Did you solve it? The art of illusion


Earlier today I showed you four optical illusions, and asked you to explain how the effect was achieved. None of the images were digitally altered.

1. The Soup Tin

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The illusion here is that the reflection of the soup tin in the mirror reads the correct way around. Usually, words in a mirror appear the wrong way around.

This trick is achieved by reverse printing the label.

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2. The Disappearing Cub

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The illusion here is that the yellow cub appears in the reflection but not in front of the mirror.

The trick is achieved by camouflaging the cub using a a flap of paper, which has squares on both sides. Matt Pritchard, the magician who took the photograph, has done a stunning job of disguising the flap, although once you know how he did it you can just about see that the flap’s squares are a bit darker than the other squares. (This one, however, completely foxed me!)

The flap is marked here in yellow.
The position of the flap is marked here in yellow.
peekaboo!
peekaboo!
The shape of the flap is a trapezoid, in which the top and bottom lines are parallel, but the sides are not parallel, since they need to follow the lines of perspective.
The shape of the flap is a trapezoid, in which the top and bottom lines are parallel, but the sides are not parallel, since they need to follow the lines of perspective.

3. Mirror, Mirror and a Wall

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The illusion is that the cub’s reflection appear’s to be a lion.

The trick is that what appears to be a mirror is a hole in the wall, and the rest of the wall is, in fact, a mirror. The frame and the stand are stuck on the mirror.

Reverse view.
Reverse view.
What looks like a wall is a mirror’s reflection of a wall.
What looks like a wall is a mirror’s reflection of a wall.
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4. The Caped Conundrum

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The illusion is, like the previous ones, that the reflection doesn’t match the object in front of the mirror.

The solution is that this is done using a mirror positioned at a diagonal.

ta-dah!
ta-dah!

Thanks to the magician and science communicator Matt Pritchard for these puzzles. Matt performs brilliant science magic shows for schools and can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

I hope you enjoyed today’s puzzles. I’ll be back in two weeks.

I set a puzzle here every two weeks on a Monday. I’m always on the look-out for great puzzles. If you would like to suggest one, email me.





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