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Top 10 Optical Illusions

Updated on September 15, 2012

This is a list of my 10 all time favourite optical illusions. I hope you find them as fascinating as I do!

Update: DK released this great optical illusions book in September 2012, take a look - Optical Illusions

Super Cyan!

Stare at the white dot in the centre of the red circle, and whilst continuing to do so move your head forward and backwards. For the best effect you should stare at it for 2 minutes. You will see a ring of super bright cyan appear around the red circle, and the clever part… this is a colour monitor can not actually produce!

Unbelievable tile shades

In this illusion tile A & B are exactly the same colour. I know you won’t believe me, so copy it into Microsoft paint and see for yourself… Cut out an area of Tile A and move it down over tile B, or vice versa, then Voila... told you so!

3D Dragon Illusion

This is my personal favourite, the Gathering for Gardner 3D dragon. I currently have one spicing up my office, although I’m sure people are wondering what I’m doing bobbing my head around like a lunatic whilst staring at a paper dragon! Basically it tricks the brain in a way I won’t attempt to explain, but the end result is that the dragons head follows your around the room. Insane!
You need to print this out to try it... you can download the template file for printing here:

Rotating Circles

This is one of the better rotating circle illusions. I’ve seen this adorned on many a poster, proving it is indeed a stationary image. It can really make you feel dizzy if you stare at it for too long, so be careful!

Flashing Dots

As you look around this image, you will see black dots flashing in the white circles. Well, the flashing black dots are being created by your brain!

Religious vision

Stare at the four dots in the centre of the image for 1 minute, then look away at something white or bright, like a sheet of paper or an open window, then your religious vision will appear.

Colour Blindness

You may not have considered this an optical illusion, but of course it is... at least for some people. You should see 58, 18, E, and 17 as they are indeed there. If you don’t see all of these though then you are colour blind!

The letter F

Finished files are the result
of years of scientific study
combined with the experience
of years...

How many letter F’s do your count in the sentence above? Quickly count through the scroll to the bottom of my Hub for the answer!

Square from nowhere

Rearranging the shapes above to make a new triangle breeds a single empty square out of thin air. Where did it come from? This has been worked out using fairly simple Maths, but I still don’t get it myself!

Real drawings of impossible situations

These are always cool to look at, a situation that would be impossible in the real world which can be created on paper with relative ease. Baffling!

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If you are wondering the answer to the number of F’s in the sentence, the answer is 6! A lot of people only get 3 at first. Interestingly (to me anyway), I have found that children, or adults with dyslexia tend to find all 6 straight away.


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    • profile image

      jjk 4 years ago

      the religious vision is weired

    • skydiver profile image

      skydiver 5 years ago from UK

      I love returning to this hub and checking out the illusions. My favourite is the 'Gathering for Gardner' blue dragon, where I often come back to get the PDF to print it out. Great for the office!

    • profile image

      Flavius 5 years ago

      I don't have dyslexia, i'm a kid, and i did find the 6 "F"s

    • profile image

      Elfeujun Sampaga 6 years ago

      The one that fascinated me most is the Letter F, I really did not found the "f" in both the of the "of".

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      little mama 7 years ago

      im doing a thing about you people can you tell me some stuff about what you do ?

    • profile image

      Michael 7 years ago

      These are tight optical illusions!

    • profile image

      Zeb 7 years ago


      The triangle illusion is easily explained by the fact that the entire "large triangle" is not an actual pythagorean triangle. In the transition from the red to the green triangle, you can clearly see a knack in (if it WERE a pythagorean triangle) the "c" side. This knack is bent inwards in the top image and bent outwards in the lower image. The surface gained in the lower image is represented by a white "extra" square, where this is compensated for in the knack outwards.

    • profile image

      Zeb 7 years ago

      Hm.. I beat letmetellyou. Did the cyan circle of doom illusion (which isn't actually an illusion, but the after-effect of stimulating photo-electric sensors) for 3 minutes straight, and the effect took about 2 minutes to completely wear off.

      @ jewels:

      Paintings where the eyes would follow you actually do not exist in the sense of the word. For instance, the Mona Lisa would be one of them, but the only actual thing happening is that her look is so bland, that you can't really tell where she is looking. And that is only to her left side. If you are standing to her right, you can definitely see that she is looking to the left.


      You can actually find the PDF of the dragon illusion on the web, you do not have to buy them.

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      Pulkileska 7 years ago

      Okay, so cool my report on optical ollusions was a hit without bam!SKYDIVER! i think i know you! Wow im in talk mode and im going insane so wayway BAMo! Whachmawee!

    • skydiver profile image

      skydiver 8 years ago from UK

      So, does anyone dare challenge Letmetellyou and beat the 2 minute mark? :D Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for you looking daft in front of your family, friends, or work colleagues.

    • letmetellyou profile image

      letmetellyou 8 years ago from everywhere

      the cyan was horrible. after staring at it for almost two minutes, I couldn't stop seeing the blue circle everywhere I look. i nearly flipped out

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      Toy Master 8 years ago

      Hey skydiver, these are awesome! I love seeing that impossible color!

    • skydiver profile image

      skydiver 8 years ago from UK

      Hi Jewels :) I'm not sure about the paintings where the eyes follow you, I've never seen how they work! It's hard to explain how the dragon works, but if you make it you will see!

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 8 years ago from ma

      Great optical illusions. I saw the dragons before and loved them too. I didn't know I could buy them somewhere. That is great.


    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      Is that similar to paintings where the eyes follow you?

    • skydiver profile image

      skydiver 8 years ago from UK

      Hi Jewels, glad you liked the hub! I've tried to blend illusions I've picked up over many years, so hopefully there will be a few illusions here people haven't seen before :)

      ...I want to hear from people who have tried the Dragon Illusion!

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      I could be an adult with dyslexia?

      This was fun, an interactive hub. I was surprised at the religious illusion.

      Now I want to show my friends.