It's Also Acetaminophen-riffic.
June 18, 2007 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Ready for '90s nostalgia yet? Well, throw some flannel on your Furby and get ready for that decade's most migrane-tastic fad, the autostereogram, or Magic Eye. Of course, the Web can't leave anything alone, so you can watch a moving autostereogram, play a little wall-eyed Tetris or Pong, and create your own image to delight and annoy your friends.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg (69 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a sailboat?
posted by pupdog at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


SCHOONER
posted by Krrrlson at 7:04 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is terrible. I'm old enough for nostalgia.
I remember ALL OF THIS.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:07 PM on June 18, 2007


Wasn't this in a Seinfeld episode?
posted by wendell at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2007


"WHY DOES EVERYONE SEE A SAILBOAT BUT ME?"
posted by tckma at 7:11 PM on June 18, 2007


OK, the tetris game made me seriously dizzy. Ouch.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2007


Holy shit. For the first time in my miserable life I actually saw the 3D image in one of those damn things.
posted by LeeJay at 7:20 PM on June 18, 2007


Three attempts at Tetris, and now everything looks screwy. I've got to go rest my eyes...
posted by bcveen at 7:45 PM on June 18, 2007


Holy shit. For the first time in my miserable life I actually saw the 3D image in one of those damn things.

There was a Magic Eye on the wall in my high school psychics classroom. One day I zoned out and started at it and saw my first 3D image, and said almost the exact same thing (while the teacher was talking, of course).
posted by danb at 7:48 PM on June 18, 2007


I hate those god damn things.
posted by puke & cry at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2007


Every time I have ever seen anything in any of these, for twenty years now, I see it inverted, like a recessed cut-out of whatever the foreground figure is supposed to be superimposed on the background. My wife says I'm not trying hard enough, but I'm done trying. Make the pictures right-side out, and I'll look again. Stupid magic eye.
posted by yhbc at 8:02 PM on June 18, 2007


danb, what kind of crazy x-man high school did you go to?

Oh, and L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg, thanks for the headache...
posted by noahpoah at 8:04 PM on June 18, 2007


Every time I have ever seen anything in any of these, for twenty years now, I see it inverted, like a recessed cut-out of whatever the foreground figure is supposed to be superimposed on the background.

I thought that's what you're supposed to see?
posted by puke & cry at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, danb! Was Dionne Warwick one of your guest lecturers?
That could explain why the image was revealed to you at last.
posted by namret at 8:07 PM on June 18, 2007


Magic Eye Tetris is amazing. And by amazing I mean the work of the Devil. That is seriously painful, and sort of impressive.

Also, someone needs to whip up a really good Magic Eye of a schooner, just for us children of the 90s.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:09 PM on June 18, 2007


Get the fuck out of my head, Lore.

Seriously, stereograms came up at dinner the other night, for the first time in years and now here they are again.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2007


I thought that's what you're supposed to see?

No, no - it's reversed, like if the sailboat is supposed to be coming at you all I see is a cutout of the sailboat recessing deeper and deeper into the background.

And, I didn't realize before who posted this. This?!? You made THIS your first MeFi post? Feh - give me more rankings of state quarters, and stop with the headache-inducing frustration drawings. DAMN magic eye.
posted by yhbc at 8:11 PM on June 18, 2007


Impressive! Strangely, I've never seen a stereogram tattoo...
posted by Tube at 8:18 PM on June 18, 2007


Fuck magic eye.

Seriously, fuck magic eye.

That shit does not fucking work. There is no fucking sailboat. You all are just lying because you think everybody else sees it, and you want us to think that you're cool. But everybody else is lying, too, and for the same reasons. It's all just one big giant circle jerk and I'm telling you that the fucking sailboat does not fucking exist!

I've even tried to look at that shit on drugs, and it still doesn't work.

Seriously. Fuck magic eye.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


No, no - it's reversed, like if the sailboat is supposed to be coming at you all I see is a cutout of the sailboat recessing deeper and deeper into the background.

Well, then. Turns out I've been seeing these things the wrong way my entire life. Now I hate them even more.
posted by puke & cry at 8:20 PM on June 18, 2007


MetaFilter: There is no fucking sailboat.
posted by yhbc at 8:20 PM on June 18, 2007


I used to say that getting old meant that your music was on the late night ads for 'golden oldies'.

My mother says that's when you're mature. You're not old until your kids are complaining about that.
posted by Malor at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2007


Ummmmm... This is the first time I have EVER had one of the damn things ever work. And now to deal with the headache and afterimages...
posted by Samizdata at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2007


If you're seeing it recessed it's because you went cross eyed instead of the other way. You're supposed to let your eyes divert slightly.
posted by empath at 8:32 PM on June 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hah hah. I'm with you, Afroblanco. I have NEVER been able to see the imbedded image in ANY of those damn things. Yes, I have two good eyes and stereoscopic vision (though quite nearsighted). No, I don't have amblyopia. Drugs and alcohol don't help. All I get is sore eye muscles and a headache.

As for the '90s, all I can say is: they were better than the Reagan-and-Boy-George '80s. I REALLY hate '80s nostalgia.
posted by metasonix at 8:36 PM on June 18, 2007


I never never never never COULD see those magic eye things. Only like once or twice. It used to drive me nuts, I would try so hard! I finally decided that maybe it's because I'm so used to paying attention to minute visual details and I've spent so much time analyzing pixels in Photoshop that my brain just doesn't want to cooperate and acknowledge the presence of any damned hidden sailboat.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:44 PM on June 18, 2007


No, no - it's reversed, like if the sailboat is supposed to be coming at you all I see is a cutout of the sailboat recessing deeper and deeper into the background.

Your eyes perceive 3D by the difference in distance between elements of the two images they see. If you hold a pen close to your eyes, each eye sees the pen from a very different angle (indeed, you have to go a bit cross-eyed to see it) so your brain knows it's close. If you hold it a long way away, the difference in images seen by each eye is less. If the pen is a LONG way away, each eye sees essentially the same thing, so your brain knows it is distant.

These images work by having a repeating pattern...your eyes are supposed to go "anti-crosseyed" to make the repeats of the pattern overlap. Because the repeats of the pattern are at very slightly different distances apart, your brain perceives the pattern as having depth.

Note that I say "anti-crosseyed". If you go crosseyed to make the repeats of the pattern overlap, the depth will be reversed - close object will appear distant, and distant objects will appear close. As empath said, what you have to do is make your eyes divert instead, go the opposite direction to crosseyed, when you make the repeating patterns overlap. This happens if (a) you stare at the picture for a long time until your eyes relax and you start staring past the picture, or (b) you have a lot of practice.

I don't know if I've explained it very well. The key is to look at the picture, then make your eyes focus instead a foot or so behind the picture, as if the picture wasn't there.

All that said, that YouTube animation is pretty boring. Why the hell did they need to make it four minutes long?
posted by Jimbob at 8:50 PM on June 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


You know... whatever. I just tried all of the links & I STILL can't see any of this shit. So now I'm with the rest of you. No excuses, just fuck the whole Magic Eye thing! People who can see them are probably possessed by the Devil.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:51 PM on June 18, 2007


Hold your finger about 6 inches infront of your eyes. Focus on it. Now focus on the text on your monitor. You will notice that there are now two fingers infront of your face.

This is what you have to do with magic eye pictures. Focus on the picture. Notice the repeating pattern. Now focus past the picture so the repeating pattern "splits in two" and the patterns line up with the next repeat next to it.
posted by Jimbob at 8:52 PM on June 18, 2007


This shit is frustrating. It's like I'm back in junior high all over again. Thanks for that, bastards.
posted by puke & cry at 9:01 PM on June 18, 2007


I was commenting the other day that magic eye is one of those things that really only could have been a fad before the internet was popular. We've grown too accustomed to novelty to sustain interest in something like this for very long.

I may be proven wrong now if magic eye resurges as an internet meme.
posted by mai at 9:05 PM on June 18, 2007


I just read that the Lindisfarne Gospels (7th-8th century) incorporate Magic-Eye-style 3-d images. Of course, I can't quickly find any proof of that assertion in the form of a viewable image.
posted by obliquicity at 9:06 PM on June 18, 2007


Magic Eye tormented me for a long time, before I realized that my amblyopia was the reason they never worked, and the reason why they never would work for me.

This realization meant that I never had to waste my time on them ever again.

It makes me a little sad, but given how much people with normal vision complain about the damn things, not very much.
posted by Arturus at 9:10 PM on June 18, 2007


I've always found the cross-eyed approach easier -- I never understood why these things default to the wall-eyed approach.

Anyway, if you're having trouble with the wall-eyed approach, try starting out with your face very close to the image, so close that you can't possibly focus on it. Try to relax your gaze as much as possible, as if you're looking into the distance. Then, slowly pull back from the image, keeping your gaze relaxed (that's the hard part -- the temptation will be to try to look at the surface of the image, but you've got to keep your gazed relaxed). If all goes well, when you get to a certain distance, the images will fuse and come into focus.
posted by treepour at 9:23 PM on June 18, 2007


Oh, and if you're near-sighted, take off your glasses.
posted by treepour at 9:25 PM on June 18, 2007


I remember the Magic Eye book I had (it might have been a knockoff, but probably not) had both eyes-crossed and eyes-diverted stereograms, with an icon for each one showing which. The standard way does seem to be diverted, though. I've found it more or less increasingly easy to view these over time compared to when I was a kid (cross-wise, if I recall); it may just be my much more frequent undersleep or being on a medication that has difficulty focusing and double vision as a side effect.
posted by abcde at 9:42 PM on June 18, 2007


I find people's frustration at not being able to see the images far more entertaining than the images themselves.
posted by rouftop at 9:47 PM on June 18, 2007


The major entertainment value of magic eye was always the frustration of those who could not see them.

See also tricking someone in to looking at a book of them during a road trip so the get very very car sick.
posted by subtle_squid at 10:29 PM on June 18, 2007


I can't believe nobody's posted the Perry Bible Fellowship on Magic Eye yet...
posted by anthill at 10:33 PM on June 18, 2007


Hey Jimbob? Let me tell ya what you can do with yer damned finger...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:34 PM on June 18, 2007


I can see them fine cross-eyed. It's just this "look beyond the picture" jedi bullshit I can't figure out.
posted by puke & cry at 10:36 PM on June 18, 2007


damn, we trampled the pbf server in to the ground in record time.
posted by subtle_squid at 10:44 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Lasik ad in the sidebar of the Tetris page starts out: "Do you find that you're having more and more trouble seeing with your eyes?"

Why, no. I'm pretty good at seeing stuff with my eyes. I have quite a bit of trouble seeing with my nose, however, and my ears have never been a damned bit of good for seeing with. Is this something Lasik can fix?
posted by pracowity at 11:57 PM on June 18, 2007


This is the one useless skill that I'm really, really proud of. I can't do a cartwheel; I can't whistle; I can't roll my R's. But dammit, I can see Magic Eye pictures like I'm a superhero! I can see all these. I can even see the super-special ones where you have to divert your eyes, then divert your eyes AGAIN! I wish there was a Magic Eye game show, just so I could use this useless ability to win lots of money.

(For the record, I'm the most nearsighted person I know. I wear contacts most of the time.)
posted by web-goddess at 12:48 AM on June 19, 2007


As someone who until just a short while ago was one of the many frustrated Magic Eye haters, I'll tell you what finally worked for me and maybe it will work for you too:

I went to this page. I put my nose up to the screen in front of the image. I am talking about nose touching the screen. That close. I stayed there until my eyes relaxed completely. Then I slooooowly began to pull my head back without refocusing my eyes. Really, really SLOW. I found that if I moved slow enough my eyes would catch the 3D image starting to form and I could then focus on that with slightly crossed eyes. If I kept moving really slowly away from the screen I could keep it in focus long enough to see what it was. If I moved too quickly away from the screen I lost the image entirely and had to start all over again.

Actually, I STILL hate fucking Magic Eye because:

1. The picture was stupid
2. I probably irradiated my retinas trying to see it.

Screw you Magic Eye!
posted by LeeJay at 12:55 AM on June 19, 2007


Ok, the ripples were cool if annoyingly long, but which mouse do you use to get the tetris pieces to move? That drove me nuts!

And talk about "this thread is useless w/o pics".

What we need now is a mashup with this and lolcats, and the apocalypse will begin.

I can has fucking sailboat plz? kthxbai
posted by lysdexic at 12:57 AM on June 19, 2007


nevermind, figured out you use the keyboard for tetris, you know, just like we did before windows
posted by lysdexic at 1:02 AM on June 19, 2007


God. Son of a bitch.

I have never been able to make those Goddamn things work. My brother has always been able to, thus corroborating miss lynnster's devil-possession theory.

Additionally, people who can work magic eyes surely also think Viking was a metaphor.

OFF MY PLANET.
posted by furiousthought at 1:03 AM on June 19, 2007


I'm just going to assume that there's something wrong with my eyes other than myopia and astigmatism.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:07 AM on June 19, 2007


I read an interesting interview by a Japanese fella with the "inventor" Bela Julesz.

I recall he had an ongoing argument with a lot of psychologists that stereograms didn't actually exist.

That they were a construct reinforcing hegemonic patriarchal power. Erm. Or something like that. ;)

Possibly reference number 16 in this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autostereogram
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:11 AM on June 19, 2007


Probably the only time I will think Oh good! My eyesight has deteriorated in the last ten years!

Still didn't blimmin' work. It's all a big con.
posted by liquidindian at 4:41 AM on June 19, 2007


I found a good way to view these is to try to see your reflection in the crt screen. If you focus on your face, the images pop out.

...of course, now I'm stuck with a glare-free lcd
posted by MtDewd at 5:27 AM on June 19, 2007


I'll never forget the time my mom pretended to get it, even though she had no idea what she was supposed to be seeing.

"Wow, look at all the colors!"
posted by empath at 5:38 AM on June 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I can see them, somewhat. I get there's something there. I can rarely see the whole thing. If I try to view the entire image, I loose the focus. But this ability came long after the fad.

When these things first caught my eye, it was people staring at them in Spencer's Gifts. That looked so totally weird.
posted by Goofyy at 5:59 AM on June 19, 2007


Magic Eye is an asshole.
posted by LordSludge at 6:32 AM on June 19, 2007


What afroblanco said. With the added note that I may be empath's mother. Well, what else are you supposed to do when everyone is ooohing and aaaahing over something that so clearly does not exist?
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:53 AM on June 19, 2007


Perhaps one needs a magic Caps Lock key to see the Magic Eye.
posted by y2karl at 7:01 AM on June 19, 2007


Wow! I must be like web-goddess. I'm extremely nearsighted and I can look at a magic eye picture and see the image without even trying. The tetris was like normal tetris for me. Maybe I'm just walking around wall-eyed all the time.

I wish the create-you-own stereogram let you use images, though. I could have had fun with that.
posted by bristolcat at 7:35 AM on June 19, 2007


Ah, Magic Eye. My geometry teacher in high school had one on his wall that actually had nothing in it. Source of endless entertainment... People would spend forever trying to recall their ability to see these things, until they'd give up and pretend they saw whatever it was the rest of us were suggesting they were supposed to see.

Good times. I need to find one of those.
posted by Bugg at 7:37 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Huh, apparently that was also the plot to a 'Pinky and The Brain' episode...

"With tonight's plan, we shall confuse humanity into submission, by stranding them in hopeless mental and physical gridlock through the use of 3-D 'magic eye' technology. The cryptic genius of my plan is that hidden in this poster is no secret message of any kind whatsoever. We shall construct a series of magic eye billboards, 3 miles high and 11 miles wide over the nation's freeways. As the confounded commuters struggle in vain to decipher the nonexistant messages, they will become stranded in a neverending rush hour. Thus, giving us an opportunity to seize power."
posted by Bugg at 7:43 AM on June 19, 2007


I am physically incapable of seeing these! So then when people oooh and ahhh, I start telling them about how my eyes are effed up, and then I show them how I can only make one eye go up. Then I am more popular than the "magic eye"--mine is real and creepier!
posted by dame at 9:45 AM on June 19, 2007


Damn. I finally come across the most safe-for-work Tetris game ever, and it gives me a splitting headache after 5 minutes. *pouts*
posted by phatkitten at 10:35 AM on June 19, 2007


I've always had great luck with MtDewd's approach, too. Try to focus on your reflection in the monitor/poster cover/shiny book page - it's the same as focusing behind the image.

I think that tetris game made me go blind, though, so no more magic eye for me.
posted by vytae at 10:41 AM on June 19, 2007


rouftop : "I find people's frustration at not being able to see the images far more entertaining than the images themselves."

Ditto. I can see them, and at the start that was amusing, but after two or three, the amusement became minimal at best. However, a decade later, I'm still amused by how angry people who can't see them get about them.

The Tetris was pretty cool. It was surprisingly easy to keep focus, too.
posted by Bugbread at 11:19 AM on June 19, 2007


The animated stereogram in wikipedia is kinda neat.
posted by Bugbread at 11:26 AM on June 19, 2007


I remember the Magic Eye book I had (it might have been a knockoff, but probably not) had both eyes-crossed and eyes-diverted stereograms, with an icon for each one showing which.

Ooh, I remember that book. I think that's the one where I finally mastered the wall-eyed approach. It had lots of cool variations on the standard theme, including (if I recall correctly) a couple of Salvador Dali stereograms (that is, actual pairs of paintings by Dali that were intended to be viewed as stereograms, not Dali stereogramified). I used to look at it until I got nauseated and couldn't see normally anymore.
posted by treepour at 11:49 AM on June 19, 2007


i've always been able to see these with no problems. The very first ones i saw were in the back of GAMES magazine, and they were only 2 inches wide or so... They had guiding dots above the picture. The instructions told you to unfocus your eyes until the 2 dots became 4, and then try to merge the 2 middle dots so you see 3. When you had that focus right, the picture below would snap into focus. I guess that was all the training i needed, because i can see them without trying now. Instead of dots, you look for repeating patterns and merge those.

I even saw the "sailboat" in mallrats. And i did this on a crappy VHS copy, not the DVD, so there was no freeze frame, i kept rewinding and playing until i got it.. It's not really a picture of a sailboat! It's a generic one with cubes and spheres...
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 4:18 PM on June 19, 2007


The animated one I find somewhat easier to induce and a lot easier to maintain, presumably because the movement makes my brain more confident that I'm focusing on something real. I can almost get it just by staring at it, which I always thought was a ridiculous method compared to consciously defocusing or crossing your eyes.
posted by abcde at 2:03 PM on June 20, 2007


Japanese game show involving a stereogram. About 3:19 in.
posted by treepour at 2:53 PM on June 20, 2007


« Older In the Fall of 1991, MTV's 120 Minutes released tw...  |  On 29 November last year an Au... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments