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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Mind-blowing optical Illusions explained: What is anamorphism?

Given that you've made it this far, first have a look at what this article is all about.

Anamorphosis is a way of projecting an image in a distorted manner so as to convey the actual image by making the viewer take a specific vantage point or in some cases with special optical devices (like a mirror).

The word "anamorphosis" is derived from the Greek prefix ana-, meaning back or again, and the word morphe, meaning shape or form.

There are two main types of anamorphosis:
1.Perspective (oblique)
2.Mirror (catoptric)

Perspectival anamorphosis date to the early Renaissance and are now a major part of various industries, especially advertisement. Mirror anamorphosis were first created in the later. A mirror is placed in proximity of the painting or illustration and if viewed from specific angles it transforms the distortion into an image.

This occurs mainly due to the difference in perspective we get from viewing it from a vantage point compared to a normal place.

The main calculations are done by adjusting the perspective of the image in various software. Various techniques of projection are used to estimate the position and the size of the actual graphic ( illustration). The the angle and the distance from the viewing point are some of the things taken into consideration.

The system of anamorphic projection can be seen quite commonly on text written at a very flat angle on roadways, such as "Bus Lane" or "Children Crossing", which is easily read by drivers who otherwise would have difficulty reading as the vehicle approaches the text; when the vehicle is nearly above the text, its true abnormally elongated shape can be seen.

Also a lot of sports have their fields painted or a printed mat is used instead. It is used to promote brands and when viewed from a specific angle i.e. usually the point-of-view of the camera the image is seen in its undistorted form.

Much writing on shop windows is in origin anamorphic, as it was written mirror-reversed on the inside of the window glass. Ambulances with AMBULANCE written as a mirror image is one of the most common forms of anamorphism.

An anamorphic fresco by Andrea Pozzo at the Church of St.Ignazio.

We like to think of viewing as perception or reality. Our eyes provide continuous raw input to the brain. Since we are accustomed to viewing objects as normal entities and quickly search for familiar patterns like rectangles, squares, circles and try to make something out of what we see. These distortions force our brain to interpret the way we see the actual world and hence the illusion.

We possess something called the "binocular vision" and it's unlike a camera. We fundamentally receive information from a pair of eyes and this creates a alternated view of reality which helps in analysing depth and distance and also anamorphic illusions. The "Ames Room" illusion brilliantly exposes the kind of expectations that we automatically apply to what we see.

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