In Which Direction Does It Spin?

In which direction does it spin?
In which direction does it spin?

Shown optical illusion just laid there on my hard disk for years. When I opened it today, I couldn’t remember why I placed it in my illusions folder in the first place? After some puzzling, finally I managed to see its visual phenomenon!

Ok, here’s what I want you to do: concentrate on the animated .gif on your right. You’ll quickly realize it represents some sort of see-through sphere, constructed of many dots rotating in one direction. Dots in front make the front face of the sphere, while “background” dots belong to sphere’s back. It’s logical they rotate in opposite directions. Now try and switch those background dots with front-face ones. Notice any change?

If you manage to visualize this, your able to change the direction in which sphere rotates. With some practice, you’ll be able to switch the direction back and forth in very short time fragments. Don’t underestimate yourselves – many individuals have difficulty seeing this type of illusions. It’s not that they’re less worthy, it’s just that their brain operates differently… Which reminded me – did you know that more than 1/3 of all people who went to see Avatar in 3D couldn’t see the image in 3D?

There are many optical illusions of this type available; one of the more popular being Spinning Dancer Optical Illusion. Your best shot of finding more, would be browsing through our Animations category.

152 Replies to “In Which Direction Does It Spin?”

  1. this is great… at first I didn’t see it rotating the other way, but as I started to read the text, I saw from the corner of my eye, that it was already moving in the other direction :D It’s actually really easy to switch in the end :D

  2. I like it… But when it’s really 3D, shouldn’t the pixels in the back be smaller than the ones up in front? Now it just seems like it’s a bunch of pixels sliding left to right and back…
    So.. in my opinion there is no rotation at all :P

  3. Even though you can see it rotating in both directions if you wanted to, there’s only one correct direction, IMO. You can judge by the elevation of the dots. The closer they get to the center of the sphere, the farther they get to the viewer. And of course vice-versa.

  4. i see it! awesome..i see it going forwards & backwards also..once i see that then i can watch it go either direction

  5. Is it odd that I can see two spheres merging in the center at the same time?, if i chose i can follow one and blur out the other.

  6. Since it’s a flat image with the poles at top and bottom, you can see it spin in either direction if you force your perspective. However, I tend to see it rotate west to east because that’s the way I’m used to thinking about the Earth (and most other planets) rotating.

  7. I see 3 kinds of motion. One is a sphere rotating clockwise. Two is a sphere rotating counter clockwise. Three is two halves of a sphere (split from top to bottom) rotating in opposite directions.

  8. Very good, the simple ones like this are the best! I can make it change direction but also so that both travel across the foreground simultaniously in opposite directions, crossing over to do the same in the background!

  9. Actualy, i saw what you said, and, seeying for some minutes, I can see too another fx…. two halfs of a sphere encountering each other in the center and going to opposite direction..

    Verrrryyy Coool!


  10. i see it in 3 different views; moving left, moving right or two parts going in two different directions merging into each other

  11. I love these ones – so simple, but so effective. It took a good long look and some intense concentration to get it to change directions, but it did. Once I got it happening, I noticed there are a couple of points in the rotation where it is easier to switch than others.

  12. Took me about 10 seconds to see what you were talking about. What’s really crazy is that after another 10-15 seconds it appeared to me that the illusion was spinning in two different directions simultaneously. In other words, it appeared that from the center front of the sphere the dots were flowing away from each other.

  13. as a pro illousionist i would say it isnt moving left or right, its uni not girl, boy, left, right so still! trust me im a pro

  14. Well, any transparent object (as in, completely transparent, besides some not-overlaying or same-color dots or faces) in a 2D medium (such as your computer screen) will have this effect. It is still pretty cool tho.

  15. This is pretty cool. I can change it almost instantaneously now.

    What I find interesting is that little tidbit about Avatar. I didn’t know people had trouble seeing it in 3D or just plain couldn’t see it in 3D. Odd… I wonder why?

  16. I have figurd it out!!! There are 2 illusions actually. The illusion tht it onlii spins in one direction and the second of it being a 3D sphere at all!! Its not a sphere its a circle!! Watch as the individual pixels go from right to left continuosly….giving this circle the illusion of being a sphere and spinning in both directions!! Yay i figured it out all by myself!! If it was really 3D pixels in the bak would be smaller and it would have no choice but to go in one direction or the illusion is ruined!

  17. At first, I saw it one way then the other accidentally. It took me awhile to do it on purpose.

    Also, I couldn’t see the 3D on Journey to the Center of the Earth when I rented it so now, I am afraid to see Avatar because I don’t want to waste the money.

    I can see 3D paintings that use the glasses and I could see the 3D movies on the IMax screens though.

  18. That bit about the Avatar film sounds to me like something from a tabloid newspaper, making over-the-top claims based on little evidence.

    With a Magic Eye/Stereogram, you need to be able to focus each eye on two separate points on the same image, which can be tricky and is why some people can’t view them. With 3D glasses, each eye sees a completely different image because the lenses are polarised. So if you can’t see the 3D system at work in Avatar, you would have no depth perception at all in normal life.

  19. Damnit.

    I had it moving to the left from when I first saw it, then after ten minutes it started moving to the right!


  20. Yupp,Saw all 5 versions:
    ball, rotating left to right,
    ball rotating right to left,
    two hemispheres counterrotating,
    two hemispheres counterrotating the other way
    and 2D dots going back and forth.

    Powerful ;)

  21. After awhile I just see it as a 2-D picture with dots moving back and forth…which I assume is what it really is…

  22. You can change the direction of the sphere and you can also see the two halves moving in opposite directions

  23. It all depends on which dots you see first – the ones going right or the ones going left. Your mind will then give you the illusion that these ‘two dimensional dots’ are actually a rotating sphere

  24. One of my favorites. I love the interactive ability to stop the spin and start it in the direction you choose.

    Try letting your eyes go as you would with 3D art.

    Very fun!

  25. I can see it in 4 views, clockwise, counter clockwise, both at the same time (trippy) and I can see sammys 2d view, it looks like they bounce off the walls and come back to the center. I love this illusion! 5 stars.

  26. mmmm…. what i saw was interesting… first i saw it rotating with the front to the right, then i saw it going to the left and fuse with two halfs going in two different ways and then i saw a circle with a bunch of dots while the dots went from one corner to the other, crashing as if making a nice explosive setting, it was nice

  27. ok but if you look at it as if the two sets of dots are only halves that are going different ways and they PASS each other every spin then it doesn’t even look like it’s spinning all together. just as two separate pieces

  28. you can look at this three different ways
    1. moving to the left
    2. moving to the right
    3. You can see that both sides of the sphere actually move both ways at the same time

  29. Don’t seem to see the world in 3D anyway, so I didn’t notice too much during the movie.

    Nice illusion. I managed to to see both directions and the splitted view

  30. way cool. at first glance, i saw it spinning to the right, then it changed according to the perspective i was trying to see.

  31. Very nice illusion! First I thought that it is a video where the orb periodically changes direction. But it is actually controllable. When there is that big pile up of dots in the middle, you just have to concentrate to the dots that are going to the direction you want and follow them for a while.

  32. i cant do the whole 3d thing because the vision in my eyes is different, my left eye is about twice as bad vision as my right so when i put on 3d glasses my brain just cant handle it and i have to take them off, maybe at least some of the 1/3 that cant see the 3d version have a similiar oddity with vision. awesome illusion by the way.

  33. crazily, i accidentally saw it splitting in the middle and both semi-circles rotating independently. i’ve gotten them to rotate independently in the same direction and in opposing directions, and then also what it’s supposed to do… i’m intrigued by this image; very curious…

  34. OMFG i cant believe it… i got it to work … these almost never work for me!Im so impressed with myself… then i wierded myself when 2 parts started going opposite directions…

  35. i left it for a few minutes and decided to come back… now i can make it change directioons at will… i want it ti go both ways though… that was cool!

  36. That’s the way I first saw it. Two semi (Half) spheres spinning in opposite directions. It almost looked like the two collided and past through each other and came around again. Then I could make it spin in either direction. Getting that first effect is a little more difficult, now that I made it spin in opposite directions. Pretty cool! I guess the 60’s did completely wear off.

  37. I also see two hemispheres (split along the vertical sector with less amount of dots) rotate in opposite directions. very good one, indeed!

  38. and, actually, the dots make elliptic trajectories; the lowest dot of all, when travelling from left to right, passes beneath all other dots. but when going right to left, another dot passes beneath it.

  39. Best One Ever. I’m sure the majority of people see it going to the right first. Cuz we think of a the arth as globe spinning from west to east. i ‘d like to see what this image looked like from the top of the globe. that would be pretty cool.

  40. wow. i could only see it turning left at first. to make it turn the other way i have to cross my eyes and while my vision is blurry i starte at the sphere and then i uncross my eyes and it is turning the ohter way. that is sooo AWESOME. kinda freaky too because it plays tricks on your eyes…

  41. Thats so cool! I had to not directly look t it to see the sphere going he other way-but its really cool-great job on the site, I go here every day!

  42. It was first going left for me than after a bit I would move my eyes right and got it to spin the other way. Really cool

  43. Well, actually the rotating sphere is (a 2D projection with perspective of) a 3D sphere. And it is rotating only to one direction: from left right (front side). That can be verified by tracing trajectories of single spots. If the projection were without perspective, the sphere could truly be interpreted to rotate either way round (single spots would travel on horizontal lines).

    Yet it is of course quite possible to see the sphere rotating to right to left, splitting in middle, or many other phenomena reported here. These interpretations all mean though that the viewer does not see/understand/interpret the 3D clues in the projection. (Stereo vision is not needed to interpret them; they can be seen with just one eye.)

  44. oh man! i kept staring at this for about two hours and couldn’t get it to switch direction, i had to look at it out of the corner of my eye to do it, very odd, keep up the good work! you just baffled me, and i’m pretty good at this kinda stuff!

  45. I can also see it turns two difficult ways in the same time. Left side turns right to left and right side left to right.

  46. don’t be disheartened if you can’t make it spin the other way, if you can’t, then check out the “spinning sillhouette ballerin”a on this site- that optical illusion is awesome, and my favourite, it works in the same way as this, and i’ve figured a fool-proof trick to do that one, which should help you with this one too:
    Look at the ballerina, it should be spinning one way.
    Then, look down at your keyboard, maybe keeping the tip of her leg in your view from the top corner of your eye.
    Then, concentrate, and imagine her leg spinning the other way, at one point on the screen, the corner, is where the images are looped.
    Keep concentrating and imagine her spinning the other way than the initial direction you saw her.
    When you look up, she should be spinning the other way.

    A few things to keep in mind is to concentrate on trying to think of her spinning the other way, keep the tip of her leg in view and relax :)

    Anyways, another one is the “Spinning Man”, very easy to spot and easier to get the trick :D

  47. P.S: at one time, i saw a smaller sphere rotating in the opposit direction inside a bigger sphere- and shoot- the corner of the eye thing doesn’t work well for this one, i’ve only made it rotate clock-wise twice, when i think of the back dots mingling and coming to the front, then it goes the other way ;)

  48. this is great i manage to do what u said it will do, clock wise, counter clock wise, and see it going toward each other and then a small gap would appear, then like it was coming from both sides and colliding with it self from front to back

  49. nice one, though i need some time to see it change, and more time to make it change again
    can somebody explain how to change it in a blink?
    and i can only see 3 versions

  50. This is cool. I remember as a kid, sitting at the local ( small ) airport and watching the radar dish rotate. After a short period of time, it seemed to be rotating the opposite way to what it had been. Wait a while longer and it began rotating in reverse again! This is so similar to that phenomenon.

    1. yeah these illusions make u stare at them forever. it was a while til i looked away.

  51. If you look at it just right you will see not only does it appear to rotate left or right but see it as two halves rotating on opposite directions towards eachother

  52. that’s great I could see the different roatation that’s pretty cool oh and by the way I didn’t know that about avatar that’s interesting

  53. Is it only me or can you make it appear as two counter rotating half spheres. Can not hold image for long but can retrieve quickly

  54. try to see the picture as two groups of dots moving in opposite direction side to side in 2D plane. that’s a challenge because my brain keeps telling me it’s a sphere, not a 2D object.

  55. Im able to see it moving in both directions at the same time ; < on half is going right and one left, however when I blink or stare for too long, Im losing this effect ;p

  56. i’ve managed to rotate it any time i want. bu in the end i end up seing it going both sides at the same time :)

  57. I saw them going left, right, back and forth and in two different directions at the same time. All you need to do is look closely and force your mind to ignore the illusion.

  58. I think has been animated to be confusing if ignoring the illusion, at first it goes left then after a while of staring it changes smoothly to going right, focus on the front bit then you see. CONCENTRATE!!!!!

  59. I manage to change its directions very quick and after a while, you’ll see they’re going in two dfferent directions.

  60. yup, got three directions too, i had to visualize it morphing to get it, but after that i could ignore what my brain was trying to say was the truth.

  61. nice depends on how u start to see it..the sphere is divided into two and revolving in different direction and in a few seconds they both revolved in clockwise direction and few seconds again will revolve in counterclockwise an…d then they meet opposite direction once then VICE VERSA.

  62. i find it easier to make it spin the other way if you look just to the left or right of the image. sometimes i see it going both directions at once which is really odd looking

  63. I was able to see this illusion as both sets of dots being the front dots (or background dots) at the same time. So it looks like two half-shells rotating into each other.

  64. Holy Crow i can actually make it change directions pretty quickly ive never seen this type of illusion before its kind cool

  65. i saw another thing
    two halfes of the sphere was rotating… different directions… \front\ one in leftt \back\ in right…. they were just passing by itself xD

  66. This is really cool! :D I imagined the sphere melting (or crashing like ocean waves) whenever I wanted to change the direction it was going :D

    1. iv done the same thing this is pretty cool left right together its so fun thnx

  67. I’ve stared at this too long. I honestly just see a black circle with 2d dots just floating back and forth now. Before I could make it spin back n’ forth, twist the hemispheres to spin together, apart, but now…


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