Is there a name for the genre of making objects that look different from different angles (a kind of illusion)> For example the following cases:

I am not sure about the genre of the art, but I found they are unlikely to be "optical illusion art" or "impossible art".

  • 1
    Why do you think "optical illusion art" or "impossible art" are unlikely names?
    – Joachim
    Oct 9, 2021 at 23:59
  • @Joachim Because it's not an illusion. Right? You are seeing the reality of the object from a different angle. Exactly, what was explained in fred_dot_u's answer.
    – OmG
    Oct 10, 2021 at 11:03
  • 1
    It is, at least in your first example: you see the exact same object all the time, but interpret it as different things. First it seems to be a square, at the end it seems to be a circle, but it is simply a static shape. And you are asking after an "art genre", and 'op art' is the closest you can get to that :).
    – Joachim
    Oct 10, 2021 at 14:48

4 Answers 4


Just today, this appeared in my YouTube subscription:


Intersection Solids (image from linked video)

It is called "objects of intersection." A search of these terms is not particularly illuminating, but the video covers the concept quite well, in my opinion.

I have personally used a similar technique in the past to create pieces of "art" using text. This is generally called ambigrams and is indeed the result of two to three objects of intersection.


The above video shows the Fusion 360 sequence involved in creating an ambigram. Image below is a screen capture from the linked video.

ambigram creation by Fusion 360

One can perform these creations using any 3D modeling software that supports Boolean intersections, although some that do not can be manipulated to accomplish the same result. For example, Fusion 360 (free, hobbyist version) supports this type of creation, while OpenSCAD (free, multi-platform) requires creative coding. Tinkercad (web based, free) does not explicitly support Boolean intersection. It's possible to use the subtraction feature on multiple copies to accomplish the objective.

To address the question in the comment regarding what genre of art should be assigned to this type of work, I refer to Types Of Everything. The linked page suggests these types of art as genres:

  • abstract art
  • impressionism
  • expressionism
  • romanticism
  • pointilism
  • folk art
  • art nouveau
  • cubism
  • realism

If the list is an accurate representation of existing genres, one could consider that Intersection of Objects is a craft, not an art.

  • Thanks for your answer. You are calling the technique "objects of intersection". So, is using this technique in the art counted as a specific "genre"?
    – OmG
    Oct 10, 2021 at 11:07

As an art form, or genre, it is called "op art" (short for - you guessed it - optical art). It makes use of optical illusions, and emphasizes how our interpretation of reality can easily be 'fooled' by our visual perception.

enter image description here
This is a nice example: although a digital work, the basic idea is that the flat surface seems to contain a certain volume: it bulges towards the observer. But depending on the size of the image on your screen, it may also show another optical illusion*: interference patterns known as the Moiré fringes (another way to see those is to zoom the page in or out). Furthermore, as this image slides across your screen as you scroll the page, it may show additional optical illusions, such as colour fringes, or movement.

In sculpture, this often derives from the observer having a fixed point of view. As a three-dimensional shape, our conception of it can easily change based on our standpoint.

Kinetic sculpture by Markus Raetz. Source.

But as a more generic term, optical illusion (art) is completely fine.

* This effect also comes natural to monitors, since the pixel grid has to simulate round shapes, so it may not always be an *illusion*. It can even show up due to image compression.


Anamorphosis is a distorted projection requiring the viewer to occupy a specific vantage point, use special devices, or both to view a recognizable image.

Source Wikipedia

Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point (or both) to reconstitute the image. The word "anamorphosis" is derived from the Greek prefix ana‑, meaning back or again, and the word morphe, meaning shape or form.

Source instructables.com

By extension there are meanings for each artistic representation: anamorphic cinema, anamorphic sculptures, anamorphic painting, etc.

Michael Murphy is one of the artist who represents his art with anamorphosis calling it Anamorphic Art Installations.

  • This is close, but what about multiple forms/projections in one object? Anamorphosis is about one form emerging when the viewer is is the correct position etc. from something otherwise indecipherable.
    – rebusB
    Oct 29, 2021 at 16:47

The effect is called metamorphisis and also has a hint of juxtaposition if the two (or more) forms create a commentary through their relationship to each other. However it is more of a device than a whole genre unto itself.

The exception to that might be metamorphic paintings where common objects are arranged to form another object, typically a human head, and were often allegorical in nature.

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