Mind-bending optical illusion makes a flat object look 3D

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You’d be forgiven for thinking this picture showed a pile of coins sitting on a 3D cube.

But not everything on this table is real, and what you’re actually seeing is a simple ‘anamorphic’ illusion.  

This mind-bending optical illusion shows a flat object that looks distorted from most angles but aligns to form a perfect cube shape when viewed from one position. 

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The footage shows a printed object that looks distorted from most angles but aligns to form a perfect cube shape when viewed from one correct angle

The footage shows a printed object that looks distorted from most angles but aligns to form a perfect cube shape when viewed from one correct angle

ANAMORPHIC ILLUSIONS

What you are looking at is a simple ‘anamorphic’ illusion.

Anamorphic illusions are distorted projections that only work if whoever is seeing them stands in a specific spot.

The moment you move, the image becomes distorted and the viewer can see it is an illusion.

The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux may be the first examples of anamorphosis because the oblique angles of the cave would otherwise result in distorted figures from a viewer’s perspective. 

However, Leonardo da Vinci was the the earliest known modern artist to use anamorphosis in 1485.

Sage Hansen, 29, created the video from his home in Texas,, on 10 December.

Mr Hansen, a 3D animator, said: ‘I created a virtual cube and camera angle in my 3D software.

‘I then started to draw lines at random positions and angles until they aligned in the camera’s perspective.

‘I then extruded the lines to make them thicker and rounded off the corners to soften the lighting. I then printed the object on my 3D printer’, he said.  

The boxes only appear real when filmed at a certain angle. 

The moment you move, the image becomes distorted and the viewer can see it is an illusion. 

The 3D designing took Mr Hansen around two and a half hours per cube.

‘I have always enjoyed seeing forced perspective chalk art’, he said.   

What you are looking at is a simple ‘anamorphic’ illusion which is a distorted projection that only works if whoever is seeing it stands in a specific spot

What you are looking at is a simple ‘anamorphic’ illusion which is a distorted projection that only works if whoever is seeing it stands in a specific spot

What you are looking at is a simple ‘anamorphic’ illusion which is a distorted projection that only works if whoever is seeing it stands in a specific spot

Sage Hansen, 29, created the video from his home in Texas, USA, on 10 December. Mr Hansen, a 3D animator, said: 'I created a virtual cube and camera angle in my 3D software

Sage Hansen, 29, created the video from his home in Texas, USA, on 10 December. Mr Hansen, a 3D animator, said: 'I created a virtual cube and camera angle in my 3D software

Sage Hansen, 29, created the video from his home in Texas, USA, on 10 December. Mr Hansen, a 3D animator, said: ‘I created a virtual cube and camera angle in my 3D software

‘I got my first 3D printer in 2014. The printers have come a long way in a short time and they have made many improvements so I got my current 3D printer in 2016. 

‘This idea for the illusion cubes came to me in the middle of the night and when I woke up and started to search online and didn’t see this, I knew it would be a fun challenge for me to create.’

The system of perspective is a relatively recent discovery in artistic history.

Before the 14th Century little to no attempts were made to realistically depict the three dimensional world in the way  we are now accustomed to seeing it. Pictured is the cube

Before the 14th Century little to no attempts were made to realistically depict the three dimensional world in the way  we are now accustomed to seeing it. Pictured is the cube

Before the 14th Century little to no attempts were made to realistically depict the three dimensional world in the way we are now accustomed to seeing it. Pictured is the cube

The system of perspective is a relatively recent discovery in artistic history. Mr Hansen said he got the idea for the illusion cubes came to me in the middle of the night

The system of perspective is a relatively recent discovery in artistic history. Mr Hansen said he got the idea for the illusion cubes came to me in the middle of the night

The system of perspective is a relatively recent discovery in artistic history. Mr Hansen said he got the idea for the illusion cubes came to me in the middle of the night

The boxes only appear real when filmed at a certain angle. The moment you move, the image becomes distorted and the viewer can see it is an illusion

The boxes only appear real when filmed at a certain angle. The moment you move, the image becomes distorted and the viewer can see it is an illusion

The boxes only appear real when filmed at a certain angle. The moment you move, the image becomes distorted and the viewer can see it is an illusion

The 3D designing took Mr Hansen around two and a half hours per cube. 'I have always enjoyed seeing forced perspective chalk art', he said

The 3D designing took Mr Hansen around two and a half hours per cube. 'I have always enjoyed seeing forced perspective chalk art', he said

The 3D designing took Mr Hansen around two and a half hours per cube. ‘I have always enjoyed seeing forced perspective chalk art’, he said

Mr Hansen decided that making this optical illusion would be a fun challenge. He got his first 3D printer in 2014 and said the technology has come a long way since

Mr Hansen decided that making this optical illusion would be a fun challenge. He got his first 3D printer in 2014 and said the technology has come a long way since

Mr Hansen decided that making this optical illusion would be a fun challenge. He got his first 3D printer in 2014 and said the technology has come a long way since

The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux may be the first examples of anamorphosis because the oblique angles of the cave would otherwise result in distorted figures from a viewer's perspective. Pictured here is a Mr Hansen's printed shape

The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux may be the first examples of anamorphosis because the oblique angles of the cave would otherwise result in distorted figures from a viewer's perspective. Pictured here is a Mr Hansen's printed shape

The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux may be the first examples of anamorphosis because the oblique angles of the cave would otherwise result in distorted figures from a viewer’s perspective. Pictured here is a Mr Hansen’s printed shape

Leonardo da Vinci was the the earliest known modern artist to use anamorphosis in 1485. Pictured is Mr Hansen who made the optical illusion

Leonardo da Vinci was the the earliest known modern artist to use anamorphosis in 1485. Pictured is Mr Hansen who made the optical illusion

Leonardo da Vinci was the the earliest known modern artist to use anamorphosis in 1485. Pictured is Mr Hansen who made the optical illusion

Before the 14th Century little to no attempts were made to realistically depict the three dimensional world in art in the way in which we are now accustomed to seeing it.

The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux may be the first examples of anamorphosis because the oblique angles of the cave would otherwise result in distorted figures from a viewer’s perspective. 

However, Leonardo da Vinci was the the earliest known modern artist to use anamorphosis in 1485. 

When viewed face-on, the painting The Ambassadors features a distorted shape lying diagonally across the bottom of the frame

When viewed face-on, the painting The Ambassadors features a distorted shape lying diagonally across the bottom of the frame

However, viewing the painting from an acute angle transforms it into the image of a skull

However, viewing the painting from an acute angle transforms it into the image of a skull

When viewed face-on, the painting The Ambassadors features a distorted shape lying diagonally across the bottom of the frame (left). However, viewing the painting from an acute angle transforms it into the image of a skull (right)

Possibly the most famous early example of anamorphosis is Hans Holbein the Younger’s painting, The Ambassadors. 

When viewed face-on, the painting features a distorted shape lying diagonally across the bottom of the frame. 

However, viewing the painting from an acute angle transforms it into the image of a skull.

 





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