KIDSGAZETTE

Make yourself look tiny, or enormous, with this optical trick

A miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty, located on the First Avenue Southeast bridge, is made even smaller with th
A miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty, located on the First Avenue Southeast bridge, is made even smaller with this optical illusion on Monday, July 20, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Shrinking or enlarging your stuff — or even yourself! — is easier than you might think.

Maybe you’ve seen photos of people where they look like they’re holding up the Tower of Pisa, or videos on TikTok where it looks like people are jumping into coffee mugs or cups. Just like our photo of a giant hand and the Statue of Liberty figure in Cedar Rapids, these are examples of “forced perspective.”

Forced perspective is “an optical illusion that makes objects appear larger or smaller or closer or farther away by carefully controlling distance and vantage point,” according to Filmmaker IQ, a YouTuber who makes videos about cinematography.

It’s easier than it might seem to create forced perspective. Things that are far away look smaller to our eyes, and things closer to us look bigger. Playing with distance and vantage point — the angle you see something at — can make an object’s apparent size change.

You can actually calculate how big an object will appear depending on its size and distance from you using geometry and trigonometry — learn more about that in this video about math and forced perspective.

How to use forced perspective in a photo

If you have a phone with a camera, or can borrow an adult’s, making your own tricky forced perspective photo is simple.

Grab some Lego people and make it look like they’re life-size and sitting on your porch — just set up your Legos closer to you than your porch, and try out different camera angles until it looks just right. Or cling to the ground and have someone take your photo from an angle, so it looks like you’re clinging to a steep cliff. Another super simple forced perspective trick, that doesn’t need a camera, is covering up the moon with your thumb.

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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11:00AM | Mon, September 21, 2020

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