Transform Any Color Photo Into an Optical Illusion

Trick your eyes into seeing a black and white photo in color! This may sound confusing but stay with me here. I'll show you an original color photo file and then tell you how to use virtually any photo editing program to alter that photo in two simple ways. Then, with the help of any video editing software, you can complete this project of optical delight.

The effect takes advantage of how our eyes function. Make sure that you focus intently on one particular spot of the photo until just before the end of the video. I added a tiny black dot in the center to stare at, but feel free to pick any one spot to hone in on. The key is that you look solely at one area so that your eyes are thoroughly fooled at the end. Most importantly, have fun!



    • Toys Contest

      Toys Contest
    • PCB Contest

      PCB Contest
    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest

    22 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    There was a technical problem with this video so I made another one that's even better (which I created a full ible for) here:

    I cannot delete this one because I entered it into a contest a loooong time ago, but there's some kind of problem.  When I go to delete it, I get a message saying "this cannot be deleted because it is entered into at least one contest".  It's not entered in any contests though.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.  I know the feeling (an annoyance for sure).


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This sounds really interesting, and I think i understand how it's done.... but the video is no longer there- I realise it's an old one but is it easy to get it back for more recent viewers?

    2 replies

    I'm actually color deficit. So I don't know if it works so well on me or not. Could you describe the effect it's supposed to have? (My apologies, but I don't think I get it.)

    Pardon me for calling the deficiency "colorblindness." What happens is: one stares at one spot of a negative image of a color photo for at least 15 secs. Then a black and white version of the same photo is shown suddenly, but instead of seeing it in black and white, one sees it in color (the way that the original color photo looks). Then he/she looks away from the spot that they had been staring at and sees that the image actually is black and white.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. It's neat to experiment with different pictures. The illusions of color vary in intensity with different photos.