The most mind-blowing optical illusions of 2022

Having our minds boggled by optical illusions is one of our favourite distractions here at Creative Bloq. Optical illusions can delight us, educate us and just plain confuse us, and we've seen plenty of examples of all of that over this past year.

Over the past 12 months, we've seen everything, from accidental optical illusions to illusions intentionally devised to baffle our brains. From a double illusion with dots that appear to change and disappear to hidden faces, some were so good, they're worth revisiting again. Below are three of our favourites that continued to impress us throughout the year.

Want to make your own illusions? Consider investing in the best graphic design software for the tools you need. In the meantime, here's our pick of the best optical illusions of 2022.

 Chromostereopsis optical illusion

One of the best optical illusions of 2022

Do you see 2D or 3D in this optical illusion? (Image credit: Tom Stafford )

This first optical illusion had our brains aching just from the name alone. Chromostereopsis might not trip easily off the tongue, but it refers to a type of illusion that creates the impression of depth in a two-dimensional colour image, usually a combination of red–blue or red–green.

The example above was designed by the cognitive scientist Tom Stafford (opens in new tab). The optical illusion depicts a blue pupil inside a red eye socket, but for some it appears that the pupil is receding into the screen, with a vast distance between the red and blue. 

Stafford notes that there are big differences in how the effect is perceived among different people. People report differences in which colour looks closer too. It explores how we perceive things and unlocks endless debate as people see it in different ways.

Two optical illusions for the price of one

A gif of an optical illusion showing dots on a red background

You can get two optical illusions out of this one (Image credit: Lenstore)

Two optical illusions in one? You’ve got my attention. This White dot GIF illusion designed by the contact lens supplier Lenstore (opens in new tab) might suck you in for hours if you're not careful. It shows a series of grey dots arranged in a circle on a red background, with two of the dots a different colour at any one time. But all of the dots can be made to either change colour or to vanish completely if you look at the right spot.

Confused? Just choose one of the moving dots to look at. To make all of the dots change colour, follow the light grey dot that you've chosen as it moves around the circle. After around 30 seconds, the rest of the dots should turn a teal/green shade. Want rid of the dots altogether? Just stare at the cross in the centre of the circle for 30 seconds and all of the dots should disappear.

Hidden faces optical illusion

Oleg Shupliak optical illusion

Some of these painterly optical illusions are wonderfully done (Image credit: Oleg Shupliak)

It can be debated whether this one counts as an optical illusion, but it’s impressive all the same. Rather than a psychological/physiological optical illusion, this faces optical illusion is a literal illusion created intentionally by an artist.

The Ukrainian artist Oleg Shupliak (opens in new tab) creates paintings with faces hidden inside them – sometimes the faces are fairly obvious to spot, at other times it takes some searching to see them. He's been creating the pieces for over three decades now. The internet loves them, and they certainly draw us in to make us look at the detail in his work. At first glance, many of Shupliak’s illusions look like abstract depictions of faces, but as you look closer, detailed landscapes or other scenes emerge.

Hungry for more bafflement? Make sure you see our pick of the best optical illusions of all time of all time, the best animal optical illusions or this mind-boggling optical illusion that claims to reveal a whole new colour.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.