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We can’t stop staring at these optical illusions

Anti-gravity optical illusion
(Image credit: StruckDuck on YouTube)

At Creative Bloq we’re obsessed with optical illusions – and we know that you lot are, too. We’re always on the lookout for the latest mind-bending images and eye-tricking videos to share, and the past few months have thrown up some real standouts.

We already did a quick round-up of the best optical illusions we’d seen in 2022 back in May, but these latest ones might just have them beaten. From still pictures that move to balls that somehow roll uphill, these illusions will have you seriously second-guessing your own brain. 

Take a look, and see whether you think these latest mischievous tricks of the eye deserve a spot on our list of the must-see optical illusions that will blow your mind.

No, the circle does NOT change colour

At first, it seems as though nothing is untoward about this moving image, depicting a circle moving from left to right and back on a gradient background, and changing colour while it does so.

An optical illusion

(Image credit: Lenstore)

Simple, right? But, the thing is, the circle actually doesn’t change colour at all. It stays exactly the same shade right the way through the gradient. You can see a breakdown in the image below, which shows the circle at every different stage of the gradient – demonstrating that it’s the same colour every time. 

Proof that the circles are all the same colour

(Image credit: Lenstore)

So how the heck does this work? According to Lenstore (opens in new tab), it’s all to do with the way the brain attempts to interpret the signals it receives from the optic nerves. When it attempts to judge what colour something is, it uses the surrounding colours to make that assessment. Hence, the blue circle appears to be different colours depending on what its background looks like. 

Rolling up that hill

While most optical illusions tend to be flat images, this one from YouTuber StruckDuck is refreshingly different because it’s actually 3D-printed. And there’s clearly some trickery afoot, because the YouTube user managed to make a small slide that a ball is capable of… rolling up? Check it out below.

If you watched the whole video, then you’ll have seen what the trick was – the slide needs to be viewed at precisely the right angle for the illusion to work. Once the camera circles around, it reveals that the slide is flat, and snakes away from the stairs to create the illusion of a slope. 

Anti-gravity optical illusion

(Image credit: StruckDuck on YouTube)

StruckDuck actually sells the STL files for this illusion via Cults (opens in new tab), so if you have access to a 3D printer you can create it for yourself – check out our guide to the best 3D printers for more.

The moving image is not, in fact, moving

And finally, here’s a hypnotic classic of the optical illusion genre – the moving-not-moving image. Take a look at this vibrant design below, and as you scroll to fill your screen with it, you’ll see that it appears to move. Shake your head while looking at it, and again it appears to move. What witchcraft is this?

The Primrose's Field optical illusion

(Image credit: Akiyoshi Kitaoka)

Nope, it’s not witchcraft. It’s just clever design by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, who has been responsible for more than a few clever optical illusions, including the spinning ball that isn’t spinning, and the black hole that won’t stop expanding. This latest one is called Primrose's Field, and it can be triggered in all sorts of ways for different people. I even found that waggling my cursor over the image was enough to get it moving again.

If all this has got you in the mood to create your own optical illusion, why not download Photoshop for yourself and try it out? Or sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud to try out the full suite of illustration programs to test your ability to create mind-bending tricks of the eye. You can check out the best deals on Creative Cloud subscriptions below.

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Jon is a freelance writer and journalist who covers photography, art, technology, and the intersection of all three. When he's not scouting out news on the latest gadgets, he likes to play around with film cameras that were manufactured before he was born. To that end, he never goes anywhere without his Olympus XA2, loaded with a fresh roll of Kodak (Gold 200 is the best, since you asked). Jon is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq, and has also written for in Digital Camera World, Black + White Photography Magazine, Photomonitor, Outdoor Photography, Shortlist and probably a few others he's forgetting.