Pinball Wizard

Michael Pickard

Sunderland University, UK


The interesting thing about the Pinball Wizard illusion is that it breaks the ‘rules’. Whilst the classic Rubin Vase illusion demonstrates how we automatically segregate foreground and background in an image, in this illusion a single image is seen acting simultaneously as both, giving rise to an illusory sense of rotation.
Using visual cues to create an impression of depth and carefully chosen colour values, a static screen is combined with an animation of horizontally traversing spheres. The screen appears simultaneously as background and as foreground surface on the spheres – inducing a sense of rotation as the spheres move.

Read more about the illusion and possible explanations

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