This intriguing image is taken from my book “Curiopticals“. Look at Frankenstein from a certain distance – approximately 2-3 meters, or 7-8 feet – and you will see what he is dreaming about. This type of illusion is known as a cryptic or hybrid optical illusion, and is produced by merging two subjects with different resolutions. The result is that one subject is hidden or suggested in the ‘host’ image.
But how does it work?
When you see the picture close-up, the fine details dominate (Frankenstein), but when you observe it from a distance, the larger, more blurred tones become more coherent and, in this case, a beautiful diva appears! (fig. A)
A lot of artists used similar optical processes to create ambiguous artworks, such as Salvador Dalí’s intriguing painting “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln” (1976).
You can create such amazing cryptic optical illusions too, with Photoshop, by blending together two faces in one hybrid image. You just need to smooth (high-pass) one image, and sharpen (low-pass) the other one. This method can be applied to other kinds of subjects, but face swapping seems especially amazing…
Posters and t-shirts featuring mu hybrid optical illusion are available from my online store.