Hybrid image

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A textual hybrid image reading "southeast" up close and "northwest" from afar.
Video clip of a hybrid image showing a small golf ball that will show another spherical structure after being zoomed in.

A hybrid image is an image that is perceived in one of two different ways, depending on viewing distance, based on the way humans process visual input. A technique for creating hybrid images exhibiting this optical illusion was developed by Aude Oliva of MIT and Philippe G. Schyns of University of Glasgow, a method originally proposed by Schyns and Oliva in 1994. Hybrid images combine the low spatial frequencies of one picture with the high spatial frequencies of another picture, producing an image with an interpretation that changes with viewing distance.[2]

Perhaps the most familiar example is one featuring Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. Looking at the picture from a short distance, one can see a sharp image of Einstein, with only a hint of blurry distortion hinting at the presence of an overlaid image. Viewed from a distance in which the fine detail blurs, the unmistakable face of Monroe emerges.[3]

A hybrid image constructed from low-frequency components of a photograph of Marilyn Monroe (left inset) and high-frequency components of a photograph of Albert Einstein (right inset).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gendler, Robert (2005). "Chapter 10. The Hybrid Image: A New Astro-Imaging Philosophy". In Ratledge, David (ed.). Digital Astrophotography: The State of the Art. Springer. pp. 135–149. ISBN 978-1-85233-734-6.
  2. ^ Aude Oliva, Antonio Torralba and Philippe G. Schyns (2006). "Hybrid images" (PDF). ACM Transactions on Graphics. 25 (3): 527–532. doi:10.1145/1141911.1141919.
  3. ^ "Marilyn-Einstein" and other examples

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