Every optical illusion you ever need in one video

Mauro Vecchi has covered just about all the of the most popular optical illusions with graceful and brief animations. When I first watched this, I wondered if I should just give up and go on vacation. But I’m inspired. The trick of optical illusions serves to break down into simple disctinctions information on how our eyes and brain interact with the world. So this video instead of being the final say is really more the opening dialogue. The task ahead is to bridge the optical illusions to creating beauty in art through an understanding of how we see. Enjoy.

32 Poles

With 32 Poles, I was going for a much more subtle effect than in the 3 other pole pages. By using a blue and orange that are complements and are closer in value and as well using a greater number of poles, the steps are more subtle and the effect is more powerful. Almost the entire row of 31 poles will appear orange when the last pole is selected and matches the background. And vis versa, when the far left pole is selected, the rest of the poles look blue.

In addition, the grid on the far left allows you to see the poles against a stronger blue and stronger orange than the extreme left and right poles. It also allows you to clear your eye fatigue by opting for a clear white, black or neutral gray background.

How many colors do you see?

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This is a natural phenomenon of our eyes. The background, or context of a color, affects how we see it. What the evolutionary traits of this are, I have no idea, but we’ve learned in the class how a painter can use these phenomenon to create luminosity– vibrancy among colors.

The homework in the previous exercise was to make 4 different colors look as if there were only 3. The effect is not based on any tricks, if anything it is simply the illusion created by the natural state of our eyes. Our eyes are constantly adjusting not just to the light in a room but as well to the variance of color.

Impressionist painters used a similar effect in their work.

These insights on color have profoundly affected my own work.

El color es relativo

Does anyone who speaks Spanish care to translate? Color is relative is mentioned in an Argentine publication– Tam Tam.

Nuestra percepción del brillo y la luminosidad de un color depende de sus colores vecinos. Lo podés comprobar con algunos pequeños experimentos. En el primero, deslizando el mouse sobre el panel central cambiás el color del fondo. El segundo es similar pero ofrece la gama completa entre el amarillo y el azul. El tercero trabaja con grises. En todos los casos fijate cómo los colores invariables parecen más apagados, más oscuros, más vivaces o más intensos según cuáles sean sus vecinos. Este fenómeno de la visión ayuda a explicar algunas ilusiones ópticas; por ejemplo, aquella en la que dos casilleros de un tablero de ajedrez están pintados con el mismo tono de gris aunque no lo parezca para nada.

S.h.u. said…


“Our perception of a color’s splendor and luminosity depends on its neighboring colors. It can be proven with just a few small experiments. On the first one, slide your mouse over the central panel and your background color will change. The second one is a lot similar, but it offers the entire range of colors between yellow and blue. The third one works with the color gray. In every case focus on how the invariable colors seem to be more shut down, darker, more vivid or more intense, depending on its neighbors. This visual phenomenon helps explain some optical illusions. For example: the one in which two squares of a chess board are colored in the same shade of gray even though it doesn’t look like it at all.”

You’re welcome 😉

Launch of Color is Relative

Color is Relative is a website dedicated to showing luminosity achieved through simple color combinations. On the site, the image at left is interactive. By moving the mouse over a single swatch the background color of the page will change to the same color. The effect is intended to show the impact of changing the context of color.

In the next month, I will be releasing my next series of paintings that will be based on the color theory I have learned from Dick Nelson.

You can also visit my color page on facebook. Seeing Things, Color is Relative.

The grid seems to change color as you move the mouse over each swatch. Take your time.

This is the alpha version, please let me know your reaction and make comments.


Anonymous said…

Shannon Del Vecchio said…
Wow, it’s fascinating how the center swatches don’t seem to match the background because of the other colors around them…

Anonymous said…
Love the color matrix page. Eager to see art work. Pook

Dana said…
wow!!! this is cool i wanna see some zen shiz on this site..u rock gabe

bp said…
Wow, that’s pretty amazing.

Anonymous said…
Gorgeous colors WOW!