Siggraph is THE yearly conference on computer graphics. This year, as usual, there are a lot of interesting papers that to be presented and some of them are already beginning to leak out.
The effect is much better if you click the image and view it as large as possible
As I develop a video software that takes videos and generates images from it a paper about Self-Animating Images got my attention. In Self-Animating Images: Illusory Motion Using Repeated Asymmetric Patterns scientists, Ming-Te Chi and Tong-Yee Lee and Yingge Qu and Tien-Tsin Wong, propose a computational method to generate self-animating images.
Even if you are normally not interested in scientific papers take a look at the pictures in it anyway. On the project page there is also a link to a pdf with more example images. Read the instructions on the page for how to best view the images.
Here is the summary from the project page:
"Illusory motion in a still image is a fascinating research topic in the study of human motion perception. Physiologists and psychologists attempted to understand this phenomenon by constructing simple, color repeated asymmetric patterns (RAP) and found several useful rules to enhance the strength of illusory motion. Based on their knowledge, we propose a computational method to generate self-animating images. First, we present an optimized RAP placement on streamlines to generate illusory motion for a given static vector field. Next, a general coloring scheme for RAP is proposed to render streamlines. Furthermore, to enhance the strength of illusion and respect the shape of the region, a smooth vector field with opposite directional flow is automatically generated given an input image. Examples generated by our method are shown to evidence the illusory effect, and the potential applications for entertainment and design purposes."