Ow! My Brain!

Most optical illusions can be broken once you know what you’re looking for. You can see how lines have been drawn to mislead the eye; you can focus on one spot for long enough to overcome whatever distracting element has been included; you can, in genera, unfool yourself.

Following the break is a beautifully simple illusion that I cannot break. I’ve tried. I put it into photoshop to verify that it’s genuine and it is.

Damn my brain.

The trick here? The blue and green are the same colour. Check it yourself in paint. Same colour.

My brain hurts.

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Ryan Consell is a skeptical artist, tap-dancing armorer, juggling scientist, rock-climbing writer, sword-fighting math teacher, uni-cycling gamer, fire-spinning academic and devout nerd. He has a Masters in Applied science, most of a bachelors in Fine Arts, and a very short attention span. He is the author of How Not to Poach a Unicorn and half of the masochistic comedy duo that is Creative Dissonance. Follow him on Twitter @StudentofWhim


  1. September 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Okay… before I pop this into Photoshop to see the trick, I’ve noticed that if I stick my face closer to the screen and look at the widest blue areas, they turn a bit green towards the edge of the box. The thing is, which color is the correct color? The blue or the green?! I’ll find out in a sec… I hope.

    Edit: Okay, the actual color of both bands is green. If you zoom in and look at both bands where they are near, the illusion just about breaks. The illusion seems to be produced by layering a different color over the 2 green bands. The one the appears to be green has orange bands cutting through. The one that appears blue has magenta bands cutting through. Fascinating and beautiful illusion!

  2. September 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah, it’s easier to “break” near the edge of the image. I used my hands to mask other areas on the screen, and it seems it more towards green for the actual color. Interesting.

  3. September 13, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Here’s the image with a border around it of the “mystery” color. MS Paint says it’s about* (0,255,150) in (R,G,B), which would be #00ff96 in web.

    (*) I say “about” because the image is JPEG, which is lossy.

  4. September 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    @jtradke, That’s pretty awesome. It’s still amazing how quickly the illusory blue becomes distinct even when it’s right next to a field of the real hue.

  5. September 20, 2011 at 5:08 am

    This is AWESOME! Brains are cool ;D

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