Mesmerising optical illusion will melt your brain

While we love a rich, detailed design project, sometimes nothing beats a good old optical illusion. Here's one of our favourites from last year to boggle your mind this weekend. You're welcome.

While 2020 itself unfortunately isn't one big optical illusion (as far as we know, anyway), there are still plenty of brilliantly distracting examples online – and one currently doing the rounds on Twitter might be the most mesmerising yet. Dubbed 'Super illusion brothers', it depicts several figures running and jumping off a set of steps. Except they aren't moving at all.

The simultaneously fascinating and frustrating animation was shared by optical illusion artist @jagarikin on Twitter (below), and has already garnered hundreds of responses from fellow users whose brains, like ours, have been fried. If you're looking for more illusory inspiration, check out our pick of top trompe l'oeil illusions from around the world.

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Thanks to their changing colours, the figures appear to be running and falling, when in fact they're completely static. We've been staring for hours at the figures ascending the steps and are frustrated to report that they still haven't quite reached the top. (We'll keep watching though. Just in case.)

As the title implies, there's certainly a Super Mario Bros-esque quality to the illusion, which could indeed be straight out of a 2D platforming game (those 'falling' figures remind us a little of Lemmings – remember that one?). If you're looking for your Mario fix, be sure to check out these unmissable Nintendo Switch deals

@jagarikin explained on Twitter that Super illusion brothers is a 'reverse-phi illusion'. According to Stanford University (as spotted by 7News), this is a "basic effect" whereby "If a bright point appears at one position, and then reappears at a position shifted to the right, we tend to see a single object moving left to right." But a scientific explanation isn't enough to stop the supposedly "basic" illusion blowing minds on Twitter: 

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This isn't the first time @jagarikin has wowed Twitter users with a mind-blowing illusion. Back in September, they made heads spin with a pair of 'rotating' cubes (spoiler alert: those aren't moving either). Both of @jagarikin's creations are up there with the best optical illusions we've seen this year. (If you're wondering what the worst is, look at these McDonald's kissing burgers at your peril.) 

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).