Watch: Hypnotic Animated GIFs That Evoke Rippling Water

All the fun of summer, without getting wet.

For all of our accomplishments, humans are simple creatures. We may have decoded our own genome and invented materials to strike golf balls over 300 yards, but at the end of the day, a single pretty picture can leave us slack-jawed–like this new series of animated GIFs by Nicolas Sassoon.


Commissioned by fashion label/blog Kenzo, Green Waves is a collection of infinite water loops that I need to keep ripping myself away from, lest I allow their hypnotic aesthetic to overcome all the day’s productivity. The images are based upon moiré patterns, the optical phenomenon that occurs when two images overlap to create the illusion of a third image.

Sassoon says the patterns can “mesmerize the eye without revealing themselves completely.” Indeed, even when you know the trick, the strings are still hard to spot. So while I know there’s an illusion at work, all I can see is the gentle pulse of standing water.

“When I make animations like Green Waves, I like to think of them as abstracted, dematerialized landscapes,” Sassoon tells Co.Design. “To me they function like windows toward a landscape, the intended effect has to do with something contemplative, like sitting in front of a pond looking at the water ripples.”

Yet I find the process of really letting myself go in front of a computer screen, leaning back to enjoy the scenery as I might a lake on a summer day, nearly impossible. Sassoon’s art is almost wasted on the computer screen, a medium that constantly demands our attentions are redirected elsewhere. And maybe that’s why Sassoon, for all of his reputation online (his incredible portfolio is here), is focusing his efforts now on more projected displays.

Because could you imagine Green Waves on a big screen? I could just drown in them all day.

[Hat tip: Triangulation]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.