Instructables

How to make an Ames Room Optical Illusion used in Lord of the Rings

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Picture of How to make an Ames Room Optical Illusion used in Lord of the Rings
This instructable shows you how to construct a miniature Ames Room from a layout using paper. An Ames room is a distorted room that gives the optical illusion of depth, distance and varying size. Setups like this were used in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies.

Play this video to see what the optical illusion looks like.
 
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Step 1: Layout and tools

Picture of Layout and tools
Tools required: 1) Cutting blade 2) ruler 3) stiff paper or card 4) adhesive tape or gum 5) objects such as a key, pen, playing cards, toy figures.

The illusion is noticeable if the layout and prints are large, so print as big as possible.
Below is the layout for the Ames Room. In an image editor, the size of this image is 48 inches width x 54 inches height.

Step 2: Divide the image equally

Picture of Divide the image equally
This step assumes that you cannot print large. Therefore, the image must be divided equally for easy printing. There are 3 rows and 4 columns.
Each column is 12 inches wide. Each row is 18 inches high.

Step 3: Print the sections

Picture of Print the sections
Ideally, you should print on a printer that's larger than your desktop printer.
Here the prints are 12 inches wide x 18 inches high.

Step 4: Lay out the sheets

Picture of Lay out the sheets
Once the printing is done, lay out the sheets accordingly and cut away the outer white portions, leaving the tabs in place.

Step 6: Fold the tabs and walls

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Next, fold all the tabs and edges of the walls.

Step 7: Fold the entire room

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Finally, fold the entire room. This is the tricky part as each edge should meet the adjacent or opposite edge. Using tape or gum, stick the edges together.
jpgoogles3 years ago
:)
How do I get the sections to print.
activfilms (author)  kdwilliams19993 years ago
Hi,

Please scroll down the page and see my comments below where I have mentioned how to print the layout.

The links where you can download this layout is also mentioned in one of my other comments.
Puzzledd3 years ago
This is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing it.

I'm going to try the "2 sheets of A3" version in greyscale - or maybe i'll try the separate rooms idea :)
Damn this is gonna take a long time for me! Having no printer sucks!!! I'll try it though only because my Gardner's dragon worked. (5*s of 5*s!!!)
ScubaSteve5 years ago
Could i have the name of the music? Thanks.
mmm... this is cool and i'd like to try it... but... how do i do the whole expand the picture print it on more than one sheet thing?
Search "Rasterbator" Its a free web utility/program designed for blowing up images across many sheets of printer paper
activfilms (author)  iamthemargerineman6 years ago
You must use an image editor such as photoshop or corel draw or Microsoft Picture Manager that allows you to re-size the layout to 48 x 54 inches as shown in the video. OR, in any image editor, start of with a blank page size 48 x 54 inches, then paste the room layout image onto the blank page and stretch it uniformly (using the transform tool) until it covers the area (step 1). Using guidelines, divide the image equally so that each section is 12 x 18 inches (see step 2). Using a marquee tool cut / copy each section and save it as a separate file. You should have 9 printable sheets. An ordinary deskjet printer will not do. You'll need to use a larger printer.
ongissim6 years ago
Wasn't this also used in Willy Wonka?
Kiteman6 years ago
Wow!

I've got to build one of these!

Actually, I think I'll build lots - my Science clubbers will love this!
activfilms (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Thanks!
Kiteman Kiteman6 years ago
I've been a bit cheeky - printing out all that colour would cost too much (when I want 20 kids to make them), so I "drew round" your template in Corel Draw. It's come out as a two-part template that works nicely if you print it out on A3. I've added the Corel file and jpeg versions of the two pages (make sure the outer rectangles are identically-sized and they will work fine).
Ames01.jpgAmes02.jpg
activfilms (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
A3 size paper; that's 11.69 x 16.54 inches. Should be enough the observe the illusion. As a separate task, the kids could color the rooms using crayons or colored pencil. Certainly the floor should be colored black and white to give the illusion of depth. Maybe later, to construct a larger room, each room can be printed on a separate sheet of A3 paper, ensuring the largest areas i.e. the floor and ceiling fit exactly within the paper. Of course the other rooms will have to be proportionally sized so that everything fits. Glad this has been useful.
Already there - A3 copies work nicely, even in B&W. I'll try and get photos of the coloured & built versions for you to see in just over a week.
Kiteman Kiteman6 years ago
They worked, but I forgot to take my camera! Sorry.

BTW, there's a YouTube video of your room, but the guy that posted it thinks that this 'ible has been removed?


activfilms (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Kiteman, if you don't mind, please remove the embedded video from your comment. You may provide only the link though.
Why is that?
dsi16 years ago
Neat stuff! What's the music?
Ah, very fun. Good job!
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is so cool and looks real. Good mind bender. :) and to TheScientist that video was cool. Google visual Illusions there are some cool ones there to
royalestel6 years ago
Ah, very fun. Good job!
as another FYI:

if you ever happen to be in New Zealand, near a town called Wanaka there's a place called "Puzzling World" with a human sized room :)

here's a youtube link for it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovQ0zLiPUdE

and the place itself: http://www.puzzlingworld.co.nz/

it's a neat place to visit for a few hours! :)
Wow!! Puzzle World looks so awsome. Too Bad the US has nothing like that.

New Zealand ROCKS!!!!!
(Like Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Concords)
=P
Actually, if you're in San Fransisco, the Exploratorium has a great, life-sized version of this. Big enough to walk through yourself! http://www.exploratorium.edu/
Puzzling world is about the best place south of Christchurch =)
bad_dog6 years ago
Fake
activfilms (author)  bad_dog6 years ago
Explain. How is this fake?
omnibot6 years ago
Other programs to make posters can be found here :
http://sourceforge.net/projects/posterazor/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/posterprinter/

Cool instructable.
tyep6 years ago
cool, I'm gonna try it too. I've used this site for other posters. http://www.blockposters.com/
egreen7676 years ago
sweet!
mainlinx6 years ago
Nicely Done. If I wasn't told how its done, I would've kept staring at it untill I noticed the shadow starting on the first row of tiles and ending up on the second row of tiles or visa versa (depending on which direction you start from). Also, that's a cool FYI that LOTR used the same technique.
this is awesome! im favoriting it.