These Pictures Are the Same—Wait, What?

By Nathaniel Scharping | February 6, 2018 3:50 pm

Optical Illusion

Take a moment and let this one sink in.

It sure seems like the photographer turned a bit to the left before snapping the right-hand image. It’s the lines in the cobblestones — they’re all tilted in the second image compared to the first.

A second glance reveals some irregularities, though. Though the lines look tilted relative to each other, the rest of the image looks unchanged. The trucks are in the same place, we see the same patch of sky, and if you look closely, we see the same exact cobblestones in each.

These two images are totally identical.

It’s an optical illusion, and like so many of its kind, it relies on perspective to warp our minds. The culprit here seems to be those lines. Because the picture was taken at an angle, they appear to grow less angled as we move left to right. Seen in just one image, this lines up with what we would expect. Only when the opposite edges are placed next to each other does the visual phenomenon look out of place.

If you’re not convinced, check out this visualization from an Imgur user:

When the images are superimposed, we see the illusion for what it really is. The trick here seems similar to the famous cafe wall illusion, which relies on patterns and lines to make straight lines bend. And for an even more mind-bending version, check out the “curvature blindness illusion.”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts
MORE ABOUT: optical illusion
  • Not_that_anyone_cares, but…

    I am not seeing any difference. Does cataracts affect the illusion?

    • patriciasheerinrichman

      I’ve just wasted 5 minutes looking for a difference! 😀

      • Bill Mayberry

        What part of “These pictures are the same” do you not understand?

        • Jeff Extreme

          the entire point is that they appear to be a different perspective….

  • John Isles

    There is no difference visible to me.

  • ZenGeekDad

    Remember those “Magic Eyes” images? Go cross-eyed, to overlap the two images. If they eventually converge (once your eyes agree to this overlapping task), and give a completely crisp image with no ghosting, then they are the same exact image. No motion graphic required. Takes about 5 seconds, if you’re handy with the technique.

  • Richard Schiller

    what dumb stupid people. First off the writer of the topic does not know whether others will see these as the same or not. I didnt. Because of the left picture having vertical road lines it makes the right picture’s left curb look more angled than the left pictures left curb. UNTIL they are overlapped. However, i misunderstood the article and actually thought some program had taken the SAME picture and stretched it; which confused me because both pictures are the same width. Now i understand, and i read these comments and none of them seem to understand what this is all about.

  • Yvette Cardozo

    Nor do I see a difference. But the lst thing I did visually was compare the cobblestones. Perhaps because I am a pro photographer, I never saw the illusion but only the reality.

  • nik

    Actually, they are not ”cobble stones” the nearest would be pave.’ Cobble stones are rounded water worn stones from beaches or rivers.

  • PhishPhace

    I guess I am not wired to see this illusion. Both pictures look identical because they are. I cannot see what they are talking about in the curvature blindness illusion either

  • DoRightThing

    I just crossed my eyes and focus on the ‘middle’ image.
    They are identical, apart from some jpeg artifacts visible in the sky.

  • Fraser MacDonald

    In terms of illusions, this example is very mediocre and mundane. This article fails.

  • ChiBolts

    The “dumb stupid” people criticizing the article are posting “very mediocre, mundane” comments


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