I’m a huge fan of optical illusions and visual trickery. From trompe l’oeil paintings to the works of M.C. Escher, these pieces are sources of wonder, employing forced perspective and visual sleight-of-hand to create impossible objects and images with unexpected depth.
Essentially, they’re visual puzzles, left for you to sort out and examine at your leisure.
One of my favorites is also one of the simplest examples of multiple-perspective imagery: the Necker Cube.
As you can see, the Necker Cube appears to be in different configurations, depending on which part of the cube your eye interprets as facing you. By focusing on a different spot, the perspective shifts, and suddenly the cube is positioned differently.
There are numerous mindbending variations of the Necker Cube, some drawn as impossible figures, and others expanding on the illusion to further engage and disorient the viewer. Check this one out:
My eyes twitch a little just looking at it.
Usually, Necker Cube-style illusions have only two options, two perspectives between which they can shift. (Like in the old woman/young woman image that kicks off this post.)
But I recently discovered the following video, which features a three-dimensional image that can be viewed from three different perspectives:
It’s fascinating stuff, a perfect reminder that puzzles can be wordless and lurking in plain sight.