This mind-boggling optical illusion claims to reveal a whole new colour

This mind-boggling optical illusion claims to reveal a whole new colour


We’re fascinated by optical illusions here at Creative Bloq, and just when we think we been bamboozled in every way possible, along comes another one. We’ve already seen plenty of optical illusions that test how we perceive colour, but here’s one that claims to actually generate a new colour altogether while we stare at the screen.

Stare long enough and you should be able to see a shade of orange that isn’t there and which, according to the illusion’s creator, can’t actually be shown on a screen. Confused? I certainly am. This could be one for our pick of must-see optical illusions and the best optical illusions of the year.

@beatonthebeeb (opens in new tab)
♬ original sound – Dean Jackson (opens in new tab)

Dean Jackson, AKA @beatonthebeeb, regularly leaves us baffled with his optical illusions on TikTok (opens in new tab). In the video above, he starts out by presenting the colour vivid orange. He says is the most intense shade of orange that can be displayed on a screen, but that it’s possible to trick our brains into seeing an even more intense shade of orange that “doesn’t actually exist”.

To see this phantom colour, he tells us to stare at a cross in the centre of a cyan-coloured circle for 20 seconds without blinking or moving the screen. After a while a halo of more intense orange – ‘hyper orange’, Jackson calls it, should start to appear like a halo around the circle. It’s not really there; your brain is hallucinating that colour,” he says.

But the optical illusion goes further. Jackson then takes the circle away, giving us “a burst of hyper orange” where the cyan circle previously was. How does this arcane wizardry work? Jackson says the cyan fatigues receptors in the eyes that would usually fire and “pollute the intensity of the orange”. 

All I can say is that it works. One person commented on the video: “Now I’ve got an orange circle in front of my eyes wherever I look. Send help!” “It’s like a sun, it’s so beautiful,” someone else writes. “Colour theory is so freaking fun,” someone else concludes. For more on that see our ultimate guide to colour theory, and if you want to create your own illusions, see our pick of the best graphic design software to get tooled up, or see the current prices for Adobe’s Creative Cloud below.

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