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3d Optical Illusions

There are two main types of anamorphosis: Perspective (oblique) and Mirror (catoptric). Examples of perspectival anamorphosis date to the early Renaissance (15th Century), whereas examples of mirror anamorphosis (or catoptric anamorphosis) occurred at the time of the baroque (17th century).

With mirror anamorphosis, a conical or cylindrical mirror is placed on the drawing or painting to transform a flat distorted image into a three dimensional picture that can be viewed from many angles. The deformed image is painted on a plane surface surrounding the mirror. By looking uniquely into the mirror, the image appears undeformed. Current in the 1600s and 1700s, this process of anamorphosis made it possible to diffuse caricatures, erotic and scatologic scenes and scenes of sorcery for a confidential public.

These "anamorphoscopes" were invented in China and brought to Italy in the 16th century, about the time Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci were mastering 3-D and discovering slant anamorphosis.

In the sidewalk chalk paintings of Julian Beever, he uses the chalk painting, the pavement and the architectural surroundings all as part of an illusion. Art of this style can be produced by taking a photograph of an object or setting at a sharp angle, then putting a grid over the photo, another, elongated grid on the footpath based on a specific perspective, and reproducing exactly the contents of one into the other, one square at a time.

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