Magic Eye: The optical illusion, explained



The science behind the stereogram craze of the 1990s. You might have remembered when sterograms appeared on Seinfeld. Learn about how these images trick the brain.

Sources:
MagicEye.com http://www.magiceye.com/
MagicEye.js http://peeinears.github.io/MagicEye.js/
EasyStereogramBuilder.com http://www.easystereogrambuilder.com/3d-stereogram-maker.aspx

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Fahad Hameed

Fahad Hashmi is one of the known Software Engineer and blogger likes to blog about design resources. He is passionate about collecting the awe-inspiring design tools, to help designers.He blogs only for Designers & Photographers.

50 thoughts on “Magic Eye: The optical illusion, explained

  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    For those of you who are having trouble seeing it, really all you can try to do is imagine that whatever screen you're looking at is transparent, and then try to look past it, "into the distance".
    The beauty of these pictures is that once you hit the right amount of divergence, the repeating patterns will lock themselves into place, and you'll be able to look around and see the hidden stuff freely, without your eyes converging back. Then, do it enough times and you will have full control over the divergence.
    Take it slow though. Start with the picture with the Airplanes, Dinosaurs and Cakes, it is a HUGE help!

    For those of you who are gonna say that this is fake, the hidden message at 6:31 is "wow you did it" and "good job", and for the still skeptical, the one at the end is a winky face.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    I find the cross eyed version much easier to see speciallyt if you're far from the image.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    I'm having issues trying to see double. Even with my eyes relaxed and everything out of focus, I don't see double until about 3-4" from the screen. I also noticed that when looking at my monitor, I already seem to be in a relaxed state for viewing. I've been gaming for decades and I think I learned to relax my eyes in order to reduce eye strain and learned to compensate for the otherwise double vision. I'm also noticing that when reading text on the screen, I'm not looking directly at the text to read it, my eyes are circling around the text, like I'm reading with my peripheral vision. If I purposefully focus like one would expect with normal reading, I feel increased eye strain, although the text is clearer when looking directly at it. I have 16/20 vision.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    I saw them, but everything that was supposed to pop out popped in instead. I must be crossing my eyes the wrong way? (Focusing in front instead of behind the picture?)

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Mall Rats, how funny. β€œI’ll go wolverine bezerk style on his ass”.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Before I watch this, I'm gonna mention I have never been able to see whatever the pictures are supposed to be.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Such neat visual tricks can be used in design and architecture, where optical illusions can make the rooms to appear larger πŸ™‚

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Much easier to look at your hand a foot away from your phone and then move your phone where your hand is while still concentrating on the your hand. Dont focus on the phone until you feel your eyes shift and focus on the image in what feels realy wierd but then your eyes will gradually make out a 3d image and its easy to hold it and look around at the picture unless you look away or close your eyes for more then a second. Do it enough and you can train your eyes to automatically shift to the magic eye. You train your eyes to look at something differently and when they notice a pattern they will focus on it and lock in like if that was the way eyes normal focus on something but only cause you can see something and you want to see more of it and the brain wants what you want so its easy to focus the magic eye and keep it like that.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    This makes me mad, HOW THE HELL DO YOU LOOK THROUGH THE PICTURE?!?!?! 😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩😩 I give up trying to figure out these dumb magic eye things, unless someone has a better explanation for me without ruining my eyes trying to look THROUGH a photo.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    i hate them bc i have a lazy eye and instead of going in, my eye goes out

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Before Magic Eye came out, I discovered this phenomena by chance. I was doing sound for a band, and looking down at the knobs of a 24-channel mixer. I let my eyes relax, which made them widen. Then I refocused, without my eyes narrowing, and it was like I was looking down on a city of tall buildings from an airplane. I realized how it worked, so when the Magic Eye stuff came out, it was easy for me to do.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    i couldn't see anything at first then i tried to look at my eye lashes, then slowly bring my eyes down without focusing, then you start to see the illusions it's crazy.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    The wallpaper example helped me a lot because I'm used to looking at stereoscopic images

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    that stuff never worked on me!, neither those books or on screen! noone could explain why, but at military trial they said, i have no 3d vision πŸ˜‰

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Yup I've never been able to see these. When I was young, I had a lazy eye, and now I wear glasses. I hope that's the reason

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    When I was a child, I would sometimes accidentally focus each eye separately on a a repeated image in a chain-link fence. This made these stereograms easier to see later, occasionally even doing a "double-deep" where you focus each eye on point's double-wide apart, making the image appear deeper, or in the case of "Magic Eye" (I own a first edition), scramble the image in some cases. Cool piece by Fong!

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    With regard to the wallpaper stereogram graphic, I saw none of what you [host] claimed/insisted that I should see — just like with my experience with magic eye "art" back in the '90s.

    The eye strain from trying to see what I allegedly should be able to see gives me a headache; so, I get frustrated and give up.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    Here are all the hidden images that weren't explicitly explained, in order (except for the ones in the low res vhs videos): horizontal folds, spiral, fighter jet, flower, birds and bees mid flight, water ripple, knots, taj mahal, diamond shape, pig, heart, hand, dinosaur, fish, knot, fawns, horizontal folds, heads, lamb, fawn, turkey and pumpkins, winking smiley

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    One of those people that just can't see it. Considering I also failed the depth perception test when entering the military, probably some sort of impairment πŸ™ Although in practice my depth perception is pretty good so it seems I naturally got used to using other cues for depth.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    for anyone watching this on a computer, try using your phone instead. makes the images a lot easier to see imo

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    feelings of nostalgia indeed!!! took me awhile in my young years to figure it out..almost gone full cross-eyed too!! lol but when i did, i couldn't help but bring that book to school to show mutual friends…most of them never got it though…

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    I got it right away when they came out, but everyone kept going on and on about how it is in 3D and it looks like it is right there.

    It ISN'T 3D, it just looks like you cut out a copy of the poster in the silhouette of the object and floated it slightly above the poster. Underwhelming after all of the hype.

    Stereoscopes blow stereograms away.

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  • May 23, 2018 at 6:36 am
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    who else can't watch these because of the annoying American accents? like if you agree, double like if you can even think about VICE videos without thinking about their aswful accents

    Reply

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