It is well known that the human visual system can reconstruct depth from simple random-dot displays given binocular disparity or motion information. This fact has lent support to the notion that stereo and structure from motion systems rely on low-level primitives derived from image intensities. In contrast, the judgment of surface transparency is often considered to be a higher-level visual process that, in addition to pictorial cues, utilizes stereo and motion information to separate the transparent from the opaque parts. We describe a new illusion and present psychophysical results that question this sequential view by showing that depth from transparency and opacity can override the bias to see rigid motion. The brain's computation of transparency may involve a two-way interaction with the computation of structure from motion.

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