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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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“Shape From Smear”

“Shape From Smear”

An Illusion of 3D Shape, Made by Finger-Painting With Noise

Chapter:
(p.198) Chapter 17 “Shape From Smear”
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Roland W. Fleming

Daniel Holtmann-Rice

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0017

Of the many mysteries of sensory perception, one of the greatest is surely our ability to see in three dimensions. While the world is 3D, the retinal images are 2D: So how does the brain work out the extra dimension? Under ordinary conditions, viewing the world with two eyes provides rich sources of information for inferring depths. However, we are also very good at working out 3D shape even from single, static photographs of objects. This chapter presents a novel illusion in which 2D patterns appear vividly 3D, revealing specific image information that the brain uses for inferring 3D shape, based on the way texture appears distorted in the image.

Keywords:   perception, brain, illusion, 3D shape, depth, texture

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