Runner Up: Landloping ladybugs: Frame-induced position shift (Mark Wexler, Patrick Cavanagh, and Stuart Anstis)
Adding a moving reference point can often alter our brain’s positional perception of an object, or multiple objects in the case of these ladybugs. In the initial animation, both ladybugs are vertically aligned, but as they’re individually revealed inside a frame moving from left to right, the top ladybug appears shifted to the right while the lower ladybug is positioned more to the left. In the second animation, a single lady bug appears to move around an oval track, but when the moving frame is removed, it’s revealed it’s actually just four vertically-aligned ladybugs facing different directions. Your brain adds locomotion where none actually exists.
To see the optical illusions from all the top 10 finalists this year head on over to the Best Illusion of The Year Contest website, but grab a bottle of Aspirin first, your brain might need it by the time you’ve worked through the entire list.