A lot of people are familiar with optical illusions: In optical illusions, pictures may seem to move, objects may be hidden within the picture, and sometimes pictures even change completely. These pictures may seem to change when a person moves their head, squints their eyes, or looks away from the picture for a short period of time. One specific type of optical illusion is called a stereogram. A stereogram is a picture that has another picture hidden inside of it. It is made to be a fun picture that people are not easily able to see. These pictures are made using a computer with special software that helps the artists to design them. When a person first looks at a stereogram, they may not see the hidden picture inside of the main picture. By squinting their eyes, staring, or turning the picture, most people are able to eventually find the hidden picture. Sometimes, it takes a lot of practice to be able to see these hidden pictures.
Most of the time, these stereograms are found in frames or on websites. Stereograms can be found in a lot of other places, though. They can be designed for decorative purposes on any number of objects. They can be turned into designs for pillows, posters, boxes, wallpaper, and even ceiling tiles. When these stereograms are turned into decorative items, they are often much larger than a normal stereogram picture. This makes the stereogram a lot of fun, and for some people, it can make it much easier to see the hidden pictures when the design is much larger.
Not only is looking at stereograms a lot of fun, but it is a great way to exercise the eyes. It may sound strange to exercise the parts of the eyeballs, but every part of the body can benefit from exercising. People who look at optical illusions such as stereograms also exercise their brain each time they look at one. This is because it takes a lot of processing power for the brain to decide exactly what it is looking at. It also takes a lot of thinking to decide if what the eyes are seeing is real or if the eyes are being tricked.
Some people may have trouble seeing certain stereograms if they are colorblind. Being colorblind is a condition where the eyes are not able to see certain colors properly. The most common colors that colorblind people are unable to tell the difference between are greens, reds and blues. This makes it hard for the eyes to see hidden pictures because the colors between the two may blend together. When the colors are blended together, it can be tough to see a hidden picture inside of another picture. This is especially true if the stereogram has colors such as greens and reds within it. Those who are able to see stereograms, however, find that they are a lot of fun. With such a wide variety of designs and illusions, decoding stereograms is an excellent hobby for people of all ages.
In addition to decoding basic stereograms, there are a wide array of resources available that detail specific techniques to use while trying to decode them. To practice viewing deceptive stereograms, there are many games, puzzles, and even Web games that can be played. Playing these games is very similar to viewing standard stereograms. It may seem like a lot of fun to play these games, but while playing, both the brain and the eyes are getting a lot of exercise, too.
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- Pixels, Numbers, and Programs: Stereograms (PDF)