Photoshop Fail or Optical Illusion?

Couple of days ago, Luca has pointed me to the photo of Spanish minister Carme Chacón published on El Pais website. At first I couldn’t see anything strange in it, yet after I’ve read the title of Luca’s email (same as above) – it triggered my attention. Finally, after few moments I’ve noticed that minister’s feet were actually inverted one to another!

It seems as if her left leg ends with the right leg’s foot. Same goes for her right leg. At first I considered this yet another shameful Photoshop disaster, which I immediately forwarded to fellow webmaster who collects these. Yet, the twist came after I was explained there is actually nothing wrong with the photo itself! I couldn’t believe the photo was actually a “mere” optical illusion.

What has happened, is that Carme covered her left thigh in a way where it appears it’s pointing left, instead of it actually pointing up. This photo has been featured in several world sites as a wrong retouch, but after all the false spotlight it received, the agency who took the shoot explained how the legs were actually not crossed at all! I’m not sure I managed to explain what is happening here, but be sure to check the solution I created with help of the Photoshop (below) – it’s still hard to imagine, yet it should explain the illusion.

208 Replies to “Photoshop Fail or Optical Illusion?”

    1. @Zrowny: try going to and type cinemographs in the box you see and then hit enter. You’ll find lots of pages with more cinemographs. You could also press the ‘pictures’ option you see on the left to jump directly to cinemograph pictures. Or you could wait for Mighty Optical Illusions to post more cinemographs. [img][/img]

  1. It took me awhile to see the illusion… I understand, but it didn’t ever look like her legs were crossed, just her ankles….

  2. Hi! I’m from Catalonia, where this woman is, and I have to say that it shocked me :O
    But I also have to say that this woman is making a good progress in militar matters!

  3. Allo ! daily viewer here, and long live the MOIllusion site !! keep the good work ! regarding this illusion , I have to say its a good one , glad you posted it , being not created to be an illusion, but rather a “natural” one out of reality, I got puzzled !!
    Cheers to you !!

  4. Wow, this is really disorienting. This is the stuff I love – seemingly “normal” images that create an optical illusion.

  5. I see it in the 2nd picture with the white skirt. @Rick, look at her left knee (leg in front) in the picture with the white skirt, it looks like her left leg is coming out of her right leg, and not resting on top.

  6. Nothing more enjoyable than having to stare at a lovely pair of legs…

    The vertical shadow that is a combination of the cease in her bent knee and her left wrist really intensifies the illusion!

    While it’s pretty easy to see the legs both ways, it’s a lot more fun looking at them reversed :P

  7. Very cool. I had to re-read this many times and look at the pictures multiple times to fully understand but basically, in the real photo we think we’re looking at the side of her left leg crossed under her right leg when it’s actually the underside of her left leg which just goes up and back down. She’s blocking the rest of her leg with her arm on her knee.

  8. At first, I thought the illusion was the face of a man up on the glass, located behind the woman… that a real guy or just an illusion or something else?!?

  9. It’s just an illusion, and coincidence I think. After taking a second glance you can see her legs are not crossed just simply raised and crossed at the ankles. It tricked me at first I admit!

  10. Wasn’t until I looked at your photoshoped version that I got it. To those who fail to see it still.

    The sleeve of her top (Left hand) covers a part of her thigh, making it look as if the thigh we can see is part of her left leg, when in fact it is her right leg.

    The leg in the foreground is attached to the thigh and at no stage crosses over the other legs thigh/knee (only at the ankles do the legs cross)

    Very, very! Clever.

  11. dude, theres a really creepy looking guy in the background at the top, above the different languages next to her head.

  12. if you dont get it try and do her position at on the first photo… it is actually quite difficult until you go to the pics afterwards

  13. That is awesome. Such a simple little thing creates a forever mind boggling illusion. I must show this to all my friends.

  14. Yea it took a few goes to see the illusion but it’s definitely real. When you look hard at the photoshopped example where her left arm is missing, you can see where her leg does actually point up giving the impression her legs are crossed in a weird way.

  15. Now I do like this one. Sort of double bluff of an illusion.

    Also, just to redress the ballance a little, I also like the cinemographs. I wouldn’t necessarily call them illusions, but they do give a striking effect. I’d rather see a few of them every now and then, rather than 100 flavours of Penrose’s stairs.

  16. to me it just looks like a shadow on her leg from her sleeve and makes it look like she has a false leg its quite briliant really

  17. You did a FANTASTIC job explaining the illusion Vurdlak; you always do! Nice work and I did think her legs were crossed the whole time!!

    1. I meant to say that “I THOUGHT her legs were crossed the whole time”… Not “I think”….

      Keep up the nice work!!

  18. “legs were actually not crossed at all!” Okay now I see it. Oh, BTW, who is the man looking in the window?

  19. This one took a while to understand. I kept concentrating on her FEET because of the explanation.
    It’s just that it appears that her left knee goes UNDER her right knee and that her legs are crossed – when they aren’t. This is good. It forced me to be perceptive.

  20. The second picture seems to also be an optical illusion, her hip on the right side seems to be non-existant.

  21. If you don’t get it, think about how her legs would have to be positioned if she has crossed them only at the ankles. The photo makes it It look like she has crossed her legs above the knees (combination of angle and position of her left hand covering the knee) which is what leads you to think her feet are on backwards.

  22. If think about where her right thigh would have to be, it would actually be weirder if her legs were in fact crossed. But of course that’s the point of illusions. Our intuition is giving us the “wrong” answer.

  23. Now I get it! It took quite long to understand what you menat. For me it was obvious the way her legs were positioned. Maybe there’s other people for whom the crossed legs is the obvious one.

    1. What!? This is what’s known as a “reach”! The only thing wrong in this picture is how badly malnourished Carme Chacón looks.

  24. OH I get it I think those aren’t her legs, Cause if you look in the first picture Look at the knees and the legs where they start read the description a little harder :D

  25. I think what you seeing is because she is able to cross her legs at the knees, and also at the ankles. If you look at it from
    that perspective view, you will be able to tell that its not incorrectly photoshopped nor is it an illusion. You have to have some pretty long legs to do this. None of which I have.

    1. this is cracking me up, if she actually were crossing her legs above the knees and at ankles then that would mean that she was born with her left foot and right foot on wrong side… are people just ignoring here toes being in wrong place?

  26. This optical illusion is on-par with the animated GIF files. Do I need to stand on my head and cross my eyes to see it?

  27. Absolutly amazing !
    even now, i still believe that she crossed her legs above the knees (and under which is obvious) but in fact she realy crossed her legs only once (under knees).
    The shades from her hands are guilty !

    1. That was obvious to me that her legs were only crossed once… I had a hard time trying to see what was supposed to seem like it was Photoshopped… And it still doesn’t make sense that people would see it like that, Guess i just have a weird mind or something

  28. I believe the black clothing that hides any contour contributes to the strenght of the effect of this “illusion”. I appreciate the solution pictures. a very stronge effect. Even knowing the solution I still see the leges as reversed ( especially when I look at the feet)

  29. I didn’t see how her legs couldn’t be crossed until I saw the photoshopped pic with her hand “removed”. Good one.

    1. Is that a painting of a face in the background or someone standing outside of a window, or could it be something Supernatural???? I don’t really believe in stuff like that but to me, it does Not look like a painting or someone looking through a window!!! It really freaked me out when I first noticed it!!!! To be honest, it still kind of freaks me out! LMAO!!!! I saved the pic on my PC, and then I opened it and zoomed in on the face and it looked even more freaky up close! I don’t have a clue what it is!!!!!!!



  32. AHH I didn’t notice the creeper in the window until someone pointed it out!! That’s so freaking creepy! Now I’m scared… :o

  33. No one else noticed the weird creepy guy in the window???????????????????????? That’s what I noticed, but in the explanation, he kept saying something about her legs, and I am like, WHAT????? While there is some creepy stalker guy in the window!!!

    1. im pretty sure that “guy in the window” is just a pic. of lord voldermort from one of the harry potter ads.

  34. There’s also a face in the window behind her. O thought that’s what the thing was about…it’s kind if creepy…

  35. you must be super dumb. thats not even the part your supposed to see! theres a face in the window.and the ones above this comment, all the ways up to “Jessica”, your idiots.

  36. This is ridiculous. There is no optical illusion here. I actually had to read the description just to figure out what they were talking about and even then it took me a minute to figure out why anyone would think this. Absolutely ridiculous.

    1. Absolutely ridiculous – there is no “illusion” here – I had to read the post intensely before I even understood what you were going on about.

  37. I too had to read the description to “see” what the author saw in this photo. Only an idiot would see an illusion in this; her legs are just crossed. If this confuses you, please buy a helmet and don’t have children.

  38. no no no, there is no way this is just an optical illusion. The picture taken to “prove” this fact only disproves it. In the second photo, the knees are level, and it is likely the legs are swapped behind the hands, but in the first photo, her knee is a few inches above the other, making a mere “optical illusion” impossible. Sorry, but I’m convinced this has been heavily p-shopped.

  39. i dont get it… her legs are crossed at the ankles.
    where’s the illusion?
    it does however look like someone’s painted a blob on her left knee.

  40. It seems that some of the commenters are not getting the photo, the skin to the right is not the uper side of her leg it is really the underside and a small portion of her ass.

    1. Thank you! This was the key for me, even after following their explanation which made some sense, my eyes were unable to see quite why her leg still looked so crooked, that is until your comment.

  41. i get it her legs r not crossed just beside each other and to make her seem profetional they make her arm i certin way to hide the leg and make it look crossed

  42. Very well explained, as I was really confused and my mother tongue is not English and I’ve been able to understand what’s happening. Thank you!

    1. The human brain evolved to be good at spotting faces hidden in the trees … so good that we are prone to false positives.

  43. Love is patient, love is kind.
    It does not envy,
    it does not boast,
    it is not proud.
    It is not rude,
    it is not self-seeking,
    it is not easily angered,
    it keeps no record of wrongs.
    Love does not delight in evil
    but rejoices with the truth.
    It always protects,
    always trusts,
    always hopes,
    always perseveres.

  44. Here it is!
    Clear as day folks. The Picture, NOT photoshopped!


    1. You’ve got your left and right mixed up. Her left arm rests on her left leg, and her right arm rests on her left arm.

  45. Nah, that’s not an illusion, I’m not buying the excuse. That’s a PS FAIL. Left thigh, left knee, not adding up. The reenactment ain’t the same. M2C

  46. graphicdesigner: your conclusion is correct, but outline number 3 is incorrect. You outlined the lower part of her right leg and the upper part of her left leg and left buttock. You cannot outline her entire right leg since it crosses over her left and is not in view.

    1. “graphicdesigner: your conclusion is correct, but outline number 3 is incorrect. You outlined the lower part of her right leg and the upper part of her left leg and left buttock. You cannot outline her entire right leg since it crosses over her left and is not in view.”

      Evan, you are a cretin. Her legs are not crossed — if they were, her feet would be backwards. Outline number 3 is correct — an outline of her left leg, which is tight against her right leg — they do not cross. This is really quite straightforward for reasonably intelligent people … but there are numerous morons who still think it’s photoshopped, her legs are crossed, etc. even after it has been clearly explained.

  47. @ Graphic one your heads on straight its just a light illusion the pics the real McCoy ,’-) I do graphic design too all the way in Namibia

  48. wtf do you mean her legs are not crossed! They clearly are! Unless of course her toes are reversed on her feet. This is F’n stupid. if her legs were not crossed then there would actually be something worth looking at because thhat would mean she has freaky reverse toes. This picture is totally normal and unremarkable.

  49. Ok, it’s true, it’s a trick photo.

    It’s been manipulated so only gay people can see the face in the background.

  50. Took we a while 2 c y this pic looks so messed up, i c it now. Probably took so long cuz i kept staring @ her legs. Damn!

  51. idont get the pic really her legs look crossed

    ido see the face in the background so obviously big b has eye sight issues or is insecure

    and as for the whole photo ive already wasted too much of my time reading these comments basically all saying the same thing

  52. This is so difficult to comprehend…I can totally see why thighs crossed + shins crossing back over and arms crossed could be soooo incredibly hard to understand.

    WTF is wrong with people?
    There is nothing at all about this photo even remotely interesting, except that she picked a very weird pose, and she’s flexible.

  53. You guys are completely lame. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the picture. She is simply crossing her legs. It’s lame how people easily get confused these days. Stay off the internet unless you like getting scammed. You guys are easy targets.

  54. y’all are stupid…the pic is made to look like her legs are crossed. IF they are, her toes are on backward…….look at the toes people…..

  55. The legs weren’t really crossed. The left hand that held the knee had covered the joint. On top of that, excessive lighting places at an lower angle coming from the left of model (right of picture) had caused an overburnt to left of model. distorting the original shadow cast on the thigh. Comparing the skin tone of the other picture (non-minister) the lady had darker shadow on the skin of her thigh as compare to the skin on her leg.

    Sometimes inappropriate use of lighting can caused unnecessary illusions or at times, deliberate illusions.

  56. her knee is a few inches above the other, making a mere “optical illusion” impossible. Sorry, but I’m convinced this has been heavily p-shopped

  57. This photo has been featured in several world sites as a wrong retouch, but after all the false spotlight it received,

  58. I can see the issue you mention.
    If anyone else isn’t sure where to look, it’s the part of the thigh between her hands. It does look like it’s been messed with. I think there was probably an issue where the under part of her thigh was showing a bit more than she would have liked so somebody has moved it around a bit but because of what they’ve done they made her leg joint seem wrong.

    It’s really odd, but there definately looks like some odd dithering going on near that joint.

  59. the pic is made to look like her legs are crossed. IF they are, her toes are on backward…….look at the toes people…..
    directions of toes are on the wrong.

  60. ur all idiots 1 pic she’s not wearing a ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ur looking at the wrong thing! do i win a prize?

  61. All of you people who say this isn’t an illusion are idiots. So what if it’s been photoshopped, it doesn’t change the fact that THERE IS an illusion. Look at her left knee; don’t you see that it looks a bit out of place if you try to connect it with her right thigh?

    And LOOK CLOSELY. Think before you speak; and understand the illusion before posting comments. It’s rude. And most of you are getting the wrong idea, it’s not about the creepy stalker or the ring or the scissor.

  62. Has it ocurred to anyone other than me that this question could be totally resolved by contacting the lady woman in the photo on Skype and asking her to chgange into short shorts and stand in front of her web cam bare footed.

  63. Her legs dosen’t even look wrong! This whole thing is just fucked up O.o There’s no wrong with the picture :S

  64. Her legs are not crossed, she’s just extremely skinny. The hard shadow from her arms/hands just makes the leg “look” as if they are crossed.

    But in the grand scheme of things, why is there a debate on the matter?

    1. look at the top of the globe, there is a pink wall thing look at that for a bit and you see a minty kinda stripe

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