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Lego Illusions
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A series of sci-fi based optical illusions. Can you always trust your eyes?
About this creation


Spacemen Brian and Paul descended from the E.S.C.H.E.R. Space Station to explore the land below.

The pretty pink pools of planet Penrose's perpetually perplexing paradoxical perspectives particularly puzzled poor Paul's peculiar parallax perception.



Here's a view of how the illusion works. It is totally based upon the work of Lego Jim, as are all of these builds.



The starship "Trompe L'Oeil" was powered by an experimental, trans-dimensional warp drive. This bent the fabric of space-time and allowed journeys to be made at the equivalent of faster than light speed.

Unfortunately the fuel store was prone leaks, resulting in the strange spatial distortions which can be seen in this archive photo.

The project was eventually abandoned when the ship folded in on itself and vanished. Luckily none of the crew were killed, as they were all on shore leave, enjoying an new delivery of tea and cake at a nearby space station.



"Oh look: I appear to be at the bottom of a very deep, dark hole. That seems a familiar concept. What does it remind me of? Ah yes, I remember: LIFE. Perhaps if I stay here and ignore it, it'll go away? Or then again, perhaps not."

Strangely the hole wasn't dark, it was yellow. Nor was actually very deep. In fact it wasn't actually a hole at all. It was just Marvin's mangled circuitry's perception of the situation. That and terrible pain his diodes.



Here we see members of the Martian Investigation, Research And Geometry Establishment (M.I.R.A.G.E.) placing beacons on a visual anomaly discovered near Deimos. The radio beacons will warn spaceships to steer clear of this potentially dangerous, confusing and chaotic region.



This ancient archive photo shows the crash of the LL314, during its approach to the geothermal research centre on the Parallax.

Gravitational anomalies bent and twisted the light around the asteroid, meaning that pilots had to trust their instruments and not their eyes. Unfortunately many of the visual distortions were so convincing that spacemen would disbelieve their radars, fly by sight and hit the ground.



Piloted by a crew of outlaws, renegades and the ship-board computer "Aunt Dot", the T.T.A. "Liberator" tries to evade the laser defence towers of the planet Trebizond, carrying a precious cargo of bathing caps. But all is not as it first appears...



This view shows how the most complicated illusion that I've built so far actually works.



Through bitter experience, the Outer Reach Research Team had learnt to avoid the holes, pits, caves, lakes and swamps where hungry, carnivorous monsters might lurk. Despite their tough, thick pressure suits, the spacemen had proved to be a tasty morsel for an alien predator on more than one occasion.

A strange square of low, sloping ridges should have proved a safe place for an unarmed survey team to explore but the perpetually ravenous Hurung was able to warp the fabric of space. Fortunately its tiny, toothless mouth was only 3.14159cm across, which was why it was perpetually hungry. Having sucked the mud from a surprised spaceman's boots, it spat him out unharmed. The Hurung shifted away through a wormhole in the space-time continuum, in search of smaller, tastier prey.

This illusion was inspired by David Alexander Smith's superb Outer Reach Research Team series.



I hope you've enjoyed these illusions. You can view them in more detail by clicking this link to my Flickr Photostream. A big thank you to Lego Jim for sharing his ideas: go and have a look at his work too! I'm off skiing, once I've worked out which way is downhill.

All of these builds are included in the LDD file, which you can download below. I'll be fascinated to see what other do with these ideas :D


Building instructions
Download building instructions (LEGO Digital Designer)

Comments

David Roberts
 I like it 
Lego Jim ...
  June 21, 2015
Hiya David. Thanks for checking out my stuff. It's nice to be back.
 I like it 
  May 31, 2015
Your optical illusions are just insane! So awesome :) My favorite is the orange cube with the sides that appear to be tiered!
 I made it 
  May 23, 2015
Quoting Stacey Harrison So... Your Hurung has a mouth that is only 3.14159 big, eh?? Would you call that a Pi-hole?? Narf narf!!
Groan! :D
 I like it 
  May 22, 2015
So... Your Hurung has a mouth that is only 3.14159 big, eh?? Would you call that a Pi-hole?? Narf narf!!
David Roberts
 I like it 
matt rowntRee
  January 14, 2015
I do love it when my brain hurts and these make my brain hurt. Love the Liberator one the best, I like the hilarious disappointment I get when I see the flat version. And, of course, it is always a fantastic sign when the ORRT return, to get eaten. Again. And again. XD Awesome crafting!
 I like it 
  January 14, 2015
VERRY VONDERFUL RENDITION OF THE LEGO DISPLAY LOGIC
 I made it 
  January 14, 2015
Quoting Tom Remy Excellent uses of Jim's idea, great job! I especially like the M.I.R.A.G.E and the "most complicated" (indeed) one!
I love your description of the MIRAGE. The joy of LDD is the copy & paste function!
 I like it 
  January 14, 2015
David, this is brilliantly made!! Love that kind of work that plays with eyes and surprises the brain. A pleasure to watch and enjoy.
  January 13, 2015
Whoah!! These MOCs are .... just great!!:)
 I like it 
  January 13, 2015
At first I thought that some parts of these builds were on different planes, as they appeared to be. Then I realized THAT WAS THE ILLUSION. Mind=blown.
 I like it 
  January 13, 2015
As I said on Flickr, love these :)
 I like it 
  January 13, 2015
great perspective experiment!
 I like it 
  January 13, 2015
Amazing stuff!
 I like it 
  January 13, 2015
Really can not trust my eyes, but more than evver, I trust you are extraordinarily awesome ^_^ Also, I sincerely respect your spirit of sharing, this is the power of advance.
David Roberts
 I like it 
Lego Jim ....
  January 11, 2015
Dude. I really like the new one. The angled pieces worked awesome, they really make the illusion work. I like all the red too, plus the alien is totally sweet. Excellent work. Keep making more.
David Roberts
 I like it 
Lego Jim ....
  January 11, 2015
Hiya David. Hey, I just gotta tell you about some new pieces I found that work great for this stuff. PANEL TILE PIECES! They are awesome for this stuff. I just figured it out, I only have a handful of these pieces though, so I just made a little something. You should check it out on LDD, I bet you could make something awesome with it.
 I like it 
  January 11, 2015
Really, I don't know if I would have noticed the illusion without you pointing it out. It looked so natural. You achieved the effect perfectly. Cool stuff.
 I like it 
  January 11, 2015
Excellent uses of Jim's idea, great job! I especially like the M.I.R.A.G.E and the "most complicated" (indeed) one!
 I made it 
  January 11, 2015
Quoting Pico van Grootveld Well now I don't know what's hurtin' my head more at this moment, the Leffe or your digital illusions. At least I was a bit prepared thanks to the early Flickr posts ;) Great stuff David. I read you're going to be busy now judging all our inspirational builds for the CSPMCIII, but be sure to pick up this line again after that. Most enjoyable!
Thank you! I've added a David Alexander Smith inspired illusion now :)
 I made it 
  January 11, 2015
Quoting Stuart Lucas I always enjoy Lego optical illusions and these are all excellent! I think the cube is my favourite, but I love the micro Liberator too.
I have cheated with the Liberator type ship: it has four engines not three!
 I made it 
  January 11, 2015
Quoting Clayton Marchetti These are really cool! The cube is my favorite. Excellent!
Quoting Daniel Calleri The boys and I really like these! Very cool use of LEGO indeed.
Quoting Henrik Jensen Lovely collection of 3D illusions, incredible that vision can be cheated so easily.
Quoting Kermunklin the Giant Evil House Head Tricky and very enjoyable
Quoting El Barto ! Cool designs! I even think I understand how you built them! I think...
Quoting Joao Campos Wow! This is a very ingenious use of perspective... and of course of the right parts. Truly impressive!
Quoting Elk Guard Nice work!
Quoting Dr. Monster Very cool. Great builds and nice write ups too.
Quoting Bob the inconceivably invincible Ugh. My brain hurts.
Thank you all!
David Roberts
 I like it 
Lego Jim ....
  January 10, 2015
Cool, I wanted to be first. These turned out sooooo awesome. What piece did you use to hold the tiles up.
David Roberts
Lego Jim ....
  January 10, 2015
Excellent work. My favorite one is the "Aunt Dot" one. The defense towers turned out really good. I also really like the cube. That was pure genius. They are ALL great though and the color choices you made on these were perfect. I especially like the coloring on the purple and grey one. I'm glad it worked out on LDD. And thanks for giving me props. You're making me want to make some more.
David Roberts
 I like it 
Lego Jim ....
  January 10, 2015
I added a group for illusions so we can collect all these photos in one spot. You're invited of course.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
This has to be one of the cleverest pieces I have yet seen. I love how you managed these illusions with so few pieces. Great work!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Ugh. My brain hurts.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Very cool. Great builds and nice write ups too.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Nice work!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Well now I don't know what's hurtin' my head more at this moment, the Leffe or your digital illusions. At least I was a bit prepared thanks to the early Flickr posts ;) Great stuff David. I read you're going to be busy now judging all our inspirational builds for the CSPMCIII, but be sure to pick up this line again after that. Most enjoyable!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Wow! This is a very ingenious use of perspective... and of course of the right parts. Truly impressive!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Cool designs! I even think I understand how you built them! I think...
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Tricky and very enjoyable
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Lovely collection of 3D illusions, incredible that vision can be cheated so easily.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
I always enjoy Lego optical illusions and these are all excellent! I think the cube is my favourite, but I love the micro Liberator too.
  January 10, 2015
The boys and I really like these! Very cool use of LEGO indeed.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
These are really cool! The cube is my favorite. Excellent!
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Ian Spacek Splendid display Mr. Roberts!
Quoting Adam Knorr This is so weird and awesome! Great job!
Thank you both!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
This is so weird and awesome! Great job!
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Splendid display Mr. Roberts!
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting MortalSwordsman . That is a very good idea
I think that you'd have to view it through a window or mock binoculars, so that people would easily see it from the correct angle for the illusion to work. I had been pondering how to display illusions, built in real bricks, at a Lego show.
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Nick Barrett Peculiarly perplexing indeed, with a nice line in alliteration. Clever stuff.
Thank you! I kept adding and adding words that began with "P" to the sentence over a period of about three days when I first published it on Flickr.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
That is a very good idea
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Lego Jim .... I added a group for illusions so we can collect all these photos in one spot. You're invited of course.
A great idea for a group. I hope that it inspires more people to play with these ideas.
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting MortalSwordsman . These are totally crazy and hurt my head. brilliant work
Than you! I'll be waiting for a giant Bright Bricks Trompe L'Oeil Lego build ;)
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
These are totally crazy and hurt my head. brilliant work
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Stephan N Great David, i could admire the works already on Flickr. And am still fascinated. And as I wrote on Flickr, i can not wait until you return to your real lego. I think then see things from twice as good.
Thank you! I've got a Technic Power Functions project and an idea for using the pull-back motors, which are both going to have to wait until May and my return to real bricks!
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Yann (XY EZ) wow! That's amazing! this brings me to a philosophical and mathematical question: Is the world in which we are living an illusion? So is this world only two - dimensional, because we've an illusion of the three dimensional world? ;-P Great creation, I hope more will come in the future ;-)
I looking forward to somebody with your LDD skills to take these ideas on and move them forward. Perhaps you could use them in one of your VW adverts? I'm pretty sure that the world is real. The ground felt quite solid in the various ski crashes that I've had. Then again, there was that infinitely long beach... http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neuromancer-William-Gibson-ebook/dp/B004XOZ8B0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420910479&sr=8-1&keywords=neuromancer
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Peculiarly perplexing indeed, with a nice line in alliteration. Clever stuff.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Great David, i could admire the works already on Flickr. And am still fascinated. And as I wrote on Flickr, i can not wait until you return to your real lego. I think then see things from twice as good.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
wow! That's amazing! this brings me to a philosophical and mathematical question: Is the world in which we are living an illusion? So is this world only two - dimensional, because we've an illusion of the three dimensional world? ;-P Great creation, I hope more will come in the future ;-)
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Topsy Creatori Gotta love those helpful shadows! And, you already know which one is my favorite! You realize that these made me begin Penroses's book which had been sitting on a bookself for several years waiting to be read. And as he states in his prolgue it can be read at many different levels! :)
Thank you! Having read the blurb for Penrose's book on amazon, it still looks quite a task. I haven't done any serious maths for over 20 years now. My favourite book in this sort of area is Douglas Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid". I've started it twice and made it 2/3 of the way through, so far.
 I like it 
  January 10, 2015
Gotta love those helpful shadows! And, you already know which one is my favorite! You realize that these made me begin Penroses's book which had been sitting on a bookself for several years waiting to be read. And as he states in his prolgue it can be read at many different levels! :)
 I made it 
  January 10, 2015
Quoting Lego Jim .... Cool, I wanted to be first. These turned out sooooo awesome. What piece did you use to hold the tiles up.
Thank you! The tiles are held up 1x2 SNOT bricks (headlight bricks). I had to use 2x2 tiles to hide the bricks. It also means that the tiles can't be as densely packed as on your builds.
 
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