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Topic: The Silhouette Illusion
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Sep 29, 2005 06:35PM)
I thought this was pretty cool. Is she spinning clockwise or counter clockwise?

[url=http://zisyo.tym.jp/flash/feiku.swf]Click here to check it out.[/url]

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Lynne Kelly (Oct 1, 2005 06:25AM)
I can usually see both possibilities with optical illusions, but this one I can only see counter clockwise. But others I just showed saw it as clockwise.

Message: Posted by: Lynne Kelly (Oct 1, 2005 06:47AM)
Ahhhh. I went back a few minutes later and now she is going clockwise and I can't get her to go counter clockwise. I seem to have to go away to change the impression. Very weird.

Message: Posted by: mike paris (Oct 1, 2005 08:20AM)
If you look on the site a little longer she changes direction while you are watching,mike
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 1, 2005 10:04AM)
I look at different parts of the screen to make it change directions. Such as looking at the blank section to the right or left of it. I also find that if I stare at the shadow on the bottom it sometimes changes.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Magical Lady (Oct 1, 2005 11:16AM)
Counter clockwise for me too!

Clockwise for a male observer viewing it at the same time !!!

- maybe its to do with whether your male or female! Clever!


ML x
Message: Posted by: Magical Lady (Oct 1, 2005 11:20AM)
Oh oh. Now its clockwise here too!
Nice one Jaxon - it will drive me mad for ages now :)

ML x
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 1, 2005 02:56PM)
I just went back to it again and I discovered a way I can control it's direction. Once I got the hang of it it's worked every time.

I close my eyes for a few seconds until I can visualize it spinning in a certain direction. The outstretched leg is what I mostly picture moving in either direction. Imagine that leg moving right or left for a few moments. Then when you open your eyes again it'll be turning in what ever direction you visualized.

Not sure if that'll work for everyone but it works for me.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: mike paris (Oct 1, 2005 06:04PM)
It is appearing to be moving in one direction,which I believe it is ,its your subconscience mind allows for it to appear to reverse direction,this is noticable when you look at the base of her legs when you start to lose concentration,,,very clever,Jaxon how did you find this, mike
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Oct 1, 2005 06:23PM)
I tried somethng that seemed to work for me... I tracked the foot that was kicking outwards and rocked back and forth towards the screen... when I rocked in a clockwise direction so did the figure, but when I switched direction it did too.

Message: Posted by: Magical Lady (Oct 2, 2005 08:51AM)
Its getting addictive!

Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 2, 2005 12:25PM)
When I found this I was looking for information on stage illusions that use a silhouette. So I just happened to stumble upon this and thought it was pretty neat.

I know what you mean Magic Lady. It can be kind of addictive. I show it to people that come over and we end up looking at it for 10 minutes or so. :)

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Roland78 (Oct 4, 2005 05:39AM)
I see it in counter-clockwise directio, and cannot change it with the mental tricks you have suggested. I think I'll leave it there and check it out again later after lunch :)

Message: Posted by: Magical Lady (Oct 4, 2005 12:50PM)
Try looking at the foot on the upright/straight leg and staring at THAT for a moment or two, then look at the direction?

Alternatively, the rocking backwards and forwards as you view it worked for another.

(If not, the rocking could serve to comfort you as to the fact that you cant see it BOTH ways like the rest of us) :) :)
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Oct 4, 2005 01:20PM)
Okay, try this one. My friend, looking over my shoulder, sees on leg going left as the other one goes right!
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 4, 2005 07:03PM)
She is going counterclockwise, I can't get her to go clockwise, I tried every one.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 4, 2005 07:08PM)
Greg, what do you mean by rock clockwise.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 4, 2005 07:08PM)
She would stop for a second or two.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 4, 2005 07:09PM)
Have had here change speed.
Message: Posted by: stanalger (Oct 4, 2005 10:22PM)
Another way to demostrate the ambiguity of the silhouette:
Ask a group of observers, "Which of the dancer's legs is
raised, her right...or her left?"

To see her spin clockwise, you must convince yourself that she
has her right leg raised and is pivoting on her left leg.

To see her spin counterclockwise, you must convince yourself
that she has her left leg raised and is pivoting on her right.

Stan Alger
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Oct 6, 2005 11:17PM)
On 2005-10-04 20:08, drkptrs1975 wrote:
Greg, what do you mean by rock clockwise.


Well, I would stare at the pointed out toe and, while face the computer, I would rock from right to left in a tight circle so that I would dip closer then away from computer... when I did this the figure turned one way then when I started swinging from left to right the figure would then start swinging the other way.

Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 10, 2005 06:49PM)
Is this a mental illusions.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Oct 10, 2005 06:55PM)
I atill don't get it.
Message: Posted by: skc417 (Oct 13, 2005 12:59AM)
That was cool, usually with these things you can almost see both together. But once your mind tells you it's going in one direction it seems to go on forever.
Look at it long enough and it will change. The angle that it spins on is kind of different though, that was when I could see the change in direction.
Great find Jaxon.
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 13, 2005 12:53PM)
I just thought I'd try to explain how this illusion works for those who are still having a hard time with it.

One way to explain is with an example you might see in every day life. Have you ever been outside at night under a street light and you can see your shadow very clearly on the ground or on a wall? The next time you can see your shadow this clearly turn sideways so your shadow is a profile of you. The hold your right arm out in front of you and your left arm reaches in back of you. Look at your shadow. Now if you switch arms (left in front and right in back) the shadow will look the same. You can't tell if your right or left arm is forward because there are no lines to detail your arm. The shadow is one filled in shape. There's nothing that tells you that either arm is in front or back. You know which is it because it's your arm but I'm speaking of what your eyes actually see here.

On this illusion I find it easiest to make it turn in either direction by concentrating on that front leg. Imagine it moving to the right or to the left. I know it might take a while to see for some people but it can be viewed in either direction.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: bobser (Oct 26, 2005 06:29PM)
If you lower your eyebrows so you go down to her feet only, then lower so your off completely, then slowly raise your eyes...thats when she changes. Within a few times it'll definitely happen. It also helps to 'tell' yourself that she is now spinning on 'the other' leg.
Message: Posted by: dougscar56 (Oct 27, 2005 11:52AM)
Unfortunately, I have been convinced that this is not a "true" optical illusion, in the way we think. The illusion is not that she changes direction, but that she is going in the same direction. I watched for several minutes, and realized that about every sixty seconds the image truly changes slightly so that instead of spining clockwise on her right foot, she is spinning counter clockwise on her left. The reason you aren't sure of what is going on is that since this is a silouette, you have no point of reference, plus the fact that we are assuming she is continuing to rotate in the same direction. To prove it, watch for a while untill she changes directions, then refresh the page, and she will go back to the begining of the cycle. If someone on here can prove that this is an illusion in the way we are thinking of, (meaning she doesn't really change, we are just imagining it) let me know!
Message: Posted by: stanalger (Oct 27, 2005 01:33PM)

The image DOESN'T change.

Get a group of people to simultaneously view the screen.
You will find some will see her spinnning clockwise
and others will see her spinning counterclockwise.
Message: Posted by: mike paris (Oct 27, 2005 03:22PM)
Stan the image spins, as it does you may see it spin clockwise or anti clockwise,it goes in ONE direction but your mind allows it to appear to go in the other direction also,so you can see it going both ways,it doesn't change direction but your eyes allow you to see it going the other direction,this you should see for yourself if you spend enough time looking at it.
Message: Posted by: stanalger (Oct 27, 2005 05:49PM)

Yes, I agree. I was disagreeing with dougscar56's claim that the
image (ie the video) really [b]is[/b] changing.

dougscar56's idea of using the "refresh" button to "see" the change
works magnificently. If you tell yourself that the dancer is
about to change the direction of her spin, and then click "refresh"
at the precise moment in which her raised foot is pointed to the left
of the screen...voila! She [b]does[/b] change direction! (Okay, let me
qualify that: It works magnificently for me and for the co-workers
that I tried it with. One co-worker had earlier been shown the
illusion, but could only see the dancer spinning in one direction.)

Derek (drkptrs1975), if you're still having difficulty seeing the dancer
change direction, give the "refresh" button a try. Again, hit "refresh"
just as her raised foot points toward the left side of the screen.

Message: Posted by: fredrux (Oct 30, 2005 05:33PM)
Iīm glad I went back to this topic to read about the refresh button idea so I finally see her spin the other way (that is clockwise). Now I can go to sleep peacefully. Itīs a bit annoying that I canīt make her change direction with thought alone. Well, thatīs the beauty of it I guess and at least now I have the refresh button...Thanks Jaxon for the link!
Message: Posted by: dougscar56 (Nov 3, 2005 09:59AM)
OK, I give up, it is a true optical illusion. I'll suffice it to say, that I can now make her change directions on demand. Boy, I feel embarassed. I found that looking at her shadow to change the direction works for me, but I can't make her change looking at her body, the illusion is way too strong. (edit) Wait!!!!!! open the window, and then select another window, so that the illusion window is open, but not active/selected. this should make the animation slower, and you can change her direction at will even looking at her body!!!!!! Hooorayyyyy!!!! Well, that's that.
Message: Posted by: silverfire9 (Nov 11, 2005 11:24PM)
The link given earlier didn't work, so I had to Google for it. When I found it, I discovered I could change the direction by 1) looking at the shadow, or 2) looking at her raised foot as it's pointing to the left. Looking at the shadow makes her go to the right, while looking at her foot makes her go to the left.

What I find odd is the fact that everything seems to reverse: the direction her leg goes when her face is toward the viewer changes. When she's rotating to the right, her leg crosses from right to left as she faces the viewer. When she's rotating to the left, her leg goes from left to right as she faces the viewer.
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Nov 15, 2005 01:03PM)
I don't know whyn the other link doesn't work anymore. But here's another link to it.


For those who are still having trouble seeing it. I made a couple of images that might help. They demonstrate exactly how this illusion works. It works because there are no line that tell you what is facing forward or backwards. So I added the lines at the upper leg. The two images below are the same image but by simply add these lines it'll appear as if her leg is facing toward the front or toward the back.

Images are hosted on my server by the way.


Hope that helps.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Nov 19, 2005 01:08PM)
One more thing I forgot to mention in my last post about then images. The lines I added also changes what leg is sticking out.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 28, 2006 06:40PM)
For some reason an idea popped into my mind the other day about this illusion. A real life demonstration of it would be cool.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: Cheety (Nov 2, 2006 11:20AM)
A fun thing to to is to make the shadow go the opposite direction
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Nov 15, 2006 05:09AM)
Try to blink rapidly
Message: Posted by: Thomas Hudecsek (Nov 27, 2008 10:51AM)
For me it helps to only focus on the standing foot. everytime I am able to convince myself, that I can not be 100% sure if the rotating direction of the foot is clockwise or counterclockwise and italso is absolutly possibel that it could be the other directin, it changes a few seconds later.
Now I can change it as often as I want.

Good luck!