Experiment:
Optical Effect

A flat surface can have the effect of being three-dimensional when colour is applied. Try yourself and you will be surprised!

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Experiment: Optical Effect

A flat surface can have the effect of being three-dimensional when colour is applied. In our example, the areas have been lightened on the one side and darkened on the other. The circle on the left-hand side appears to be nearer and the circle on the right-hand side further away. Try yourself and you will be surprised! Try this experiment with your pupils. Download the templates here and paint accordingly.


The circle on the left-hand side appears to be nearer than the one on the right-hand side.

Painting instructions

The box on the left-hand side should be painted with the colours turning lighter towards the middle and the box on the right-hand side the other way round. On the left-hand side the circle remains white and on right-hand side the circle should be black.

What is happening here?

A colour appears to be nearer when attention is drawn to it in this special way. This is particularly apparent with the strongly contrasting colours black and white but the effect can also be created with other colour combinations. The more colour graduations, the stronger the three-dimensional effect.