Craft & Design
Escher’s Waterfall Video Illusion – An Explanation?


Two weeks ago we covered YouTuber mcwolles‘ remarkable full-motion illusion appearing to show M.C. Escher’s impossible Waterfall in real-time operation. Those of you hungry for an explanation may be interested in this diagram from Boing Boing reader David Goldman, who thinks the video was shot using forced perspective, with a model as illustrated, in two cuts spliced together at the 0:45 mark.

14 thoughts on “Escher’s Waterfall Video Illusion – An Explanation?

  1. No doubt some form of force perspective is at work here. However, it is clear in the video that the right rear support on the 3 level tower goes behind the path of the water (not in front of, as seen in the diagram). Basically, breaking the structure of the model depicted. The shadow cast at 0:05 gives a greater idea of the structure of the front tower. And also suggests that the craftsmanship to create the illusion is even more elaborate. I’d love to see an actual demonstration of the model and how it works. Please get right on that Make. :)

  2. yup… looking at the you tube still against the diagram on the same page as depicted here – i’ve not seen them side by side before, well done, one can clearly see that the diagram is wrong.

  3. My guess is the base conceals tubing and one or more pumps. Since there is no dialogue the sounds heard were probably dubbed afterward. Why go to the elaborate moves of stirring the liquid, transferring to another container and such? Plus, the close-up of the actor not saying a word at the very beginning and end is suspicious.

  4. My guess is the base conceals tubing and one or more pumps. Since there is no dialogue the sounds heard were probably dubbed afterward. Why go to the elaborate moves of stirring the liquid, transferring to another container and such? Plus, the close-up of the actor not saying a word at the very beginning and end is suspicious.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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