Introduction: Hidden Photo Optical Illusion

Picture of Hidden Photo Optical Illusion

To see the hidden image tilt the computer screen, look at the screen from a side angle, step away from the screen, or shake your head really fast. The image is almost completely invisible if viewing strait on and semi close.

I was looking at optical illusions when I came across "John Lennon optical illusion." See link below for the illusion.
I looked on the internet for a tutorial but couldn't find one. After playing around with Photoshop I came up with this Instructable.

Here is the finished file. 

This can be done with a photo or text. 

Tools needed:
-Adobe Photoshop
- A Photo

Step 1: Black and White Lines

Picture of Black and White Lines

Open a new Photoshop file.
Make the size 4 px wide and 9 px long (image 1.)
Zoom in if needed to see.
Use the Single Column Marquee tool  to select 1 column of px (image 2.)
Use the paint bucket tool to fill column. Follow the color scheme, black gray(9f9f9f) white gray(9f9f9f), as seen in image 3.
Define the pattern Edit / Define pattern (images 4 and 5.)

Step 2: The Hidden Photo

Picture of The Hidden Photo

Select a photo or text and open it in a new Photoshop tab (This works better if the photo is a close up shot.)
Use the quick selection tool to select the background of the photo and press delete to remove the background (image 2.)
Image/ adjustments/ Desatureate  to remove the color (Image 3.)

Step 3: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing Up

Create a new layer  Layer / New / Layer / Ok  (image 1.)
With they new layer selected.
Fill the new layer with the pattern Edit / Fill (image 2.)
Find the pattern you created earlier click ok (image 3.)
Your screen should look similar to image 4.
Drag layer one on top of layer two (image 5.)
Make sure the foreground color is gray (#9f9f9f) and the background color is white (image 6.)
Go to Filter / sketch / Photocopy (image 7.)
The settings should be similar to image 8.
Change the blending mode to multiply.
Change the opacity to around 50% or till desired effect is reached.

If some of the images still shows through you can use a curves adjustment to lighten the darker areas.

Step 4: Final Hidden Image

Picture of Final Hidden Image

To see the image you can tilt the computer screen, look at the screen from a side angle, step away from the screen, or shake your head really fast.

Thanks and  If you have any questions post a comment or send me a message.


IanM128 (author)2017-09-12

How come my saved lines pattern, when i fill the new layer, just fills it solid grey? What am i missing here? any one help please?

kramerl (author)2017-04-18

Hi- I know this instructable is really old, but I came across it because I'm trying to make these by hand for a class and it's the only tutorial I could find! I found it really helpful, but I was wondering if you had any tips on how to do them without a computer. I've tried several variations of grays and transparencies, but the image is always very obvious. With your expertise, do you have any tips? Thanks!

MicioGatta (author)2014-10-01

Nice idea!

JM1999 (author)2014-09-28

This is so cool, putting a video behind this screen to hide it would be neat as well.

I like this method of a hidden picture, I so hope I will find the time to do it!

Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

ssivananthan (author)2014-01-28


cmcoffee91 (author)2013-06-20

heres a gimp tutorial

charlyoak (author)2013-05-31

This makes my eyes hurt. I now have a headache. I have come to the conclusion that John Lennon is secretly evil.

that is seriously awesome, the instructions are not brilliantly clear though and i would like to know how to do it with GIMP.

AyaJ (author)2012-07-01

Thank you for this tutorial .. However I had an issue .. if I saved the file as jpg or png or even dragged the file to illustrator or indesign the lines change and It is not working anymore can I ensure that the image preserves itself to have the same effect in screen on different softwares and also in printing??... Thank you!

simmkerzner (author)2012-06-26

I could not do it. can usend me thedetail please

nesvesni (author)2012-02-02

This is great !!! thank you :)))

coaleu (author)nesvesni2012-03-16

Np and thanks for the comment

sconde1 (author)2011-11-22

Hey! This was very useful thank you very much! So sweet :)

coaleu (author)sconde12012-03-16

Thanks so much!

vk560002 (author)2012-02-22

I'm not getting properly, Please send me this file by mail so i can check

coaleu (author)vk5600022012-03-16

ok i will send you the file. if you have any other questions please comment

YellowBlu Co. (author)2012-01-03

Can you make a tuturial on how to make this on GIMP?

coaleu (author)YellowBlu Co.2012-03-16

Never really used gimp so i cant if you have any questions i will try and answer them based on photo shop.

khayath (author)2011-10-31

hai dude , dats really good...i just wana thnk u, for this...thnk you very much..

coaleu (author)khayath2012-03-16


Chrystalkay (author)2012-02-23

You should combine this method with the double face one. It would have people really wondering what they were seeing, but liking it.


rimar2000 (author)2011-09-14

Interesting, but not so hidden...

coaleu (author)rimar20002011-09-14

Thanks for the comment. Yeah my face really isn't that hidden. How hidden it is has to do with angle of view and size/distance from the screen. I didn't want to make it that hard to see the image. The lower the opacity the harder it is to see and makes it where you have to look at more of an extreme angle to see the hidden image. The attached image is a lot harder to see. I have to tilt my laptop screen at at 135° to see the image.

rimar2000 (author)coaleu2011-09-15

About This Instructable




Bio: Currently attending Georgia Institute of Technology and studying electrical engineering.
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