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Biggest Elephant Illusion

This illusion is from a very old newspaper cutting though the same illusion (or variants on it) appears in popular publications today. The caption invites the reader to guess which elephant is bigger...but this is an illusion: They are all the same size. If you don't believe it, try measuring them with a ruler.

The illusion makes use of two devices to suggest distance - the perspective lines receding to a vanishing point and the use of shading. Because these features cause the eye to think that the darkest elephant is nearer, we assume it will appear largest. The fact that the lightest shade of elephant appears larger fools us into thinking it is actually a bigger elephant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Technically if we're to treat this as an accurate image or a photograph and answer the question "which elephant is biggest" it would have to be the furthest away one, as it is the same size in the picture as the other two, but is further from the viewer, and thus must have the largest size, despite it's size on the image.

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