Blake Lively posts shark optical illusion on Instagram, internet bites

The actress challenges Instagram users to find the shark in her photo post, but for many, it remains hidden. Until now.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Hey, karma, thanks for biting me so fast. Tuesday, I wrote about this wolf optical illusion, which satisfyingly resolves itself if you sit for 43 seconds and watch the video. And in passing, I mentioned Magic Eye puzzles, which were displayed all over US shopping malls in the 1990s, and which I could never, ever see.

Then actress Blake Lively, promoting her new shark movie "The Shallows," goes and posts a Magic Eye illusion to her Instagram involving a shark, and wouldn't you know it? As cocky as that wolf solution made me, I still can't see Magic Eyes.

Yeah, looks like a Formica countertop in a 1950s diner to me. If I try and make the different specks into pictures, obediently blurring and refocusing my eyes as the Magic Eye people want, I can kind of see...the outline of Japan? Or Vietnam? Or maybe a cartoon hippo?

But Lively fans, at least those who weren't stumped and cursing the actress for even posting the tricky image, were insisting they saw a shark leaping out of ocean waves.

Enlarge Image

The shark swam out after the image was put through an online decoder.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

When all else fails, time to cheat.

There are numerous Magic Eye help programs online, as well as videos showing how you can locate the images using Photoshop. With the help of this Magic Eye online viewer and Lively's Instagram, I produced the image at right.

Watch the shark appear.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Wow, so is that what you people were seeing in all those mall displays? I kinda feel like Kevin Bacon's Fenwick in the movie " Diner," when he says to Mickey Rourke's Boogie, "Do you ever get the feeling that there's something going on that we don't know about?"

I also took the image into a photo-editing program and played around with it, and lo and behold, was able to create a GIF, at right, where the shark rises out of the water, just like the Magic Eye people promised. The GIF might take a moment to load, but you should see the shark appear.

I kept waiting to feel bad, like the jerk who tells a kid there's no Tooth Fairy or reveals how the magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Because I'm spoiling this for you, right, those of you who can actually see the answer on your own?

But then I rubbed my eyes, still sore from staring at the illusion and not seeing anything, and you know what? Don't feel bad anymore. Bite me, hidden shark.

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