I do say, that little trolley appears to be floating upside down.

This little optical illusion is brought to us by Twitter user @ks_aya and shows what can be accomplished with just the right lighting and angles.

▼ “The way this thing looks like it’s floating due to the shadows is much like how physics simulators in video games work.”

After staring at the photo long enough to shake the illusion out of your brain, it’s plain to see that the trolley is just lying on the ground next to the shadow of a street light. However, since the position of the trolley lines up with the other shadows around it, it is easy for people to interpret it to be floating at first glance.

On the other hand, some people may not see the illusion right away and will have to stare at it for a bit to make it work, kind of like those pictures that look like both a rabbit and a duck.

Witnesses to this photographic magic trick were largely impressed.

“Oohhh I see. Interesting!”
“That’s cute.”
“Bravo!”
“It’s great what you can do with shadows.”
“Shouldn’t the shadow be a square?”
“It really looks like it’s floating.”
“Pssh, that’s clearly a CGI trolley.”
“We really shouldn’t trust our eyes so much.”

It certainly is a neat trick and a good example for beginner art classes of how easy it can be to create a highly realistic sense of depth.

Source: Twitter/@ks_aya via Kinisoku (Japanese)