I always see stereograms inside-out.

Whenever I look at one of those stereogram pictures (you know, the ones that looks like someone puked a rainbow) Somehow my brain sees objects as holes rather than bumps. I can always make them ‘go 3d’ but I can never work out what it is that I’m seeing because the 3d-ness is back-to-front.

Is my brain broken?

Turns out most of them (actually named autostereograms) are designed to be viewed using the divergence method (focusing behind the image). I find it impossible to make my eyes do this.

On the other hand I can converge them very easily.


I’m the same way. I’ve given up trying to make my eyes diverge, and just automatically cross them. When I was a little kid, I had a lazy eye; don’t know if this has anything to do with it.

Diverging your eyes is something you do every time you focus on something farther away. For example: Bring the top of your computer monitor into focus. Now look at the wall behind it but keep an eye on the computer monitor. Notice how there are now two computer monitors in the foreground of your vision. They are diverged.

It’s a learnable skill.

I have yet to be able to do it consistently- but it is soooo much prettier when it is done right, as opposed to the other direction. Why not just do it so you can cross your eyes?
Is that possible?

These things never work for me-no matter how I cross my eyes or defocus them, it’s always a solid wall of static.

Wait, what??? You’re not supposed to cross your eyes?

I would imagine so. It’s just a matter of swapping the picture to pop out when you cross your eyes, instead of look farther away (and it’d be vice-versa for divergence). I don’t know why they don’t just do it that way.

In fact, someone should fucking do that. Screw Magic Eye. Start a directly competing company that showcases the images best when you converge instead of diverge your vision.

Everyone can learn to diverge, though. It really is as simple as the trick I outlined above. Train your eyes to focus past the object in the immediate field of vision.

I had this problem for the longest time. Then I got contacts. Is your prescription up to date? I’ve heard it’s harder to do through glasses than contacts.

I can view them both ways.
One of my favorites is intended to be viewed both ways. It’s a 3-D version of that “Faces-or-Vase” illusion. When you view it with crossed eyes it’s a 3-D vase, but if you view it with divergence it’s a pair of 3-D faces. Definitely the coolest such 3D illusion I’ve ever seen.

I’ve always seen the holes too–never anything jumping out at me.

Pretty freaky the first time I saw one of those posters … I was at a Dead show. Some heads had them on easels. Not selling them, just showing off these new, entertaining mind-toys. Felt like it took forever, then shhhooommp–suddenly I saw down into where the shark was. It was all in my perception, but it was still infinite space captured on a finite plane. That I was seeing a background pattern behind the cut-out was all but impossible to describe, particularly in an already altered state where concrete descriptions can be elusive. Didn’t quite bother me per se, but took my wanderings in strange directions.

Huh. I always see things jumping out at me, but, as far as I know, I’m crossing my eyes.

Me, too.

When is it going to be my turn to see the sailboat?

All I do is look for adjacent portions of the repeating pattern, and cross my eyes until I “lock” into the image, i.e. the repeating patterns overlap and then become one. Then I can relax my vision and take in the 3D image.

I learned to do this as a kid while sitting and staring out my bedroom screen window, which itself is a repeating pattern. This made the screen appear closer to me than it actually was. I must have been given a lot of time outs.

I used to do this with things like bathroom floor tiles…if you can merge two adjacent grout lines, you can make the floor “jump” up an inch or two.


For days I have avoided this thread as I know a stereogram as one of these. You know, something you play records on and I couldn’t envisage how you see it inside out.

When did this new thing emerge?

No, it’s one of these.

Speaking of alternate stereographic effects with everyday objects, I recently discovered that you can get an amazing effect from certain patterns of steel treadplate- The place had a bathroom door covered in shiny treadplate and as I sat there taking care of business I experienced an amazing feeling of infinity and three dimensionality from the reflective diamond pattern as my eyes focused into “the 1000 yard stare”.

Yes. Yes. Me too. Sometimes in bars, the tiles above the urinals were a repeating pattern.

Fun times!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this with everyday repeating patterns, for fun.