Exploratorium
Geometry Playground

Tiny Pants Photo Challenge

Using a simple trick of perspective, you can dress your friends in tiny cutout clothing.

Materials:

Try This

  1. Draw some pants or find a pants photo in a magazine.

  2. Glue the pants to the card stock. Cut them out.

  3. Tape them to the end of a stick.

  4. Hold them in front of you and close one eye.

  5. Ask your friend to move around in front of you until it looks like your friend is wearing the tiny pants. .

  6. Take photos, and, if you like, post them to: http://www.flickr.com/groups/geometryplayground/ with the tag “tinypants”.

Hints:

Use a small aperture, turn off the flash, and if possible, shoot your photos outside, in bright sunlight.

You can also make tiny shirts, or other things to wear.


What’s so funny about tiny pants?

The illusion that the tiny pants “fit” is based on the way you perceive size and distance.

With both eyes open, you can perceive depth—so if an object is farther away, your brain tells you that it’s larger.

When you close one eye, you impair your depth perception, so your brain can’t easily tell that your friend is much bigger than the pants.

How far away should your friend stand?

It depends on the size and length of the pants, and on how far the pants are from your eye.

Try making two pairs of tiny pants, one twice as big as the other. Measure how far away your friend has to stand for each pair to fit.

You’ll find that your friend needs to stand half as far away when the pants are twice as big. If the pants were four times as big, your friend would need to stand one-fourth of the distance away.


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