Optical illusion produces incredible animations, no electricity required
Walt Disney set a new standard for animation. Years later, Pixar did it again. And after all the technological advancements, and all the finely crafted animation work we’ve seen, you’d think that it would take some incredible new leap to impress us. And yet this video of quick, repeating images, generated entirely by black lines passing over a set pattern, is dazzling in its simplicity.
The optical illusion is called a moiré, and it’s created when one pattern is laid over another, producing an interference that looks like movement. If both the pattern and the transparency were regularly spaced black lines, it would look as though wider black bands were scrolling across. But when the base pattern is cleverly made, the same transparency can be used to generate remarkably impressive moving images like the ones seen above.
Since a moiré animation only requires two patterns to cross over one another, the same effect can be created by having the viewer move, instead of the transparency. In the video below, fish appear to swim along the surface of a table as the camera pans around the room, even though both the pattern and the transparent screen remain still.
There’s no 3D modeling software, no cameras, and no electricity involved, but the effect is stunning. It’s such an elegant idea it will make you wonder why we don’t see moirés everywhere. The world has a lot of boring hallways that could be improved by moving images of running cats or, better yet, Pac-Man eating pellets.