Anomalous motion illusions, or simply motion illusions, are static images that appear to move. These types of optical illusions are sometimes confused with GIFs or other types of animations but the images themselves don’t actually move. They just appear to move, usually due to contrasting colors, line placement, or position of the shapes in the image.
Motion illusions can sometimes be a little hard on the eyes, but they’re definitely cool! Today’s moving arrows illusion is a great example of a motion illusion…
When you look at this moving arrows illusion, doesn’t it look like each row of arrows is moving in the direction they’re pointed? The beauty of the moving arrows illusion, like all motion illusions is that the arrows aren’t moving at all. In fact, nothing in this image is moving! If you don’t believe me, place your mouse pointer at the front of one of the arrows.
These motion illusions will sometimes work differently for different people. If you’re having trouble seeing the moving arrows illusion actually “move” there are a couple things you can try.
First, try not to focusing on the illusion too hard. Or, try focusing on it a little harder. Some people can see the effects of the moving arrows illusion best when they don’t stare directly at it; instead, try looking elsewhere and watch the arrows out of the corner of you eye. I’ve found that the easiest way to see the full effect of the moving arrows illusion, and most other motion illusions, is to move my eyes across the image. Scan your eyes up and down or side to side—not to fast or too slow—and the image will appear to move.