Hybrid Image Optical Illusion (Photoshop Tutorial)

Hybrid Images / Visuospatial Resonance. If you Overlay two images on top of one another inside of Photoshop — one with a lower the spatial frequency (Gaussian Blur Filter) and one with a higher spatial frequency (High-Pass Filter) — you can then view the two images independently, each image at a different distance. The high-pass image can be viewed (in detail) up close, and the blurry image can be viewed by one of the following methods:

  • walking a few meters away from your computer screen
  • defocusing your eyes
  • making the picture smaller on the computer screen (doesn’t work as good as the other methods)
  • taking your glasses off (if you have them)


Hybrid image with Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe (Wikipedia public domain) Black and white images work better if the color is too different between each image.
For instance, Monroe is showing her teeth and lips (white and red), but Einstein is showing lips and a mustache (red + gray).
In order to fix any obvious mis-match in color, you can make each image black and white.
In order to fix any alignment mis-matches of facial features, you could theoretically use the Liquify Tool.

Hybrid Image - Ambiguous Face

If you look at this picture from far away (or with your eyes defocused), my lips appear to be smiling.
If you view this picture close-up (as you would normally), I have a dead-pan face.

Also (when viewing normally), if you focus your attention to the eyes, the lips seen with your peripheral vision may appear to be smiling, but as soon as your eyes look /directly/ at the lips, the smile vanishes.
Emotionally ambiguous face! Spooky mysterious.

There are many potential different uses for this technique – including subliminal messages, etc.

There are not many hybrid images on the net at the moment – lets change that!

Submit your images to Flickr and tag them with “Hybrid Image” and maybe “Visuospatial Resonance”, and post them inside the PhotoExtremist Flickr Group, and maybe even on the PhotoExtremist Facebook timeline.


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21 Responses to Hybrid Image Optical Illusion (Photoshop Tutorial)

  1. Sriram says:

    Ive tried out many of your work from trick photography book. All I have say its really awesome. You’re very very creative and this hybrid thing is just another feather in your cap! Thanks and cheers.

  2. Marlene says:

    Evan – you rock! I love your work and this one is another amazing example of a great mind at work! Thanks for sharing!

  3. javy says:

    Thank you, u always come up with great tutorials and this one is not the exception. i think of all the pics that you show this time, the best is the one of the hybrid Dat or Cog,

  4. Will Smith says:

    Very very nice…however your creativity makes me jealous.. but keep doing what you do.. you are a real inspiration ..going to try this with infrared..

  5. Kleijn says:

    Nice to hear from you,
    It is very clear tutorial but it is not for me

    Thanks for sharing


  6. rik meeuws says:

    in my opinion, the high pass works better using linear light rather than overlay

  7. Leah says:

    Nice one 🙂

  8. Victoria says:

    Great, thanks for sharing your knowledge… I will try this. Your the best.

  9. Mary says:

    Enjoyed the video, very helpful. Interesting effect. Would this also work for the effect of “eyes following you” in a painting or photo?

  10. Neal says:

    I can’t wait till I get my new canon 6D in December to start trying some of the things in you’re book .

  11. Tony says:

    Why users still use to read news papers when in
    this technological world everything is presented on net?

  12. Tu Chanming says:

    Wow, this is interesting. I had no idea such a technique was being used on Mona Lisa. Indeed it really makes me think what kind of images we could make with this technique.. very cool. —T. Chanming

  13. Really I enjoy this video amazing.. great technique and tutorial.

  14. Bali Driver says:

    Very god hybrid picture

  15. Amazing is everything, enjoy everything.

  16. Nasrin says:

    Great!! thanks for your post.

  17. Cris says:

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  18. red ball says:

    Great!! thanks for your post.

  19. Mamun says:

    Thanks for sharing such a nice info with us. Fantastic writing skills. I appreciate this blog.

  20. Mehedi Ahmed says:

    This is an amazing and helpful post, Thanks for sharing!

  21. clipping way says:

    Everything has its value. Thanks for sharing this informative information with us. GOOD works!

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