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The Phantom Message Optical Illusion

Look closely. Or not too closely ... and you'll see an optical illusion on the album sleeves of the band Soulwax. (Need a hint? Don't look directly at your monitor - view the picture above at an angle).

The Monkey Buddha has one more example: Link | Another Phantom Message - Thanks Paul Micarelli!

Update 8/1/08 - Sleevage featured this first (they also have many more cool album covers) - thanks Ashley Ringrose!

It took my glasses off and was able to see it fairly clearly. So if you can't see it, you should try squinting and blurring your vision a little.
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The best method I found is to get up and take a couple steps back from the monitor. Then it shows up distinctly.

I did the glasses thing too. It was weird, because I could see it clearly, then when I put my glasses back on, I could still see it for a second or two before it became unreadable.
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wow us glasses wearers could use this to come up with a secret way of communicating with each other right in front of all those damned fancy-eyes.
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I couldn't see it when I was a normal distance from my screen, but as I stepped back it became obvious. At 6 feet away it is as clear as day.

The weirdest thing is that it distorts like a lens as I move backwards and forwards. Freaky!
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Similar to Chad's advice:

I used a Firefox mouse gesture to reduce the image size. At half-size, the words are apparent with no effort.

Cool! How about an app that can do this with any text you supply to create an image? I'd download that... freeware.
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Very interesting. In visual perception research, when measuring visual acuity (the cut-off point or threshold where we are no longer sensitive to a visual stimulus), we can usually percieve stimuli up close, but the further away we move, the less sensitive we are to it until we are far enough away that we can't see it any more.
This illusion works the opposite way - the closer you are, the harder it is to see.
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Wow, I did a somewhat similar design (same basic concept) for an album cover a couple years ago. You can see the design here:
http://www.batterbrown.com/

Mine's easier to see, but I really dig that soulwax one.
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Sure enough, both taking the glasses off and shaking my head worked. Meanwhile, I look like a freaking idiot in my office. Curse your neatness, Neatorama!
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I could see it without my glasses once I got within a foot of the monitor (farther away than I usually have to be to read letters of that size.)

But I found it easiest to slide the glasses to the tip of my nose and look through them.
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The dots that spell the wording are slightly smaller than the ones that make up the background. So when you look from further away or take up your glasses or squint so your vision is blurred, you can see the areas that make up the lettering are denser in black than the surround.
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