3 unmissable optical illusions that wowed TikTok

Red circle on a blue background from one of the best TikTok optical illusions
(Image credit: IncognitaMundi via YouTube)

Optical illusions are hugely popular on TikTok, and it feels like every week a new video goes viral on the app. From mind-bending mirror tricks to classic op-art puzzles, it's clear that optical illusions are here to stay and that the internet cannot get enough of them.

This year we've seen a number of incredible TikTok optical illusions reach virality. Some more mind-blowing than others (you'll see what I mean), but one thing's for certain, we'll never get bored of having our minds confused. If you want even more optical illusions, check out our collection of must-see optical illusions. But first, here are three of our favourite TikTok optical illusions of this year so far.

01. Matrix glitch TikTok optical illusion


♬ original sound - Kevin Winnik

TikTokers were thoroughly creeped out by this TikTok optical illusion that was claimed to show a "glitch in the matrix". The so-called 'creepy' illusion showed an egg reflected in a mirror, despite being hidden behind a solid object - chilling stuff, we know. (But TikTok isn't known for its intellectual content, remember the Grimace shake trend that went viral earlier this year?).

TikTokkers commenting on the video were disturbed by the revelation, questioning how the mirror 'knows' what's behind the paper, or how it can 'see' the hidden object. Could it be proof that we're in a simulation? Are we in another dimension? Unfortunately, no. The real answer is a little less exciting. 

The truth behind the illusion is the work of simple physics, in which the mirror merely reflects light that we then see at an angle. The light reflecting off the object is still able to reach our eyes after being reflected by the mirror, so no glitches here folks, just good ol' science. 

02. Dotty optical illusion


Nobody can see all of them! 🤯🤯

♬ Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show

Shared by TikTok user HecticNick, this next video drove TikTokers wild with the viral disappearing dots optical illusion. It consists of 12 dots on a grey grid that appear to flit in and out of existence as the viewer gazes at them. In fact, the more you focus the more the dots seem to disappear around your focal point, making it a frustrating illusion, to say the least.

But fear not, there's always a rational explanation. In this case, the dots appear to disappear because we have rather limited peripheral vision. Our brains automatically assume that the familiar grid pattern of lines will continue, so they fill in the details at the edges of our field of vision. 

Another reason that this sneaky illusion is so mind-bending is due to the grey shade of the intersecting grid lines. Because of this, there is less contrast, meaning that the small black dots are even more disguised to our visual peripheries.

03. New colour optical illusion

This amazing TikTok optical illusion claims to reveal a colour you've never seen before... sort of. The idea is that even the most advanced monitors can't show a true representation of the colour cyan (a mixture of red, blue and green), and will instead show you a close approximation of the illusive colour. 

But thanks to this viral TikTok optical illusion, users can get a glimpse of the real cyan. All viewers have to do is stare at the white dot in the centre of the red circle and wait for the accompanying audio to stop. Once it finishes, the red dot will recede and in its place will be the bright cyan circle. 

However, be warned, users have shared that the cyan circle lingers in your vision for a while. "I can see it everywhere I look now," one viewer claimed, haunted by the cyan circle.  

Looking for more optical illusions? These are only a handful of the examples we've seen this year. If you'd like to boggle your brain some more, check out this optical illusion photo that's been captivating the internet, or take a look at Müller's optical illusion ad campaign that revived the iconic Magic Eye illusions.

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Natalie Fear
Staff Writer

Natalie is Creative Bloq's staff writer. With an eye for trending topics and a passion for internet culture, she brings you the latest in art and design news. A recent English Literature graduate, Natalie enjoys covering the lighter side of the news and brings a fresh and fun take to her articles. Outside of work (if she’s not glued to her phone), she loves all things music and enjoys singing sweet folky tunes.