Drifting can be described as the experience of the texture, shape, and general structure of objects and scenery appearing as progressively warped, melted, and morphed across themselves. These alterations gradually increase in intensity as a person stares, but are temporary and will reset to their normal appearance the moment a person double takes.

This effect is capable of manifesting itself across 4 different levels of intensity described below:

  1. Peripheral - At the lowest level, visual drifting can be described as a wiggling of straight lines within the external environment. This occurs exclusively within a person's peripheral vision and cannot be directly looked at.
  2. Direct - At this level, visual drifting does not necessarily increase in intensity, but can now be directly looked at within a person's central line of sight. This partially alters the appearance and form of shapes, objects, and sceneries within the external environment, causing them to subtly drift, bend, and morph.
  3. Distinct - At this level, visual drifting becomes powerful enough to drastically alter and transform the shape of specific objects within a person's external environment. This is often to the point where they can become progressively unrecognisable in comparison to their original form, assuming one stares at the distortion and keeps their eyes relatively motionless.
  4. All-encompassing - At the highest level of visual drifting, the intensity becomes powerful enough to distort not just specific objects, but every single point of a person's vision and the entirety of the external environment. This creates the appearance of an extremely smudged, warped, and blended unrecognisable mass of visual data.

Drifting is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as symmetrical texture repetition and tracers. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur less commonly under the influence of certain stimulants and dissociatives such as MDMA or 3-MeO-PCP.

The particular style of this visual effect depends on the specific continuously changing direction, speed, and rhythm of the distortion. This results in a small variety of different manifestations which are defined and listed below:


Morphing can be described as an effect of visual drifting which is completely disorganised and spontaneous in both its rhythm and direction. It results in objects and scenery appearing to change gradually, morph, and warp in their size, shape, and configuration.


Breathing can be described as an effect of visual drifting which makes objects and scenery appear to be steadily contracting inwards and expanding outwards with a consistent rhythm, similar to the lungs of a living organism.


Melting can be described as an effect of visual drifting which results in the texture of objects and scenery appearing to completely or partially melt. It begins at lower doses as a gradual distortion of an object's texture which causes them to subtly droop, wobble, and lose their structural integrity. This gradually increases until it becomes impossible to ignore as the lines, textures, and colour between solid objects melt into one another in an extremely fluid style.


Flowing can be described as an effect of visual drifting which seems to occur almost exclusively on textures (particularly if they are highly detailed, complex, or rough in appearance). This results in the textures flowing like a river in a seamless, looped animation and is particularly common on wood grain or the fur of animals.

replication examples


Style variations

  • Intricate vs. Simplistic – In terms of its complexity, drifting can alter the external environment in a way that spreads out in many different complex directions and results in the original piece of sensory input becoming completely unrecognisable in appearance. Alternately, it will be simplistic in nature and stick to simple warping, wiggling and bending even at high dosages of psychoactive substances.
  • Slow vs. Fast – Drifting can manifest itself as something that progresses in its visual alterations at a fast and sudden rate or it can manifest gradually and slowly as a person stares into it.
  • Smooth vs. Jittery – In terms of its motion, drifting can manifest itself as a smooth, fluid and flawless movement or it can manifest as jittery with an extremely slow frame rate that moves in sudden and partial transitions.
  • Static vs. Fleeting – In terms of its permanence, drifting will either maintain its position until one performs a double take or will be extremely fleeting in its nature, meaning that it will reset almost as soon as a person tries to look directly at it.
  • Realistic vs. Unrealistic – Drifting can either look convincing in its appearance or it can look extremely cartoon-like and unrealistic.

psychoactive substances

Compounds which may cause this effect commonly include:

1P-ETH-LAD, 1P-LSD, 2-FMA, 25B-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, 25D-NBOMe, 25I-NBOMe, 25N-NBOMe, 2C-B, 2C-B-FLY, 2C-C, 2C-D, 2C-E, 2C-I, 2C-P, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, 3,4-CTMP, 4-AcO-DET, 4-AcO-DMT, 4-AcO-DiPT, 4-AcO-MET, 4-AcO-MiPT, 4-HO-DET, 4-HO-DPT, 4-HO-DiPT, 4-HO-EPT, 4-HO-MET, 4-HO-MPT, 4-HO-MiPT, 5-MeO-DALT, 5-MeO-DMT, 5-MeO-DiBF, 5-MeO-DiPT, 5-MeO-MiPT, A-PHP, A-PVP, AL-LAD, ALD-52, Allylescaline, Amphetamine, Ayahuasca, Benzydamine, Bk-2C-B, Bromo-DragonFLY, Bufotenin, DET, DMT, DOB, DOC, DOI, DOM, DPT, Datura, DiPT, DPH, ETH-LAD, Efavirenz, Ephenidine, Escaline, Ibogaine, LSA, LSD, LSZ, MET, MPT, Mescaline, Methallylescaline, Methamphetamine, MiPT, PMMA, PRO-LAD, Propylhexedrine, Proscaline, Psilocin, Psilocybin mushrooms, Salvinorin A, TMA-2, TMA-6, Zolpidem, Zopiclone, ΑMT,


Documentation written by Josie Kins / Edited by CocoaBunny