Psychedelic popup book (with kaleidoscope, moire & illusory motion)

Type: University
Semester: 4 (2015)
Skills: Pop up, Illustration, Psychedelics, Web, HTML, CSS & JavaScript
Co-Workers: Angelika Würz, Jessica Bensch, Salome Lorena Thiel</p>


– Create and market a pop-up book with respective merchandise.

Our Solution:

As we wanted to have sophisticated elements in our pop-up book, we decided to handcraft one about the experience of drugs. A lot of research went into how people react to which drug. Finally we chose to focus on a LSD trip and that is the Book we came up with:


As marketing Idea we came up with an interactive pwebsite pointing to the web-shop about the drug experience. Here is what I coded :

psychedelic website lsd trip

and the Webshop (with no functionality since it is just a concept mock up):

Trip Shop psychedelic shop


Since we wanted to come up with fancy special effects that work on paper, beside complex paperwork and illustrations, I decided to dig deep into optical illusions and taught myself to understand and create 3 kind of optical illusions:

  1. Kaleidoscopics
  2. The Moiré Effect
  3. Self-Animating images (illusory motion)

1. Kaleidoscopics:

kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope

kaleidoscopic img kaleidoscope

These are fairly simple to understand and reproduce. A kaleidoscope is just a cylinder with mirrors reflecting an image. While I was building my own real kaleidoscope to understand how it works, I figured out that the standard kaleidoscope has six mirrors to create hexagonal refraction. With this knowledge in mind you can now build your own pattern: if you cut out a triangle from an image and glue copies of that triangle to the sides of the first you get a hexagon which already looks pretty weird. Now glue several hexagons together for a kaleidoscopic pattern. See how I did it:

how to kaleidoscopic pattern illustrator

Fortunately, I wrote an illustrator script that will make all that heavy work for you, it's available on Github: kaleidoscope-pattern-now.js check it out:

kaleidoscope-pattern-now how to part1

kaleidoscope-pattern-now how to part2

2. The Moiré Effect:

moire effect

The Moiré Effect is a simple brain-hack – you might have heard of it as something you "don't want" and photographs hate it but I'm sure that you'll love this variant. When used right the well-known Moiré Effect is an optical illusion that let's you kind of animate you paper. Here is an example video of cool Moiré Effects:


This as well is not that difficult to create. Print black bars with a distance of x from one bar to the next. Now let's say you have an animation of 3 Frames (thus 3 images) you'll have to cut the picture. Do it so that there is only one image of width x remaining for that frame. Repeat for frame 2 but x pixels more to the left. Repeat for the 3rd frame. Well it is easier to make than to explain. I've found a handy tutorial explaining it. I bought this nice book which is a collection of Moiré effects and this book explaining the effect. The same applies to round objects (as used in the toilet in our pop-up book):

round moire effect

3. Self-Animating images (illusory motion):

moving image illusory motion

moving image illusory motion

moving image illusory motion

moving image illusory motion

moving image illusory motion

moving image illusory motion

This, however, is very complex. I won't be able to explain it in detail nor show you how I did it in one picture or gif. Somehow not everyone can perceive this kind of illusions (a small amount of human population is immune), but most will. Fortunately, I found some information online including two paper describing it pretty well. Here is all documentation I read:

Here is a basic info about the direction depending on the type. Without any explanation why. It's always going from Dark, White, Lighter to Black. Here is a combination of the three most effective combinations with the best colors. The aim is to create a high contrast. Also the last Type (c) is the strongest:

illusory motion

Again, perception of illusory movement is subjective and some are even immune to it.

moving image illusory motion


The last one is broken by the way, for the case you where wondering "oooh I see no animation on that one".

Now you got new knowledge in your hands, use it wisely ;)


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