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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.



“A Room Filled with an Obnoxious Amount of Money”

For this photograph titled A Room Filled with an Obnoxious Amount of Money, I simply withdrew $871 from the bank and then used the multiplicity photography effect to fill the room up with cash.

This process roughly took 7-10 hours: roughly 4 hours taking the actual pictures of the money with my DSLR on a tripod; as you can see, I've put the money inside of picture frames, taped it walls, folded it around window blinds, mounted it in piles, and stuffed it in drawers and glass jars. Post-processing the 170 individual frames in Adobe Photoshop CS5 took roughly 5 hours.  This is a 2 shot vertical panorama (Everything shot in JPEG) with some HDR toning applied at the very end with the Topaz Photoshop plug-in.
A Room Filled with an Obnoxious Amount of Money
This looks like an obnoxious amount of money, but it was really only $871, as you can see below.

1000 dollars

In order to make the heaping "piles" of money seen on the tables, I simply took a small pillow and covered it with the $871, making sure no part of the pillow was visible, then moved the money to the next spot, and repeated 170 times:


If you take this $871 and then multiply it 170 times, this room would be filled with $148,070 USD. If you add the amount of money perceived inside the glass jars and underneath the heaping piles, this room could easily add up to a million US dollars or more.

Pretty cool! I'm rich with American currency, and it only took me 9 hours!

The multiplicity photography effect is explained in the video tutorial linked above. Plus, if you want an entire structured library of unique photography techniques, consider purchasing my instructional how-to e-book and online video course Trick Photography and Special Effects, which explains the camera techniques used to create creative images just like these ones.

Here is another image that is a little more casual titled "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" (Skrillex reference) that was taken in the same room:
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites



My Photography: Best of 2011

Most photos shot using:
Nikon D300s DSLR
Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 Lens

Aphex Twin - Xtal
Jan Jelinek - Them, Their

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