom, the other you will notice if you watch one of the top points of the object.

  40. duurrrrr it goes see through whiles it is spinnin that was easy
    get a life people

    me,tom,jack ‘n’ tom
    waz ere 2ka
    in da ouse 09 !!!!!!!

  41. it goes see through whiles its spinnin that waz easy get,a life people lol

    me,tom.jack ‘n’ tom waz ere 2k8 in da ouse !!!!!!!

  42. The bottom tip of the jewel is making a 360 degree circle giving the illusion that the direction is changing when it rotates toward the back although its not….pretty cool

  43. It all depends on which side of your brain is dominant, because it is spinning on both direcions, some people see it spinning right, others, left. Some people see it go backwards and forwards because they are paying too much attention to unnecesary detail

  44. Im not sure what the illusion is supposed to be.

    Was the initial design supposed to be solid or “hollow”?

    Look at it one way and u see through to the backside the entire time. The “field of view” being inside the object. (it spins one way)

    Look another way its solid and it looks like the top switches directions. (which ruins the illusion of it being a solid object)

    So the question is, which way is meant to be the illusion or how was the “illusion” created?

    I think the answer is its not supposed to be “solid” and is simply a case of the “fov” being inside the object. Is that supposed to be an illusion?

  45. To the guy that said “i’ve seen more complicated illusions than this”… “case closed” – you’re an idiot.

    The upper and lowever portions of the cone are spinning in unison. However, the top of the cone is 100% opaque, whereas the lower portion is translucent. You can see the top of the cone through the bottom portion when the top if farthest away from your perspective.

    That’s how it works. Now scroll back up and check it out again and you’ll clearly see how it works.

  46. this is actually pretty simple. I have accidentally done this with light wave. Thew bottom of the diamond is made of single sided polygons but they are inside out. so you are seeing the back side of the diamond. the top is double sided polys so you see them all the time. but from the bottom of them when tilted away and the top when tilted towards you.

  47. Well we humans tend to see objects as convex…like faces … because they are more likely to be convex…the structure of this is quite simple…imagine that the diamond consists of only two sides…
    the bottom and one “back”…the differences in the colors of the stripped lines does the rest…its like the necker’s cube…it depends on what we choose to see as the “front”…

  48. Congratulations to “The Architect!” at being the only person to correctly understand this.

    It isn’t an illusion at all. It’s just a rotating model where the bottom edges are one-sided, meaning that they work like a one-way mirror. From one side, you see them, from the other, you do not. Where a proper model would have the edges facing outwards, this model does not.

  49. there is 2 ways to look at can look at it the way that most people see where it looks like it keeps going back and forth in different directions and the way where it looks like its counter clockwise the whole time. that is cool!

  50. Im convinced that it’s a combination of the background color, along with the two alternating colors of the gem… because after a while the colors end up matching the background, this giving it the illusion of changing direction. It only happens when the gem gets to a certain color spot.

  51. Actually, neither stops spinning. The bottom does not continue all the way around the rim of the top, it is only halfway around. So you see the back of the bottom rotating, which makes it appear to be changing directions.

  52. If you follow one of the corners on the top of the diamond you can see that it is in fact only rotating in one direction.

  53. It works for me. All you have to do is continuously look at the very bottom of the diamond and it changes direction.Nice!

  54. Well, this effect is well known by 3D mappers :

    The cone rotates clockwise around its top-point axis, and clockwise around a vertical axis. But the trick is that the top hexagon is always shown over the other faces, even when it should be hided : that creates the feeling it’s spinning the other side, because it gets mmirrored. It’s technically called “textures clipping”.

    Hope it’s clear, have a good day ;)

  55. This is exactly same as spinning lady who in reality isn’t really spinning. the figure is first drawn of lady standing still and then next drawing is made showing arm and leg slightly out to left and then another drawing slightly more out to the left and then maybe 30 more drawings going all the way to the left, and then 30 more drawings going all the way back to the lady standing still drawing, and then wait x amount of time (the time in which the arm and leg would be hidden from person viewing the spin in real time) then start the arm and leg drawings going from still position to the right same as on the left side. So what you are almost really seeing (but not quite) is movement from point of origin to left, back to point of origin, and then your looking at the point of origin for a while, and then your seeing movement out to the right and then back to point of origin. What your looking at is not really moving at all which explains why your brain is able to make it reverse the spin (that really isn’t happening) Your just looking at a bunch of still pictures, funny how it is so easy to fool a person

  56. This one can be easily solved by using computer print screen function. If you click print screen soon as top of gem starts to rotate counter-clockwise, then open the frozen image in paint(click edit, paste in paint) you will see that the lines of the gem body are not lined up with the lines of the top. If you look at a real transparent gem spinning the lines would never be out of alignment like this. In answer to your question as to whether or not this could be the greatest illusion on this site the answer is no. The spinning lady is the greater of the 2 illusions, because of the fact that she can spin in both directions. You can look at this spinning gem till your blue in the face and it will always be moving body of gem clock-wise, and top, back and forth. To be able to rotate clockwise and counter-clock wise at unlimited varying intervals is a level above what the spinning gem can do…

  57. To me it appears as if it is spinning one way and then when it reaches where it would be facing the back it turns around and rotates in the opposite direction when turning to the other side (L or R). But then I read one of the other comments saying it only spins one way and I looked back at it and it only changes for me sometimes now. D:

  58. Fun! This and the spinning girl are a couple of my favorites on this site. It’s amazing how difficult it is to force my brain to switch gears long enough to see the the image spin the other way.

  59. exactly as someone said above concentrate on the point if you follow the gray side you can actually follow its full circle.

  60. I don’t know about that e-mail or any others I forgot about. They all ended up having mail that ended up being spam I don’t need. I should make a new one, but anyways:

    I don’t like the spinning woman one; it’s bullshit. I can only see it spin clockwise. Fuck that.

    As far as this gem goes, you see it spin both ways because IT’S A GEM… like a gift (in no tie to it’s historical meaning of giving a hand or item as a gift for marriage). It’s a “gift” of presence of how nature works… simply… and not really manipulatively. The truth is that it didn’t matter which way it spun. Because it’s computer-generated, we won’t know if the “spinner of the object” is spinning it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Am I correct? It appears to be spinning one direction, but because no one is literally spinning it, we won’t EVER know which way is… lol

    Now, if anyone can take A REAL gem and spin it in the direction it is spun for us, and use computer works to remove the person spinning it fluently with the fingers, let’s see if we can STILL tell! If I am wrong, okay, but if I am right, it would be interesting JUST TO SEE a real-life person spinning a gem and then putting it on video for Myth Busters or something. I wanted to see that show but I am never watching it.

  61. I also think it’s therapeutic to watch it spin. I don’t know how Myth Busters can prove monitors don’t harm the eyes or which TVs actually do, based on WHAT lights up the screens, but I’d like to know and see prove… like the molecules deterring the eyes or something… I’d LOVE that… and to be smart enough to know it’s true or still false.

  62. the cone is only half, so what you see as it spins alternates from external (outside surface) of the half cone and the flat base, the the interior (inside surface) of the half cone and the flat base.

  63. Ok so here what i think:
    Its the way your mind thinks of the stone as. FOr me i think of it as a clear gem so its looks to me that when it reaches complete verticallism its still spinning in one direction and i can just see through it. But if i think about it the other way like you said it appears to change directs because the marks on the gem spin other ways.

    So basically its a brain fart :P

  64. the diamond spins clockwise the entire time. simply focus on the point at the very bottom, it is clear to see it is moving just one direction. during the spin cycle of the shape, it over-laps itself for a split second, giving the illusion of a change in rotation.

  65. It is an octagon going to a point. The octagon is in 6 pieces, cerulean and indigo. The mind sees one color as solid and the other as transparent.

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