vase illusion drawingWithout motion, it would be hard to see the illusion.The Illusion contest/YouTube; Jacob Shamsian/INSIDER

The INSIDER Summary:

  • The "Best Illusion of the Year" contest has a winner.
  • It's a video demonstrating how some illusions can only be seen with motion, not with still images.
  • The video takes classic optical illusions — like the Rubin Vase — and transforms them into a new format.

This year's best optical illusion might change the way you see all of them.

The illusion is explained in a video called "Shape from motion only," was made by Hedva Spitzer, Dana Tearosh, Niv Weisman at Tel Aviv University's engineering college. It was selected as this year's best illusion by the "Best Illusion of the Year" contest.

It takes traditional optical illusions you may already be familiar withlike the Rubin Vase — and shows a way for them to be seen only as a moving image. Normally, optical illusions are transfixing still images.

In their method, the shape of the illusion appears in static, flickering at a different rate than the space around it.

It's confusing unless you actually see it. Here's how it works.

Here's a still image. It looks just like static, right?

static rubin vase illusionIt's impossible to tell what's going on.The illusion contest/YouTube

But when the image is in motion, the shape becomes apparent.

Now you can see the faces and the vase in the middle. If the video wasn't moving, you'd completely miss it.

Here's the classic Rubin Vase illustration used to make the illusion, for reference.

rubin vase illusionThe Rubin Vase.The illusion contest/YouTube

And here's a drawing I made pointing out the faces in the prize-winning image, in case it still isn't clear.

vase illusion drawingThe Rubin Vase in the "Shape from motion only" video.The Illusion contest/YouTube; Jacob Shamsian/INSIDER

Watch the whole video below to see how the "Shape from motion only" principle works. Pause it in the middle of any of the demonstrations an you'll see the shapes disappear before your eyes.

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