The Phantom Queen

2021 First prize
Matt Pritchard – “The Phantom Queen “

Author description: The main illusion in this video shows a chess board and its reflection in a mirror. However, there’s a phantom White Queen piece that only appears as a reflection, leaving a mysterious empty square in the foreground. The illusion is achieved by creating a camouflaged invisibility cloak that shields the Queen from one viewing angle. The shape and pattern of this shield also disguise its presence when viewed from a second angle that comes from the mirror’s reflection. The video also shows other applications of this anamorphic camouflage to create a remarkable magical appearance and an invisible cube.

adminThe Phantom Queen

The Changing Room Illusion

2021 Second prize
Michael A. Cohen – “The Changing Room Illusion
Institution: Amherst College/MIT

Author description: The Changing Room Illusion is an example of “graduate change blindness,” a phenomenon in which observers are unable to notice changes to the world around them when those changes occur gradually. In virtually all prior cases, gradual change blindness is studied by changing individual objects (e.g., a chimney disappearing or a facial expression shifting). While trying to prepare a novel example of this phenomenon for students, I realized that I could change dozens of items change without observers noticing. Overall, this illusion highlights how people may actually perceive and remember far more of the world around them than they intuitively realize.

adminThe Changing Room Illusion

The Double Ring Illusion

2021 Third prize
Dawei Bai & Brent Strickland  – “The Double Ring Illusion
Institution: Département d’Études Cognitives, École Normale Supérieure, PSL Research University, Institut Jean Nicod Paris, France and Africa Business School; School of Collective Intelligence , Morocco

Authors description: When two bistable rings are presented separately, they appear to move in unstable 360° rotations. However, if the same rings partially overlap, they now appear to move in stable 180° rotations, bouncing back and forth – as if they avoid passing through each other. Remarkably, when one ring is holed, in a way that the other ring can pass through the holes, the unstable 360° percept is restored. In all three cases, the rings undergo the exact same motion, but our visual system interprets the stimuli differently depending on whether the rings can traverse each other.

adminThe Double Ring Illusion

Crocs & Socks

Pascal Wallisch & Michael Karlovich – “Crocs & Socks”
Institution: Central for Data Science, Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science at New York University” for Pascal allisch “Recursia Studios” for Michael Karlovich.

Author description:  This illusion demonstrates – for the first time – the role of beliefs in color perception. In the “Crocs & Socks”, under normal lighting conditions all people see the Crocs as pink. When put under green light, most people see the same Crocs as grey. However, some people – those that believe the socks are white, even though they appear green – are able to look past appearances and see the Crocs as pink, just like they did under regular light. Amazingly, when we make the socks actually white, people agree that the Crocs are grey, illustrating the power of assumptions.

adminCrocs & Socks

Emergent City Flyby with Colossus

Christopher Tyler and David Phillips – “Emergent City Flyby with Colossus
Institution: City University of London and unaffiliated
United kingdom

Author description: Much of the visual system is concerned with the detection of edges as a basis for seeing structures, but motion parallax provides complex object structure without explicit luminance edges or other depth cues. In the movie, a ghost city and colossus spring into vivid depth within a fraction of a second of motion onset, but reveal the illusion by vanishing when movement stops. In this way, contemporary animation brings to life the pioneering discoveries of structure from motion by Johannson and the Gibsons, by revealing the immediacy of our visual capability to perceive complex scenes from motion information alone.

adminEmergent City Flyby with Colossus

Oh La La Box

Olivier and Chloe Redon – “Oh La La Box 

Authors description:  Oh La La Box  by  Olivier and Chloe Redon (father and daughter). The geometry of the “Oh La La Box” has been carefully designed to successfully create the illusion. The two pieces of the box (front and back) visually fuse together to create what appears to be a normal ordinary  box. When both pieces (with inverted perspective) of the “Oh La La Box” are properly arranged and viewed from a precise location the box is completed.


adminOh La La Box

Slime Hand

Yutaro Sato, Kento Imai and Kenri Kodaka –  “Slime Hand”
Institution: Nagoya City University

Authors description: Slime and one stand mirror are enough to realize having a transformable hand as is sometimes seen in cartoon world. “Slime Hand” makes you feel as if each finger or skin of your hand is incredibly stretched and transformed just like slime. This is easily experienced by seeing a chunk of slime pinch-and-pulled by an experimenter in the mirror, while the hand placed behind the mirror is touched in the same way. This simple operation drastically alters the subjective material’s qualities of the hidden hand according to the slime’s amorphous shape-transformation, showing a strong flexibility of our mind accepting an alternative body.

adminSlime Hand

Rising Object Illusion

Kokichi Sugihara “Rising Object Illusion
Institution: MIMS, Meiji University

Author description: A lying object rises when it is reflected in a vertical mirror behind it. The object is typically a columnar body and the axis is horizontal directing toward the viewer. However, in the mirror the object rises with the axis directing vertically. The truth is that the object is a horizontally placed picture expanded by 1.41 (i.e., the square root of 2) in the direction of the axis, and this visual effect occurs when we see it in 45 degrees downward.

adminRising Object Illusion

Cubic Confusion

Michael Cheshire – ” Cubic Confusion”

Author description: The illusion is a two dimensional work made from wood veneers on a solid background. The impression of depth is caused by the choice of three colours of wood arranged in a hexagon to look like a 3D cube .With many hexagons arranged to overlap and of differing sizes the 3D effect becomes magnified. By adding the larger outer hexagons, makes another illusory cube which encloses and balances the whole design. The gaps between also help to give the structure a 3D effect overall. Even when shown that it is flat, we are compelled to see it as 3D.

adminCubic Confusion

The Phantom Wiggle

Peter Veto – “The Phantom Wiggle”

Author description:  A flickering light source may sometimes appear dancing/wiggling when fixated. This is commonly observed in traffic scenarios. In a video demonstration, the phenomenon is simply caused by smear (or relative lack thereof) during individual frames. In real life, however, the possible causes are less obvious.


adminThe Phantom Wiggle