"Mask Of Love" Illusion

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By  on May 20, 2011, with 58 Comments 

Each year in May, Vision Sciences Society holds its Best Illusion of The Year contest and this year’s absolute winner was an illusion by Jordan Suchow and George Alvarez from Harvard. Originally called “Silencing awareness of change by background motion” (or shorter “Silencing Illusion”) is something we already talked about few months ago, so in this post I shall concentrate on another piece that made it all the way to the final round.

Now look carefully. 

Created by Gianni Sarcone, Courtney Smith and Marie-Jo Waeber, Venetian mask below holds an interesting secret! Before we begin, I’d like to ask if you notice anything special in it? Observe carefully! Now if I told you how surprising number of people miss noticing that the main component of the mask is actually composed of two distinct faces a man and a woman kissing one another, how would you react? Apparently, once the viewer discerns two individual faces, his/her brain will flip between two possible interpretations of the mask, making the viewer perceive two faces or one face in alternation. This kind of illusion, where the viewer experiences two equally possible interchangeable stable states in perception, is called bistable illusion. If you weren’t able to see the two lovers, you may find the solution here.

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0 responses to “"Mask Of Love" Illusion

  1. Not at first, but I did see the two faces in profile after your prompt. The trick is to focus on (to us) the right eye, then you’ll see the man’s nose, then the woman’s profile on the left.

  2. Very clever illusion, Steve. I didn’t see two faces until you explained what to look for. This was helped by the soft blur on the faces, removing any changes in skin texture that would tell. Also, my eyes did not want to focus on the out-of-focus portion of the picture, when the metallic area was in focus.

  3. At first I did see two faces but they both looked to the front, it was the chin line that seemed odd. Then after reading the article I saw the two faces kissing.
    I have some of those fractal type pictures that hide a 3D image. The trick there is to softly focus beyond the image.
    Subliminal messages again. How much does our brain understand while bypassing conscious thought?

  4. I could not see it either till I looked at the hint. It’s funny that once your mind can see it you can go back and forth ( Well I can) between seeing one face or two.
    Question? Do you like these kind of things? I found a few sites with some weird stuff and I like it. Just want to make sure people like it. I did not realize but there are like 20 “Genres” of “Illusions” I’ll put up another post in a while with a few types.
    I’m fascinated by some of it. Did you see the one from yesterday?

    • That would be good. Those pavement artists with their “trompe l’oeil” art are so clever. One of those pictures was a ‘hole’ in the pavement, very real-looking. Here in France you get building art, whole scenes painted realistically on sides of buildings.
      There are some classic art pieces that incorporate illusions, some to convey a secret message. I forget the artists, but they were things like skulls and one was an artist’s palette that then turned into a picture if you held a mirror to it.

      • minou, yes that and more is what I have found. Amazing stuff. OK as long as others like it I’ll do some posts on it. I just got side tracked with the alien post I just added. Take a look at newest post. Weird. I’ll do some stuff in a bit.

  5. Old North State

    Very cool! i needed to read the prompt also. Has anyone else seen the shape-shifting Secret Service agent/Lizard at Obama’s AIPAC speech?


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