lunedì 5 settembre 2011

Making Optical Illusions

Reality is merely an illusion,
although a very persistent one’
Albert Einstein

As you certainly know, optical illusion is a particular style of art that plays tricks on our eyes and consequently baffles our perception. You might almost put the effect down to faulty vision, and in fact these visual tricks are sometimes used to assess the performance of the eye or the brain.

For centuries, visual illusions have been created by means of the ingenuity of the human brain and they have exerted an enduring fascination on the viewer. Since the arrival of the printing press and, later, film and digital imagery, millions of illusions have been produced in the name of art, science, education and, especially in the modern world, entertainment.

Creating a new optical illusion, or even reproducing one that already exists, may constitute a real challenge for your artistic skills, or it may simply represent an original and funny way to express your creativity. With the aid of my new book “Drawing Optical Illusions” and a little patience, you will be able to draw effective and powerful optical illusions in a reasonable amount of time.

This guide contains a collection of recent and ancient optical illusion effects, along with demonstrations and tips to inspire you to create your own work. The different optical illusions are organized by effects and applications, such as moving patterns, impossible or ambiguous figures, color effects and distortion effects, presented in a way that will make it easy for you to put them into practice.

The French painter Edgar Degas once said that art is not what you see, but what you make others see. Yet if any artwork is in itself already an illusion, then visual illusion pictures represent an art style that plays a game with our perception twice over. The illusionist artist has first to persuade the viewer that his or her depiction is real, though what the viewer sees is not the reality but a two-dimensional representation of it, made with the help of visual conventions and rules. At the very moment the viewer is going to be convinced, he or she falls into the perceptual trap of the second illusion, the real one created by the illusionist artist, plunging him or her into a state of cognitive hesitation and surprise. In fact, visual illusions are a kind of mental diversion – they capture the attention and are intriguing, challenging and fun as well. In other words, optical illusions force us to pause and question the nature of reality.

You can see and read some excerpts of my book here.

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