Impossible LEGO Sculptures and Optical Illusions

Lego Optical Illusions

    Thanks to the advent of digital art software like Adobe Photoshop, optical illusions have become extremely easy to create. So easy, in fact, that it’s far more impressive to actually create a sculpture of your optical illusion than it is to create an image these days. LEGO bricks are a unique, eye-catching and accessible way to do this, and numerous artists now construct optical illusions entirely with LEGO bricks.

    Here are some types of impossible LEGO sculptures.

    Impossible Triangles

    Lego Optical Illusions

    Lego Optical Illusions

    One of the most popular and common LEGO optical illusions is a sculpture of an impossible triangle. The illusion has the following attributes:

    • Surfaces appear to twist as the line travels from point to point
    • LEGO bumps on two of the three sides
    • Can look like a flawless illusion in photos

    This optical illusion is achieved by using a slanted LEGO brick to top off the vertical section of the triangle, combined with particular lighting and a particular camera angle. The results are gorgeous if done properly, and very baffling for people when you announce that the image isn’t photoshopped.

    More Impossible Shapes

    Impossible Shapes

    Pretty much any shape with a right angle is ideal for turning into an optical illusion using LEGO bricks. Small structures make good optical illusions because they are fairly simple and easy on the eyes. Sometimes LEGO builders use one aspect of a building, such as a staircase, to illustrate their optical illusion rather than going to the trouble of building a whole room.

    Impossible Shapes

    Impossible Architecture

    Impossible Architecture

    Another common subject for optical illusions is impossible architecture. Creating an elaborate building in LEGO bricks is a pretty impressive feat already, but some people up the ante by also making the building an optical illusion. Some imitate classic surreal and optical illusion artworks. For example, LEGO sculptors Daniel Shiu and Andrew Lipson collaborated on optical illusion LEGO sculptures recreating the works of Escher, such as “Relativity.” Lipson describes the process of creating each sculpture in detail on his website, Mighty Optical Illusions.

    The LEGO Company has even started to construct its own optical illusion sculptures for the purpose of advertising.

    LEGOs and Other Objects

    Sometimes LEGO sculptors use other objects in combination with LEGO bricks to create their exact mental image. The results can be artistic, with the LEGOs looking at home amongst the other objects.

    It Takes Dedication

    It’s amazing to think that some people do such complicated sculptures as a hobby. Depending on the complexity, impossible LEGO sculptures can take anywhere from a few minutes to two or three months to complete per project, and that’s just the building time. Other time-consuming aspects of the hobby include:

    • The planning process
    • Getting the right lighting
    • Finding the perfect angle to achieve the illusion
    • Taking photos

    Some LEGO sculptors use complicated mathematical software on the computer to plan their designs before they build them, and often this can take as long as the construction. It makes for a well-laid plan, though, which means less revision later.

    These are just a few of the LEGO optical illusions out there; do you have a favorite that wasn’t mentioned here? Feel free to share it in a comment!

    Some images courtesy of Mighty Optical Illusions.


    1. says

      Legos are HUGE right now. My son is 7 years old and can’t get enough of building these Lego kits they sell now. Every birthday party we go to has multiple lego building kits as presents. It really is amazing what they can do with Legos now. My son’s birthday was last week and someone got him a big box of Lego Mini Blocks. We were going to take it back and exchange it for a kit that he can build, but now I want to show him these pictures and see if he wants to mess with them.


    2. says

      Good article Sonia, Hard to believe none are photoshopped. I need to show my son, he loves Lego and will probably try to build.

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