Animating the Impossible Penrose Triangle in Houdini

Pedro Alpiarça Shows How to Model & Animate the Optical Illusion of the Penrose Triangle

The Penrose Triangle represents a physical impossibility. An impossibility in real life but one that could nonetheless exist in 3D. Node Flow’s Pedro Alpiarça walks through how to approach modeling the Penrose Triangle within Side FX Houdini.

how to model the Penrose triangle optical illusion and render the necessary elements for its composition

The technique is reasonably straightforward, involving a method that was used to bring the triangle to life in the form of sculptures that from the right viewing angle look as if they are one continuous form.

The animation of the triangle relies on mapped UV values that will later be used in compositing to make the texture flow across the surface. A Shading pass is used to give the optical illusion a sense of volume. If you want to tinker with the scene file, you can get it here, courtesy of Node Flow.