19 Deceptive Photos That Are More Like Optical Illusions

We love a proper optical illusion. The best optical illusion photos are the ones that were taken with no initial intention to actually trip people out. Yet, you end up with these mystifying images that seem like they were taken from some kind of upside down world altogether. These optical illusion photos will definitely take your brain for a nice little spin. Consider yourself warned.

1. “The 4 balls are of the same color.”

A vibrant pop art piece featuring four different colored spheres, each in its quadrant. Each sphere is composed of a dot pattern: purple on yellow, orange on blue, red on green, and green on red. The background of each quadrant complements the sphere's color.
u/neokratosred/via reddit.com

“Very cool. Tested in Photoshop with the eyedropper tool and they are in fact the same color. Sorry for all the hate OP, it’s a great illusion.” – u/Legs27

“I keep telling my doctor that but he still says there shouldn’t be four of them.” – u/RugbyEdd

2. “These aren’t spirals.”

A mesmerizing geometric pattern featuring concentric circles of black, white, and blue shapes, creating a hypnotic, spiraling effect that draws the eye towards the center. The design is intricate and symmetrical, with a vivid contrast of colors.
u/mattatplaton/via reddit.com

“Impressive, have to trace them out to see that they’re not spirals.” – u/nygdan

“Insane. At 1st first look I was very convinced they totally were. My brain fails me once again.” – u/Additional-Neck6303

3. “What color do you see? White and gold or black and blue?”

A pair of Havaianas flip-flops with a blue and gray striped design hanging on a display rack in a store. The straps and sole feature the brand’s logo. Other flip-flops in various colors and styles can be seen in the background.
u/qbik99_/via reddit.com

“It’s clearly sky blue and sandy brown.” – u/chimpdoctor

“Green and red.” – u/BigBaws92

4. “Can’t believe I never noticed this.”

A standard playing card showing the eight of diamonds. The card features eight red diamond shapes arranged in two vertical columns of four, with a smaller red diamond symbol and the number 8 in each of the top left and bottom right corners.
u/watchthisorthat/via reddit.com

“I can’t unsee it now.” – u/projectfoxx

“Whoa.” – u/mumchkin

Just in case you’re still confused. It turns out that the diamonds form an 8 in the middle. Your day just peaked.

5. “At first you see a rock floating in the air and then.”

A large rock appears to be floating in mid-air against a cloudy sky background. Sparse grass and small bushes are growing on top of the rock, adding to the surreal scene. At the bottom, more grass can be seen, suggesting the rock is reflecting off water.
u/evaraw666/via reddit.com

“I think it’s a rock in a river. The bottom darker part is the reflection.” – u/bernarcisico

Do not fret. You’re not alone at all if this one took you a second to fully figure out.

6. “The color of the center square of these 2 cubes is the same.”

The image shows a close-up of a person holding a Rubik's cube to their face. The image is split into two sections. The left section has a purple-blue tint, while the right section has a yellow tint. The person's eyes are visible above the cube in both sections.
u/sgtclunge/via reddit.com

“This one is really strong. I actually couldn’t believe it until I checked. RGB is 158,158,158. A light gray for both.” – u/Potato_Stains

“This one’s crazy. I used color picker and drew a thick line to connect the two squares. It literally looks like the line changes color crossing from blue to white to yellow; it took covering the context up to see that it’s clearly one color.” – u/SusHistoryCuzWriter

7. “These are all straight lines.”

An optical illusion showing a grid pattern with green and blue vertical stripes intersecting with yellow-green horizontal stripes. Small magenta and white diamond shapes create the illusion of warping in the pattern at the intersections.
u/mattatplaton/via reddit.com

“This is a good one.” – u/_kiaza_

“The center is the only square with its edges having the same lines. This creates illusion that it’s the only “correct” square. Then we see alternating pairs horizontal and vertical to the center, they become slanted because they’re “less correct” than the center. The rest are all alternating but not diagonally, which creates a 3D effect as if they’re in the background and protruding forward at the center being the “correct” square.” – u/Mareotori

8. “Go ahead, find the curved line.”

A satellite image of a densely packed residential area with rows of houses arranged in square grids. Each grid is separated by green lines of vegetation, forming a regular pattern.
u/Cysiek_1991/via Reddit.com

“This is impressive and frustrating at the same time. Everywhere I look I see curved lines in my peripherals. But when I focus on them it’s straight lines everywhere. I see curves but can never find them.” – u/SebboGaming

“As soon as you see the grey lines in the houses, it ruins it.” – u/Parking-Position-698

9. “Can you spot these?”

A landscape painting of a waterfall flowing through a rocky, tree-filled canyon. Above the waterfall appears the ghostly figure of a woman emerging from the mist. To the left and right of the waterfall, rocks and foliage form the subtle shapes of animal faces.
u/objective_koala_9462/via reddit.com

“I spotted on the left, a wolf, a deer below that and a buffalo below that. On the right, a cougar and a bear below that. In the sky, a woman with an eagle flying above her and at the very bottom what appears to be an eagle head, but is that supposed to be the beaver?” – u/BEE-RANDON

10. “Crazy ship.”

Two black-and-white photographs show a naval battleship painted with dazzle camouflage. The top image captures a front-side view, and the bottom image shows a side view. Overlaying text reads, "SAME SHIP... ...DIFFERENT ANGLE.
u/scoter82/via reddit.com

“Oh my god I’ve never been able to see how the lines are actually effective until now.” – u/sirfryingpan123

“Nowadays it’s not so effective but through a periscope being off by 500 meters matters.– u/potatostains

11. “Some say it’s pink and white, and some say it’s green and grey.”

A hand holding a sneaker under dim light, causing debate over its color. The shoe appears to be a light pink or gray with light blue or white accents and white laces, creating an optical illusion of different possible color combinations.
u/ghosthunter_123/via reddit.com

“It started off green and grey and slowly turned pink and now I can’t get it to go back.” – u/redsmallboy

“Mine has weird green spots on the toe?” – u/deleted

12. “Chromostereopic illusion. I see red on top and blue in the background.”

An abstract image features three concentric rings against a black background. The innermost and outermost rings are speckled with red dots, while the middle ring is filled with blue dots, creating a vibrant and contrasting visual effect.
u/jeezarchristron/via reddit.com

“This type of illusion is interesting as I’ve learned not everyone experiences it. For many people the image is just the 2D image as presented. But for others like myself, the image is 3D where red and blue (or other strongly contrasting colors) have different depths. I’ve found anecdotally the illusion is more likely to be visible to people with glasses or astigmatism.” – u/deleted

13. “This one photo.”

A white egret wades in water with a contrasting color split: the left side is blue, representing the sky's reflection, while the right side is brown, showing the riverbed and walls. The text above the photo says, "This is a real, unaltered picture taken by photographer Keinichi Ohno.
u/mywitchdr/via reddit.com

“That brownish looking thing, is actually a retaining wall and a reflection in the water.” – MyWitchDr

“People are talking about a reflection. I don’t see the reflection, I don’t see a reason for the blue to yellow color change. I’m all lost.” – u/PositiveAnybody2005

14. “There’s actually no red in this picture.”

A distorted image in a teal and black color scheme suggests a grassy field with mountains in the background. In the center, there appears to be a Coca-Cola can, partially visible through the visual noise.
u/lolll/via reddit.com

“If you zoom on the picture, you will see that it is actually just black and white pixels. What’s funny is that once I saw that and zoomed out, I could not see the red anymore, just black and white mixes.” – u/PurpleMatterX111

“Your brain tries to color correct the blue back to white by adding red to the image, so you’re basically hallucinating that the white is red.” – u/Blursed-Penguin

15. “Can someone tell me what I’m seeing?”

An orange tabby cat lies on a ledge, looking down at the camera with its front paws hanging over the edge. The cat is positioned next to a staircase with carpeted steps, and a textured ceiling with a smoke detector is visible below.
u/subject-complex2120/via reddit.com

“Open steps, no backings.” – u/Lost_Minds_Think

“You’re looking up at the ceiling of the first floor of a three-story house. The second floor has stairs that are semi floating/have no backing. The cat is on the floor of the second story looking down at the first floor.” – u/deleted

16. “Trippy view of Radisson Hotel in Niagara Falls.”

A tall building with a sign "Radisson" at the top stands against a cloudy sky. The structure features a mix of glass windows and brick at the base, with multiple arches on the lower floors. Sparse greenery and a concrete barrier are seen in the foreground.
u/cherrycupcakeee/via reddit.com

“This makes me viscerally uncomfortable.” – u/deleted

“Looks cozy, but you have to walk sideways.” – u/teink0

17. “The middle square on the top is the same color as the middle square on the side.”

A colorful 4x4 Rubik's cube sits on a black and white checkerboard surface. The cube's pieces are scattered around, including green, yellow, red, blue, and brown tiles. The cube is missing some pieces, revealing the white inner structure.
u/sgtclunge/via reddit.com

“Dude, this one got me good. I did color picker on my phone and both were the same color. I didn’t believe it.” – u/baldorrr

“Your eyes tell the difference between colors by what’s next to them. One thing I still remember from basic art class/color theory.” -u/rg4rg

18. “Up or down?”

A cat with a striped tail is walking on a staircase. The orientation of the stairs creates an illusion, making it unclear whether the cat is walking up or down the stairs. The surrounding walls are textured and the image is monochromatic.
u/dojacatmoooo/via reddit.com

“Down, based on the nosing of the stairs.” u/eyehate

“Down because cat anatomy. Don’t need to balance with tail on an upward climb that’s stable, but do on a down going quickly to avoid falling.” – u/possiblelifeform889

19. “These are the same photo, side by side.”

A side-by-side comparison of the same street scene with a cobblestone road and parked cars. The scene appears identical in both images at first glance, but the lines on the cobblestone are slightly slanted in the left image and straight in the right image.
u/isoexo/via reddit.com

“Curb and road look they are shot from a different angle, but they are the same.” – u/YellowTintedGlasses

It’s truly remarkable what a little bit of tactical angle maneuvering can accomplish when it comes to creating a dizzying optical illusion.

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