Self-Animating Images: Illusory Motion Using Repeated Asymmetric Patterns

Ming-Te Chi,1   Tong-Yee Lee1,   Yingge Qu,2      Tien-Tsin Wong2

ACM Transaction on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2008) Vol. 27, No.3, August 2008

1National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

2Chinese University of Hong Kong





Illusory motion in a still image is a fascinating research topic in the study of human motion perception. Physiologists and psychologists attempted to understand this phenomenon by constructing simple, color repeated asymmetric patterns (RAP) and found several useful rules to enhance the strength of illusory motion. Based on their knowledge, we propose a computational method to generate self-animating images. First, we present an optimized RAP placement on streamlines to generate illusory motion for a given static vector field. Next, a general coloring scheme for RAP is proposed to render streamlines. Furthermore, to enhance the strength of illusion and respect the shape of the region, a smooth vector field with opposite directional flow is automatically generated given an input image. Examples generated by our method are shown to evidence the illusory effect, and the potential applications for entertainment and design purposes.





SIGGRAPH 2008 Presentation Slides



     author = {Ming-Te Chi and Tong-Yee Lee and Yingge Qu and Tien-Tsin Wong},
     title = { Self-Animating Images: Illusory Motion Using Repeated Asymmetric Patterns },
     journal = {ACM Transactions on Graphics},
     year = {2008},

     volume = {27},

     number = {3},


[News report about this project][SIGGRAPH 2008 News about “Select highlights from the SIGGRAPH 2008 Papers Program” ][Cited at Akiyoshi KITAOKA Illusion News 10][The Latest Technology Research News][Video Technology Software][ New Scientist Magazine inteview at SIGGRAPH 2008][Cited at Li-Yi Wei’s Web site]


 Anarticle reports our paper in Newsweek/Russia, Sept./2008 [News link]


We would like to thank all reviewers for their valuable suggestions to improve the paper. We are grateful for the great discovery of Akiyoshi Kitaoka. Thanks to Zhanping Liu and Han-Wei Shen for providing access to their flow dataset. This work is supported by the Landmark Program of the NCKU Top University Project under Contract B0008, the National Science Council, Taiwan under NSC-96-2628-E-006-200-MY3, and the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, under RGC Earmarked Grants (Project No. CUHK417107).



Since the illusory motion effect is scale- dependent, we provide large images in the supplemental material. Please enlarge the PDF file for screen display. The optimal size for display is to span the whole screen with the inspected figure. Glancing around the images, without staring at a fixed position, also helps to perceive the effect. In our experiment, the best viewing distance to screen is roughly the half width of screen.


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