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How Magic Eye Pictures Work

We've all seen those funny pictures at the mall or on the web - those ones that look like a cross between a bad 80s outfit and a fuzzy TV screen. They're the ones that show you a 3-D picture when cross- your eyes, blur your while they look at them. What's the deal?

Magic Eye - Seeing the Surface Squiggles

When you glance at a Magic Eye (or a stereogram, technically speaking) it looks like a fuzzy abstract picture. However, if you view it stereoscopically (meaning your eyes focused behind the actual picture), a three-dimensional image forms. That's because your subconscious decodes differences in the repeating pattern of the fuzzy lines. When your eyes focus normally, the line of vision from each eye meets in the same place on the page. Your brain then works out how far away the picture is from by comparing the different views from each eye.

Magic Eye -

Seeing the Illusion When you force yourself to focus behind the image, you force your eyes to each look at different squiggles instead of the same one. Because the squiggles are identical your brain doesn't register that each eye is looking at a different one but instead perceives a non-existent (fake) depth to the picture. Your brain solves discrepancies between what each eye sees by allowing for some points of the pattern to seem nearer to you than others are. To sum it up: your brain is constantly trying to make sense of the things you experience - so in this case it allows your brain to disregard the squiggley lines themselves and concentrate on the image behind them. Your brain sees the image in 3-D because your brain thinks your eyes are looking at the same thing when they're actually looking at identical squiggles in slightly different places.

Viewing a Magic Eye

Now the question remains, how do you actually see the hidden image? Here are a few tips:

  • Relax your gaze on the pattern and allow your eyes to drift out of focus.
  • Give the image time to form and then try to look around it without snapping back into normal focus.
  • It might be easier to trick your eyes by bringing the picture to your nose and easing it away without refocusing your eyes. Good luck!

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Can You See Magic Eyes?

  • I can always see the hidden image.
  • I can never figure out how to make them work.
  • I think I can see something but I can't make out what it is.
  • I don't know, I've never tried.

Random In The Forums

IcyWolf
IcyWolf posted in Debating:
I, personally, think that the LGBTQ+ community is appropriate to talk about at school. I agree with you. We have the freedom to talk about whatever we want and I think at this age we are mature enough to understand this concept. While it is a unusual thing to talk about in school, I think it's perfectly fine to talk about. Me and my friends talk about this all the time and no one has ever stopped us and told us it was wrong. I was surprised when this happened because we go to a catholic school and catholic schools don't normally support talking about these things. Some teachers just don't understand at this age we are getting more mature and probably can understand more personal subjects better than adults can. I am honestly angry that your teachers said it wasn't appropriate for school. It's just a topic to talk about! At least you guys weren't talking about something even more sensitive than this like ISIS or the Holocaust. 
reply 11 minutes
NovaHex
NovaHex posted in Debating:
"XxMadokaaxX" wrote: "NovaHex" wrote:  I ######## identify as an attack helicopter. Just because I'm a kid doesn't mean they should be able to stop me from trying to install rotary blades, 30 mm cannons, and AMG-114 Hellfire missiles on my body. They act like my opinions don't matter just because I'm young. From now on I want you guys to call me “Apache” and respect my right to attack people needlessly. If you can’t accept me you’re a heliphobe and need to check your vehicle privilege. Thank you for being so understanding. Can't tell if you're just making a joke or if you're making fun of the spectrum.. I'm making fun of this entire "issue". And yes, the LGBTQRSTUVWYXZ community is innapropriate for school. No one needs to know who you're ######## attracted to, as after all, at such a young age, you shouldn't be worried about that.
reply 11 minutes
Siamqa_Marisa
22nd May, 2001
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BookWorm86
12 November 2003:)
reply 18 minutes
ItsMyLife
ItsMyLife posted in Say Anything:
My birthday is October 16, 2003! :) :) :) :) :)
reply 20 minutes