Look Closely at This Footstep Illusion

The best optical illusions are the ones you can try at home. Take the footstep trick below: All you need to recreate it is a white sheet of paper with black stripes and a transparent film sheet marked with yellow and blue blocks. It may look simple, but move the film across the page and the colored shapes will appear to shuffle forward like tiny footsteps.

The illusion, recently shared by The Kid Should See This, is the creation of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a professor with the psychology department at Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University. He explained the mechanism at work in a paper he published with psychology professor Stuart Anstis in 2015 [PDF].

According to the report, the colored blocks need to be two times the width of the black stripe and either light (like the yellow ones) or dark (the blue ones) for the trick to pay off. The illusion is all about contrast, so the colors are essential. The authors explain:

“When the dark blue squares lie on white stripes, they have high contrast (dark vs. white) and they appear to speed up momentarily. When they lie on black stripes, they have low contrast (dark vs. black) and they appear to slow down. The opposite is true for the light yellow squares.

Consequently, the squares appear to go faster and slower in alternation, like a pair of walking feet.”

The brain takes all sorts of shortcuts when it comes to perceiving color, and most of the time this goes unnoticed. But when an artist knows how to exploit this it can lead to some mend-bending tricks, like this image from Akiyoshi Kitaoka in which three colors appear to be four. Check out more of Kitaoka's psychedelic illusions on his webpage.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

'Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes' Exhibit Features Original Art and MCU Costumes

Christine Mitchell/Museum of Pop Culture
Christine Mitchell/Museum of Pop Culture

If you’ve come down with a case of Marvel mania, there’s a museum in Philadelphia where you can sate your appetite for superhero lore, rare comic book art, movie props, trivia, and more. As the PhillyVoice reports, an exhibit called “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” is open now through September 2 at The Franklin Institute.

It’s a fitting time to launch the exhibit, since Marvel is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The exhibit begins with items from Marvel’s early days in the 1930s, when the company was known as Timely Comics. Marvel’s universe grew and grew over the decades, and now encompasses more than 8000 characters.

In total, the exhibit features more than 300 original artifacts, including many of the movie-quality costumes that were worn by the actors of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Captain America (Chris Evans). There are also original artworks, including two covers of The Avengers comic books and the original drawings of Spider-Man’s origin story.

“This global-spanning fantasy franchise that is in everybody's brains begins with an individual working at a drawing board with a pencil and paper—that's where world-conquering stories begin,” exhibit curator Ben Saunders told the PhillyVoice. “That's what I wanted to tell over and over and over again in this show."

The exhibition includes some interactive elements, too. Visitors can take a stroll through the trippy, Doctor Strange-inspired mirror room, or snap a selfie with The Thing from the Fantastic Four. The exhibit also pays tribute to comic book visionary Stan Lee, who died last year. (And if you really want to geek out, there's an online class you can take on "The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture," which was partly created by Lee while he was alive.)

Check out some photos of the exhibit below, and visit The Franklin Institute’s website for more details and tickets.

A mirror room
Christine Mitchell/Museum of Pop Culture

Spiderman hangs from a wall
Sandro Vanini/Museum of Pop Culture

A Groot bust
Sandro Vanini/Museum of Pop Culture

A man looks at a comics display
Jonathan Pulley/Museum of Pop Culture

[h/t PhillyVoice]

Attention Hayao Miyazaki Fans: Studio Ghibli is Hiring Digital Painters

Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is one of the most beloved animation studios on Earth, spawning its own museum and a theme park that's opening in 2022. If you're an artist who grew up watching movies like Spirited Away (2001), Princess Mononoke (1997), and My Neighbor Totoro (1988), you may be the perfect match for this new job: As It's Nice That reports, Studio Ghibli is seeking digital painters to work on its new feature film.

The studio's new painters will be responsible for putting the finishing touches on the upcoming animated movie How Do You Live? When the job starts on October 1, 2019, they'll work directly with Hayao Miyazaki (no, the 78-year-old director hasn't retired yet) to digitally paint the feature film. Salary depends on experience, with a base pay of $2236 a month, and the gig will last at least 1.5 years.

To land the job, you'll need to have experience working with 2D animation software and a grasp of the Japanese language. You also need to be over 20 years old and a resident of Japan as of May 31.

Aspiring Ghibli artists can apply for the job by filling out a form and sending it to the company by the end of May. And if you're looking to boost your job skills, you can download the animation software used to create some of the studio's most iconic films.

[h/t It's Nice That]

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