Optical illusions have been blowing the minds of the internet for a while now and the latest illusion to surface is no different. At first glance this photo of a group of teens looks to be in full colour, right? Wrong.
This black and white image is using a 'colour assimilation grid illusion' which has tricked our brains into thinking that it's in full colour. This effect has been made by laying a grid of coloured lines over the original black-and-white image. You can have a go at making your own 3D illusions using our helpful step-by-step guide.
Optical scientist Bart Anderson told ScienceAlert (opens in new tab) "The colour system is what vision scientists refer to as 'low pass', i.e., many of the receptive fields that code colour are quite large. The grids get 'averaged' with the achromatic background, which then gets attributed to that part of the image." And as one Twitter user (opens in new tab) calculated, 36% of this photo is actually coloured, so technically our brains are just filling in the gaps, making the photo look coloured.
Digital media artist and software developer Øyvind Kolås (opens in new tab) is the man behind the illusion. Kolås has experimented with a number of different overlay textures to see what would work best. The artist was able to create a similar but less effective illusion with dots, stripes and also words.
We aren't the only ones feeling completely mesmerised by these illusions — the internet is also totally baffled, with users taking to Twitter to express their confusion. One user even had a go at making their own colour grid assimilation illusion.
pic.twitter.com/P8qMINLqnXJanuary 6, 2021
I keep being amazed that we can function at all, given that our ability to percieve what's happening around us is so obviously flawed.July 27, 2021
Hello i know ahmm this not digital painting but i just really wanna share this, Im exploring and experiment an optical art inspired by Oyvind Kolas and so many people who made this kind of art, so here's my colour assimilation grid illusion art. #artph #artshare#graphicdesigner pic.twitter.com/UlOSPbnvKtSeptember 17, 2020
We love a great illusion here at Creative Bloq and this magically coloured photo is no exception. After knowing all the science behind this trick of the eye, we feel inspired to have a go at making our own. If you enjoyed this illusion, you may like our list of 12 mind-bending optical illusions.