Hidden Photo Optical Illusion




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

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

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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.

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    24 Discussions


    1 year ago

    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?


    2 years ago

    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!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    6 years ago

    heres a gimp tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSSBOPrlJ_o


    6 years ago on Introduction

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


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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 ...how can I ensure that the image preserves itself to have the same effect in screen on different softwares and also in printing??... Thank you!


    7 years ago on Introduction

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

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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

    coaleuYellowBlu Co.

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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