New digital ads have been appearing in recent years with mind-tricking properties that create the illusion of three-dimensionality. In Japan, a new ad space found itself in the international media spotlight when it appeared last summer, featuring a giant prowling 3D calico cat, at one of the busiest crosswalks of Tokyo's downtown Shinjuku neighborhood.

Since then, similar ad spaces have appeared in other neighborhoods, along with a larger cast of animated characters and visually arresting ads which have given the cat some competition.

Animated goldfish makes waves on social media

However, one video circulating on Twitter earlier this month made waves since it seemed to show an even more surprising development: A 3D ad with animation that literally pops out of the screen and goes beyond the frame!

At first swimming peacefully inside the borders of the ad screen, a white goldfish turns towards the screen, and then nonchalantly swims past it where the surface of the display should be and continues swimming out into the space beyond as if it could swim in the air...

Poisson d'Avril!

As many readers probably realized thanks to the words "April Fools' Day" on the display, this video never actually took place in reality. Incidentally, Francophones may have guessed it from the timing like other viewers did, but also from the fact that it featured a fish. In French, the word for "April Fool" is "Poisson d'Avril," literally "April fish," from the practice of sticking paper fish on people's backs as a practical joke.

This remarkable video was created by the talented Japanese indie app developer Masataka Hakozaki, who, as we featured before in grape Japan, has recently been devoting his time to simulating goldfish swimming with realistic water effects with the aid of artificial intelligence. Hakozaki has been fascinated by goldfish for many years now and is currently developing a more sophisticated goldfish app.

You can get an idea of his current progress in this video showing a simulation with goldfish of different sizes and swimming speeds:

For the video in his April Fools' Day Twitter post, which has over 341,200 views at the time of writing, Hakozaki simulated not only the 3D display but the entire urban environment, from the buildings, trees, traffic lights, and even the noise. If you look closely at the words displayed on the buildings, you'll find more hints that it's not real. In addition to the English world "GOLDFISH," you'll also see KINGYO, 金魚, the word for goldfish in Japanese, as well as RYUKIN (琉金 ryūkin), a short deep-bodied fancy goldfish of Chinese origin, which arrived in Japan through the Ryukyu Islands, now Okinawa Prefecture.

In other words, neither the ad space nor the building housing it are real but are all part of Hakozaki's skillfully rendered 3D simulation.

For those who are interested, here's another video in which Hakozaki reveals the tricks he used:

For now, the closest thing to this kind of "pop-out" ad can only be imagined in videos like these, or perhaps re-created in VR where you'd experience it with your avatar. Based on the #VR tag in this very recent Tweet, perhaps he's already working on it as we speak...

If you'd like to see more of Masataka Hakozaki's amazing 3D animated graphics work, you can follow his Twitter account (a summary of his goldfish-related Tweets) and YouTube Channel, and find out about the apps he has released so far on his official website.

By - Ben K.