Not everyone can see this mind-bending 3D optical illusion

How many optical illusions is too many optical illusions? We've seen countless examples recently, and it seems the internet still can't get enough of having its collective mind bent, boggled, fried, etc. But here's an illusion that's like, really deep, man. 

Showcasing a phenomenon known as chromostereopsis (catchy name, right), a new illusion is doing the rounds online. For some, the image of the eye doesn't look special, but for others (me included, by the way), it features a surprising amount of depth. Looking for more examples? Check out the best optical illusions around. 

Optical illusion

(Image credit: Tom Stafford)

Created by cognitive scientist Tom Stafford, the image features a blue pupil inside a red eye socket – and for some, the distance between the red and blue appears vast, as though the pupil is literally receding into the screen.

According to Stafford (via Mind Hacks), "there are big individual differences in perception of the effect. People also differ in which colour looks closer. For most people, it is red, with blue looking deeper or further away." To demonstrate the point, he shares a version (below) with the colours reversed (and sure enough, for me, the pupil is sticking out in this one). 

Optical illusion

The colours in reverse (Image credit: Tom Stafford)

"Chromostereopic illusions are true stereo illusions," Stafford shares. They require the information to be combined across both eyes. There are many depth illusions which aren’t stereo illusions, but this isn’t one of them. You can prove this to yourself by making the effect disappear by closing one eye."

So there we have it – some of us are lucky enough to see one colour appear slightly further away than another on a screen. From rotating horses to faces hiding in paintings, we've seen all manner of baffling illusions lately. Want to create your own? Check out our guide on how to download Photoshop.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.