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Magic Eye

I know you're all going to laugh at me, but:

Back in the whole craze of those "Magic Eye" paintings, where the image is just a repeating plain background, but you cross your eyes just right and then a 3-d image of a dinosaur or whatever pops out at you, I used to get really surly and grumpy because I could NEVER see the actual 3-d image. I'd cross my eyes until they hurt, and never get anything, and then someone else would look at it and go "oh cool, it's a dinosaur." Eventually I just stopped trying, feigned disinterest, and was glad when the whole "Magic Eye" craze died down.

Well, today's APOD was actually a discussion of the Holographic Principle, oddly using a Magic Eye picture as the photo itself. I'm not sure what made me painfully cross my eyes at it, but I tried once again, in vain, to get something meaningful to pop out of the op-art-ish background.

And then a teapot popped out of the picture at me, plain as could be.

Charmed, I stared at it a while and then realized that I was able to unfocus and refocus my eyes and retrieve the 3-d image. And then I found a bunch of other examples of autostereograms, and sure enough, with a small effort found a cat, a car, a bunny rabbit, a guy sitting at a computer, and yes, a dinosaur. I feel like I've suddenly trained my brain to do a new thing, and I'm oddly excited about it.


( 9 comments — Comment )
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
Congrats on figuring out how to see them. I tend to do it with the eyes-apart look (as if I'm looking at something 2x the distance away as the picture), which works fairly easily on most types, though there are also cross-eyed types that it doesn't work quite as well on. The picture gets reversed.

If you want to play, launch a fixed width font text editor, fill it with .'s, and then (while viewing it in stereo) change a pair of characters to A's or something and watch them pop out. This is easiest to play with if you start like this... then screw with your vision till 2 zeros become 4 zeroes, then let off a bit until they overlap making 3. Once you can hold it at 3, you've got the focus, and you can screw around with the ascii chars. (Note - you may have to get this out of livejournal and onto a blank screen to make it work right. Darn color bars.)


Edited at 2007-12-17 03:18 am (UTC)
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
Wow! I'm not laughing! I totally can't do those things, so I envy you now. :)
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
skywind's comment before yours has a pretty good trick; the idea is to get the eyes to "falsely" line up different parts of the repeating background.

I don't know if it will work for you or not, but the good news is once I got the teapot by accident, I think staring at it for a long time is what got my eyes and brain trained to do the same thing again. So if you ever do manage to get a 3-d image, no matter how fleeting, try to get your eyes to lock on it; once they do that, the image is pretty stable. OH and I found that paying a lot of attention to the edges of the 3-d object will make it REALLY lock in... I think the eye/brain vision system keys very strongly on edges and does what it needs to to hang on to them.

(hi Molly!)

Edited at 2007-12-17 03:42 am (UTC)
Dec. 17th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
It's a schooner!
Dec. 17th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
You dumb bastard! That's not a schooner, it's a sailboat!

And gratz on seeing the 3D image! I <3 stereograms.
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
A schooner IS a sailboat, stupid head!
Dec. 17th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
great, now i'm all uninterested in actual work..


Dec. 17th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
last link, promise. PRETTY! (and now head hurts, too. heh)

Dec. 17th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Okay, I SEE it, but what IS it? An umbrella seen from the top?
( 9 comments — Comment )



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