[[quoteright:300:[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/conspicuous_light_patch.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Guess which bush Amuro pushes aside.]]

->''"I like how in old animation, you knew what object the characters would interact with. Because they were significantly less detailed than the stationary objects around them."''
-->-- '''MK,''' via [[http://theonlyconstants.tumblr.com/post/37177551741/i-like-how-in-old-animation-you-knew-what-object Tumblr.]]

In some cartoons, it is obvious that a part of the background will be used. What ''makes'' it obvious is that it is strikingly lighter in color than its surroundings. It might also have an obvious difference in detail or color saturation. Another telltale sign would be clear black outlines on the object: the three clearly outlined rocks on the cliff would be the ones to tumble.

A similar situation is where things that ''should'' move don't, because they are made a part of the background to save time.

This is an unintentional artifact from the traditional, cellophane animation process. Foreground/animated objects are drawn by the main animators separately from the background and matte painters. Because the two processes were done at different times and locations and by different artists, consistent matching was very difficult. Additionally, the unpainted portions of cels were not perfectly transparent, so the colors on lower cels became more and more muted as additional layers were added to the top of the stack.

Film critic Creator/RogerEbert has called this the "Fudd Flag", after Bugs Bunny's nemesis, who uses it to determine which tree Bugs is hiding behind, which rock he needs to trip over, etc.

Nowadays, digital ink-and-paint and compositing has largely displaced the use of painted cels, meaning that colors can be matched accurately (although conspicuously light patches are still pretty common in cartoons with digitally inked-and-painted foregrounds and hand-painted backgrounds). The issue of lavish backgrounds contrasting with simple animated elements remains to some extent, but it is often avoided. Many TV cartoons now use backgrounds rendered in the same simplistic style as the animation, while theatrical films can now use CG to render "background" elements that can be animated... which can lead to a [[ConspicuousCG whole new set of problems]].

Something similar occasionally appears in older live-action productions. In particular, you may see an oddly colored sheen around the characters in shows featuring heavy use of ChromaKey. In his review of the ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[http://web.archive.org/web/20080414185808/www.mrcranky.com/movies/starwarstrailer.html prequel trailer]], Mr. Cranky dubbed this slight SpecialEffectsFailure a "mystical aura." The technique has since evolved to the point where it is mostly no longer noticeable. Mostly.

This also applies to mid-era point-n-click {{Adventure Game}}s, when the background would be painted or 3D rendered, while objects would usually be drawn sprites. However, this had a practical use, [[NoticeThis allowing players to easily locate collectible objects]], even small ones. ''[[PixelHunt Especially]]'' small ones. A similar version can appear in action games that require you to destroy parts of the environment to proceed, again, mostly in older ones. The breakable parts would usually be a different color, and one can sometimes even see the seams where the object is supposed to break apart.

In early console games, some interactive objects might use a noticeably different palette than the background, since sprites and backgrounds have their own color spaces.

Also, it may be [[InvokedTrope used intentionally]] in video games to help point out certain objects or items, and often in different form than the accidental style mentioned above but the same spirit (something that looks out of place in a minor way that reveals it to be important) most often as a NoticeThis.

Occasionally inverted by allowing the cel/object to exist and making it readily visually apparent, and then moving the background art instead of the cel.

This trope is particularly prominent in cartoons made during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation. With the modern trend of flash animation, there is almost no difference between backgrounds and cels, completely averting this trope altogether by the fortune of new technology.

!!Striking light objects

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* The VideoGame/{{Touhou}} doujin-anime ''Musou Kakyo: A Summer Day's Dream'' has this almost constantly.
* When the elephant eats bricks on ''Animation/BlackCatDetective''.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' had it, though not as bad as some other cartoons of the era. [[http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lx4xr4qK8i1qzxzwwo1_500.jpg For example]].
* Quite obvious at one point in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', when the part of the Saint Beasts' castle is collapsing.
* Parodied in episode 15 of ''Anime/PaniPoniDash''. When the bus is teetering on the edge of the cliff, every external shot of the cliff shows the edge of the cliff very obviously animated this way, indicating that the cliff is about to crumble. It never does.
* In the episode of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'' with the Dark Ocean, Kari is at one point inside a tunnel when part of the ceiling collpases. The bricks that fall are a shade lighter than the ones that don't.
* Purposely avoided in the second episode of ''LightNovel/LoveChunibyoAndOtherDelusions'', a missing cat decorated like a chimaera is sitting on the shelf in a bedroom fill with the belongings of a chunnibyou. In full room shot the cat is purposely drawn like the background. However this is excusable since the said animal doesn't move till the next shot
** Which begs the questions as to why a cat would stay perfectly still and quiet on a shelf for longer than necessary while two strangers enter its temporary residence
* Lampshaded in ''Manga/BlueSeed'' [[http://bewareofmpreg.tumblr.com/post/93328905030 as seen here]].

[[folder: Video Games]]
* The video game ''VideoGame/SeriousSam'', interestingly, features these. Behind a lightly colored spot on a wall, you could expect to find a secret by moving to it or shooting at it.
* Conspicuously Light Patches, along with other texturing and lighting tricks, [[OlderThanTheyThink were a staple in]] {{FPS}}es since ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'', as they were often a clue to where a secret could be, or where monsters would come from.
* The newer, Crystal Dynamics-developed ''Franchise/TombRaider'' games constantly use white ledges to signify which parts of the wall Lara can grab. The older games didn't need these hints, as they were more obvious due to simple landscapes.
* In the first ''Franchise/MassEffect'' game, you would sometimes come across rows of weapons lockers in merc bases, and the only hackable locker would be a lot brighter than the rest.
* Games and [[GameMod Mods]] based on ''VideoGame/{{Quake|I}}''-derived shooters such as ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' have this quite often, based on rendering limitations, until dynamic shadows became more prevalent in engines starting in 2004. Lighting effects were determined when the level was built, and didn't change during play, even if an object moved to a differently lit environment. Similarly, interactive objects didn't block light, meaning a bright light would shine right through a door or destructible wall as though it were glass. Levels had to be designed with the limitations in mind, by having near identical lighting on both sides, or leaving the light off on the opposite side until it was triggered.
** It's the case with most games that used the aforementioned lightmap model. In most cases dynamic objects and static models or map scenery would be treated differently lighting-wise - the LS3D engine used in ''VideoGame/Mafia'' used dynamic shadows for characters and moving lights, but everything else is pre-baked.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' brick blocks with jumping Goombas hidden inside are easy to distinguish from ordinary bricks, as the enemies don't have the "shine" effect normal bricks have.
* Invoked in the {{LEGO Adaptation Game}}s, where non-[=LEGO=] scenery serves only as background. All interactions involve only [=LEGO=] items.
* ''VideoGame/EpicMickey'' deliberately invokes this as a homage to old cartoons. Toon objects, which can be affected by Paint and Thinner, are bright and colorful, while Inert objects look dark and menacing, and cannot be painted or thinned.
* Each level in ''VideoGame/YoshisIsland'' for the SNES had 20 red coins, disguised as and placed among regular gold coins. However, if you look very closely, you'll notice that the disguised red coins have a subtle red tint to them, which makes them easy to distinguish from the gold coins once you know what to look for. This trick doesn't work in the GBA port.
* In several ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' games, destructible obstacles have a different look from the rest of the landscape.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' and its sequels, using certain Psynergy powers will cause the background to turn monochrome ... except for items that can be dealt with by hand or affected by Psynergy powers.
* In ''VideoGame/FarCry3'' the drugs you can take in the cave are a distinctly different shade of red from the rest of the bowl.
* When you walk around in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire'' you regularly run into some odd looking trees on a colored square background, in contrast to the trees around them with proper alpha channeling. if you poke the tree, it folds up and a [[GratuitousNinja Ninja]] pops out to challenge you to a battle.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* WesternAnimation/InsideOut: The memory shelf that [[spoiler: collapses to reveal the recall tube]] has something different about it's color scheme compared to the surrounding ones.
* Subverted (perhaps unintentionally) in one Roadrunner cartoon, where Wile E. Coyote cuts a suspension bridge that's clearly drawn on a cel, but [[GravityIsAHarshMistress the fully painted cliff he's standing on falls instead]].
* "Falling Hare" does it several times, but it's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1xqrdtJs8w#t=5m32s most noticeable]] on a section of a wall that WesternAnimation/BugsBunny backs up into in order to ram open a door.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/ExtremeGhostbusters'' featuring "The Piper" had this exact trope. When the characters were standing on the pier, one could see the foreground planks in a richer shade of mahogany shortly before they were smashed to pieces.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' displayed this trope a great deal.
* ''The New Adventures of WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' had this all the time, from a door that was shortly going to be opened, to a boulder that was going to fall down on the heroes.
* In the animated feature ''WesternAnimation/AmericanPop'', one character is seen playing the piano, and as he moves his arm his sleeve repeatedly flickers to a lighter shade than the rest of his shirt.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' has a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frGLMtGsotc title sequence]] example, in which Scrooge pops his head out of a lightly colored patch of gold coins.
* In the 1991 Tintin series episode "Cigars of the Pharaoh," the inside of a cigar box is shown. The cigar which Tintin picks up is quite clearly drawn on a cel, whereas the rest of the cigars are obviously part of the background.
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'': Trap doors, curtains hiding monsters, vases that activated secret passages, paintings with moving eyes, it was everywhere. Quasi-subverted in the theme song, however, with an obviously-background-painted Scooby-Doo covered in bubblegum, which is cleared away by an animated tongue to reveal the lighter, animated Scooby.
* In the second episode of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', the snow wall Sokka is standing on has plenty of these, including his snow watch tower, which collapses as Prince Zuko's ship approaches.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' you could tell which rocks were going to fall as they'd be coloured lighter.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'', most blatantly during the end scene where the Grinch is cutting the roast beast, not only is each slice cel-animated, but each slice cuts and looks identical -- ''and the roast never gets smaller.'' Many Seuss-based animated films suffer from this effect.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', there was a scene where a blind man pulls out a book from his shelf. All the other books are generic browns and reds, the one he pulls out is bright blue. For the aversion, see below.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'':
** Although the ones in older episodes could be attributed to the fairly small budgets at the time, the newer, more {{Creator/Nickelodeon}}-backed episodes have no such [[HandWave (weak) excuse]].
** One particularly {{egregious}} example is the episode "Can You Spare a Dime?", where [=SpongeBob=] pokes Squidward's animated nose, and the ''entire rest of his head'' is a much-darker matte painting (see 9:34-9:40 [[http://spongebob.nick.com/videos/clip/can-you-spare-a-dime-full.html here]]).
** Also in "Bossy Boots", the squeeze toy on Mr. Krabs' desk looks painted just like the background, then it turns a lighter color when he actually picks it up and squeezes it.
* No form of animation being intrinsically immune to the Fudd Flag, {{claymation}}-animated works are wholly capable of falling prey to it, too. ''WesternAnimation/DaveyAndGoliath'' did it nearly every episode.
* While it wasn't so bad in the original black and white sorts, Ted Turner's recolored ''WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}'' shorts suffered immensely from this trope.
* ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'', for example in the taco restaurant in the episode "All You Can't Eat" where [=CatDog=] crawl under the floor tiles and you can see the path they take outlined on the tiles.
* ''Disney/LiloAndStitch'' uses this deliberately as part of the art style, as all the characters are cell animated on top of watercolour backgrounds.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' on Creator/{{PBS}} is prone to this, at least in the earlier episodes. For example, Arthur frequently visits the library, and it's pretty obvious which books he'll take off the shelf.
* Creator/DonBluth's ''WesternAnimation/ThePebbleAndThePenguin'' does this several times in the film, but this becomes the most obvious during the climatic battle between Hubie and [[Creator/TimCurry Drake]] at the end, where the cel-shaded pieces of staircase are the ones that Drake punches away while trying to attack Hubie.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH'':
** While the characters' fairly straightforward animation is understandable in contrast to the sumptuously painted backgrounds, when something in the background needs animating, it can be rather jarring. The mud sloshing around the Brisby's house as they're trying to move it is particularly obvious.
** Plus the scene where Mrs. Brisby pushes out the water dish to escape the cage. It changes between static painting and movable cartoon in every edit.
** The same is true with the latch Nicodemus uses to open his cage - it also switches to a hand-drawn cel just after zooming in.
* The ant-infested tile [[SinisterMinister Judge Frollo]] picks up in ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''. Also played with in the same film with the gargoyles, who appear as matte-painted until they come to life.
* Visible, though subtle, in the early ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'' episode "The Giant Bacteria," at the very beginning, parts of an oil refinery blow up, and you can tell which is which ahead of time. They had it far less subtle most of the time, however, as the backgrounds were drawn in a rather lavishly detailed style reminiscent of a comic-book, but the animated pieces were less "stylized," and more similar to other animated series of the time.
* During the "Planet Song" from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', the planets Venus and Saturn are for some reason both drawn as individually-animated cels, while the other planets of the Solar System ({{Uranus|IsShowing}} is completely absent due to Yakko Warner accidentally leaving it out) are all drawn as backgrounds.
* In the climatic fight scene in ''WesternAnimation/ThePrincessAndTheGoblin'' Curdie rushes to get a sword from the weapons room. It's extremely obvious which weapon he's going to pick up because of this trope.
* The BridgeLogic scene from ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire''.
* During the [[TearJerker "Baby Mine"]] scene from ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'', when we see the montage on baby animals and their mothers after Dumbo and Timothy visit Dumbo's mother still in the cage, a mother zebra for some reason actually has her head drawn on an individual cel while her body is drawn onto the background! (her colt is also drawn on an individual cel).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'', individual objects are animated while background objects are live-action.
* Every single object and animals in ''WesternAnimation/WordWorld'' that's shaped like its name.
* In ''Disney/TheLionKing'' during the elephant graveyard scene, all background bones are dark grey but animated bones are a light cream color.
* The book Belle checks out at her village's library during the song "Belle" at the very beginning of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''.
* Several of the older animated Disney films would occasionally have characters for some reason be drawn as a background rather than on a cel. Examples include a closeup of Monstro the whale's eye in ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', a giant Alice's leg (and bloomers) sticking out of the White Rabbit's house in ''Disney/AliceinWonderland'', an unconscious Princess Aurora lying on the ground after touching a spinning-wheel in ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', and Ariel's tail at one point during the song "Under the Sea" from ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''.
* In the German animated film ''WesternAnimation/{{Felidae}}'', when Francis is running away from some cats chasing him, he runs out on a plank balanced by a heavy sack. You can tell this plank is going to fall because it's drawn on a cel, rather than painted like the rest of the background.
* Glaringly obvious in ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie'', though it's the least of your worries given the film's ''numerous problems''.
-->'''Nostalgia Critic:''' Look out! It's painted into the background so I know it isn't going to do anything!
* {{Parodied|Trope}} in ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw''. During a "special showing" of a ''WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}'' episode the series is based on,[[note]]While it is an original ''Birdman'' episode, the cast of the parody series provide a humorous re-dub.[[/note]] Harvey is shrunk by Reducto; facing ants that now match him in size, their antenna are colored differently and are the only parts that move, to which Harvey notes [[LampshadeHanging it appears to be all they can do.]]
* WesternAmimation/TomAndJerry had this pretty badly. It was quite easy to tell which objects were going to be broken or picked up and used by the characters by the distinctly different shade that they had.
* A subversion with the "Happy Helmet" episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow''. When Ren goes to the kitchen to find something to take the happy helmet off with, he stands in front of the cupboards with one drawer drawn differently than the others, but he doesn't open it right away. After a scene change, the camera switches back to the kitchen, and the entire cupboard is drawn differently with no clue as to which drawer he might open, only then does he open the one that the previous scene alluded to.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Terrible Trio", the daughter of a recent victim is sitting by her father's bedside when a nurse comes in and tells her she should get some rest since her father isn't likely to wake soon. Considering he's significantly more detailed, and therefore part of the background, the nurse is probably right.

!!Mystical Auras
* There's a particular bit in the 80s ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'' movie where, as a rocket travels forward entering the Imperial Vortex, this bright, transparent... thing moves behind it. Instead of moving steadily behind the rocket, it sort of jumps whenever the rocket's going to go past it.
* Seen in many space films, actually. Exterior shots of the ''Leonov'' in ''Film/TwoThousandTenTheYearWeMakeContact'' have an aura, most noticeable when the ship moves toward the camera. Likewise, small ships in the original Franchise/StarWars trilogy are often surrounded by a light rectangle, particularly in VHS and earlier DVD releases.
* In the BMovie ''Film/{{Xanadu}}'', Sonny gets one [[spoiler:as he enters the muses' world]], as seen at the bottom of [[http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Xanadu.aspx?Page=6 this page]].
* While ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' and ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'' did chroma-key well (managing to disguise, for example, when the [=flying DeLorean=] was actually a model), the original had two obvious {{Special Effects Failure}}s: When the car first disappears, leaving the fire trails; and when Marty's hand begins to fade in front of his face.
* Hitchcock's classic ''Film/NorthByNorthwest'' has the climax take place on the front of Mt. Rushmore. If you look very carefully in the moments in which you can see the full monument, you can see the blue-tinted line.

* Referenced in the Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse book ''[[Literature/PastDoctorAdventures Verdigris]]'', where Jo is asked:
-->"... think about every alien artifact or creature you have ever seen. Weren't they always surrounded by a crackling nimbus of blue light? [...] Didn't they sometimes look a little ... unconvincing?"

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* Extremely apparent in some [[Franchise/TheMuppets Muppet]] productions, as Creator/JimHenson liked using ChromaKey a lot in the mid-80's. It gets to the point where you can tell something's up when you see that "mystical aura" around a character.
** Done intentionally in the "Secrets of the Muppets" episode of ''Series/TheJimHensonHour''. Henson explains how the room he is hosting the show from is blue-screened, then holds a bright blue necktie in front of himself, making his chest transparent and demonstrating the ChromaKey technique.
** And then subverted later on. Jojo (the AudienceSurrogate) claims that he can now tell when Chroma Key is being used. When a Doozer from ''Series/FraggleRock'' enters the room, he claims that it's obvious the character isn't really there, and is probably about three feet tall and standing in front of a blue screen somewhere. Jim then picks up the Doozer, demonstrating that it is actually a radio controlled puppet, and then begins the segment on how characters like that are made.
* On ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** Some special effects failures let you see the characters were suddenly in front of a blue screen such that someone was going to do something that required a special effect to depict.
** Due to [[http://www.modeemi.fi/~leopold/Babylon5/DVD/DVDTransfer.html the way the widescreen version was produced]] you can spot the picture quality drop with every effects shot in Babylon 5 on DVD, at least on a good quality TV setup.
* Lampshaded on ''Series/TheDailyShow''. During the 2004 election, a segment is done with Rob Cordry lying handcuffed on the street, with an ''extremely'' obvious Aura. After the segment, Jon Stewart comments that it "looked like the street was melting away from him."
* Happened occasionally with objects Al would walk through on ''Series/QuantumLeap'', or even Al himself.
* In Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker's eras of ''Series/DoctorWho'', the use of ChromaKey for lasers and ray guns meant that whenever a character was about to shoot their gun in a shot, they'd be surrounded by the mystical aura.
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman'' used greenscreening as a budget-saving technique for the flying scenes. One shot of Superman was filmed against a variable backdrop, and as a result, he gained a mystical aura every time he had to fly somewhere.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* Objects that are interactive but would not otherwise be obvious glow in the video game ''VideoGame/CallOfCthulhuDarkCornersOfTheEarth.''
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'', anything you can use the Grapple Lasso on shimmers yellow, while ledges you can jump to and pull yourself up onto shimmer green. In all three of the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy'' games [[EnemyScan scannable enemies and objects]] are ColorCodedForYourConvenience to tell you if you have scanned them or not. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], as Samus's visors are equipped with a HeadsUpDisplay and her suit holds an internal computer. The Power Suit is [[NoticeThis highlighting these things for her]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' does the same thing as ''Metroid'' when tagging hostile targets.
!!Point-And-Click Version

[[folder: MMORP Gs ]]
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''
** The game frequently has quests where you have to pick up objects on the ground. These objects are scenery and can't be manipulated (and don't even light up when the cursor hits them) unless you're on the relevant quest. Since finding which book among the thousands of books you see in a building is the one you're supposed to pick up is annoying, Blizzard eventually made quest objects sparkle and glow to make them easier to discern.
** A variation on this is used in at least a couple of places, including the mines underneath one of the Mana Forges in Outland and during one of the Harrison Jones quests in Uldum. Dead [=NPCs=] that will spawn additional creatures lie on the ground. The ones that will spawn creatures use a different model and are rendered in higher detail than other "background" elements, making it very easy to tell which bodies will spawn mobs.
** Happens in most [=MMO=]s sooner or later, thanks to Players Are Morons (sort of justified on the side of the developers, because only the players who can't find the items will write long ranty bug reports saying finding the objects is impossible).
* It's come full circle in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', where interactive items have a blue-tinged sheen to them, ordinarily conspicuous enough. But on snowy planets like Alderaan or Hoth, lighting gives everything a blue cast, meaning the player could glimpse a security chest out of the corner of their eye... nope, just a rock.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', items that must be found to complete a mission not only pulse with light, but emit a sound to alert players to their presence, earning them the nickname of "glowies" among players. This falls under the category of AcceptableBreaksFromReality. The "glowies" in didn't originally include the sound clue for finding them, but since some were tucked into corners and nearly impossible to locate by sight alone, the sound effect was added to relieve frustration and reduce GM calls. You can alter the file and make them emit any sound you care to, if the "wom wom wom" noise is too disruptive or irritating.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' had the point-and-click-adventure-game example of this trope. Any object, person or thing that could be examined or otherwise interacted with was rendered in rather blocky 3D (mind-blowing at the time, but extremely dated now, ten years on) against the smoother, less-dated pre-rendered backgrounds. In fact, the main character remarks on it once or twice in the [[HeKnowsAboutTimedHits Beginners Hall]]. Even more obvious in the [[PortingDisaster PC version]], in which the backgrounds are still 320x240 but everything else is in high resolution.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'':
** Want to know if a corpse in the UsefulNotes/PlayStation-era game is just a corpse or if it's going to bite your legs off as you walk past? Just check whether it's rendered like the background or like a character model. Smooth-shaded = dead dead, jagged polygons = zombie. Not nearly so easy in the UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube remake, however. The increased render capabilities make the zombies blend in a lot better to the remade backgrounds. Occasionally the series will fake you out, though, with a polygonal body that ''doesn't'' get up and try to eat you.
** Occurs with other objects as well, such as doors, paintings, etc. as they're usually noticeably brighter and more jagged than background objects. If a door looks like this, you can bet something'll come crashing through it sooner or later. Averted with breakable windows, which are hidden surprisingly well.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'':
** One level featured enemies who hid in brick blocks; the blocks concealing enemies were easily distinguishable because, due to palette limitations, they ''didn't'' shimmer the way that normal blocks did. Naturally, in the ''Super Mario All Stars'' remake, there was no such giveaway, due to the SNES' more advanced graphics capabilities.
** If you pause the game, though, enemies are not drawn. So if you see bricks disappear...now you know.
** They're still a slightly different color in All-Stars, though that's probably intentional. Another example would be underground hidden blocks -- on the NES, the starry background would be a noticeably (though not too noticeably) different color where a hidden block would show up. No dice on the SNES.
** The ROMHack ''VideoGame/MarioAdventure'' adds random weather effects to every outdoor level. For whatever reason, the weather effects wouldn't appear where there was an InvisibleBlock, making many puzzles perhaps easier than they had been intended to be.
* Near the end of World 8-3 of the original ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'', if you look very closely at the last brick wall in the background (it's behind the last Hammer Bros. there) before the flagpole, you can easily tell that one of the bricks making up the wall contains coins. What makes this obvious is the fact that the coin brick has a thin white line drawn above. In the SNES remake however, that brick is completely visible all the time as those walls have been removed and placed in a different background.
* The "different palette" version shows up a lot, albeit unplanned, when playing a monochrome UsefulNotes/GameBoy game on a UsefulNotes/GameBoyColor or UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance. Backgrounds are colored green and sprites are colored red. Fortunately, there's a couple different palettes you can choose when turning the game on that negate this effect.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda:''
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', the area of floor you have to bomb in order to reach King Dodongo uses a texture that doesn't quite mesh with the floor around it; if you look closely you can see the seams. Also, the rocks that you can bomb tend to be very obvious, as they all use the same model.
** The UsefulNotes/{{Nintendo 64}} ''Zeldas'' are terrible about this. Most of the interiors and one very key town in ''Ocarina'' are created with a pre-rendered background, thus the interactive objects are very obviously polygons. ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'' is a little better about this, but still suffers from the limitations inherit in the console. (ONE rock is in this canyon, guess which one you have to bomb?)
** This is true in any ''Zelda'' game -- a stretch of wall or piece of floor or what have you that needs bombing will have ''something'' that makes it different from the rest of the area. This would be justified in that it serves as a clue for players to figure out how to move forward in dungeons and gives them a rough idea of ''where'' exactly to bomb (so that they don't use up all of their bombs trying to hit the right spot). Secret areas will seldom have this, requiring you to slash the wall in different places with your sword (bombable walls go "zipt" instead of "clang" when you slash them, a fact pointed out by a Goron in ''Ocarina's'' Fire Temple.)
* If you see a patch on a wall in ''VideoGame/MondoMedicals'' that is lighter than the rest of the wall, you can walk through that part. This is key to solving many of the game's puzzles, including "Counts to Fifteen" ([[spoiler:15 is hidden behind one of the walls]]).
* While ''VideoGame/TheSecretOfMonkeyIsland'' featured pixel-art backgrounds that meshed convincingly with foreground elements, backgrounds in the second and third were hand-painted. This was mostly averted; items that could be picked up were often also hand-painted and pasted in, and disappeared when you picked them up. This convention was completely thrown out in ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' and ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'', in which everything is 3D but the backgrounds are all pre-rendered and, more importantly, anti-aliased. So just look for the items with jaggedy edges.
* ''[[BrokenSword Circle of Blood]]'' averted this; everything (''everything'') was in the same cartoonish style, including things two or three pixels wide that you needed to pick up. People took to calling it ''[[FanNickname Circle of Mouse]]'' because if you didn't mouse over every pixel in a new area, you missed something.
* Conspicuous in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVIIThePrincelessBride'', the first SVGA ''King's Quest'' game, where the cartoonishness of interactable objects, in contrast to the backgrounds, sometimes make it ludicrously easy to figure out that, say, a statue is actually going to come to life and kill you.
* By extension, in almost every 90s {{Sierra}} adventure game you could tell what elements of the scenery were potentially inventory by the fact that they were lighter in color and simpler in appearance than the hand-painted backgrounds. This was practically the only way to figure out which items were inventory in some rooms.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'', Koga's Gym has "invisible walls" that you have to find your way around to get to the Gym Leader. The tiles with "invisible walls" on them have four white dots, allowing you to find the right path fairly easily. This was most likely intended as a hint for players, since it's not hard to make a tile have the properties of a wall but the image of a floor. It still wasn't THAT easy, since you sometimes walk into dead ends.
** In all of the ''Pokémon'' games, places where you can use HM moves stand out, from a different kind of rock being breakable, rocky slopes that can be climbed, and dark patches of water that serve as Dive spots. Not to mention the [[http://www.supercheats.com/guides/files/guid/pokemon-emerald/P25D-ninja.jpg Ninja Boy]] trainers disguising themselves as trees in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald]]''.
* Occurs often in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts''. If there's an object that looks like it's not stuck onto the scenery, chances are it's an important tool for continuing the game.
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' has one companion perk which causes certain items to glow when the player aims. Useful in some of the darker caves and buildings.

!!Parodies and Aversions

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* The anime ''Anime/BlueSeed'' has an {{omake}} sequence after one episode which parodies this; one character [[NoFourthWall stops and monologues]] on the properties of a set of desk drawers, noticing that one is drawn more simply and in a different palette -- therefore it must be the only one that moves, and contains the item he is looking for. In the same sequence, Matsudaira warns Kunikida not to step on a part of the cliff that was colored differently. Instead, the more complex part of the cliff collapsed.
* {{Averted|Trope}} in ''Anime/SpiritedAway''; the art book points out that CG was used to animate the dishes when Chihiro's parents start nudging them around with their pig snouts.
* Inverted in ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'', where the titanic Ohmu insects are made up of animated ''backgrounds''.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* The creators of ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' made a point of rendering both fixed and dynamic objects the same way for this reason, among others.
* The original ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda'' has identical dungeon walls whether a bomb will punch a hole in them or not. Fortunately, only the middle of any given wall needs checking. The overworld is far trickier, since bombable walls always face south, but otherwise can be in any location (when checking, keep in mind that bombing between tiles can let you hit two walls at once).
* Spoofed in Creator/TellTaleGames's PointAndClickGame ''VideoGame/BackToTheFuture episode 3''. A bricked-up doorway features a obviously discoloured brick, the only selectable object upon the surface. It's just there to have Marty make a joke about it being [[Music/PinkFloyd "another brick in the wall"]]. Subsequent clicks confirm its useless nature, with Marty commenting that it is just a brick.
* ''VideoGame/PeasantsQuest'' subverts the game version. At one point in the game, a conspicuously light candle appears on the screen. If you try to get it, the game says "It seems like you should be able to do that, doesn't it? Sorry. No dice."
* ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest'':
** Spoofed in one of the first few screens of ''Space Quest 3''. Using the parser to try and examine a very inconspicuous object gives a message along the lines of "We know what you're looking at, and we assure you, you don't need it."
** In one of the first screens of ''Space Quest 2'' there was a suspicious square of grass outlined by dots, concealing a PitTrap. The command "look at trap", which only worked on this screen, would tell you to stop being paranoid.

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* ''Webcomic/CrunchyBunches'' made fun of this [[http://www.crunchybunches.com/comic/drawn-drawer/ in one comic.]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lveC56wO6YA Don't step on it!]]
* Parodied in Episode 70 of [[WebOriginal/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries Yu-Gi-Oh The Abridged Series]]
-->'''Pegasus:''' The only way to defeat him is with a special card that I've hidden somewhere in this room. Think strategically, though. Where can one find an extra card?
-->'''Yami:''' Well, that's obviously Pot of Greed over there.
-->'''Kaiba:''' How can you be so sure? [[RunningGag Nobody even knows what Pot of Greed does!]]
-->'''Yami:''' And neither do I. But I can tell it's that one because it's animated differently than the rest of the stuff in here.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' made fun of this. In one episode, the Warner Brothers (and Sister) were rented out to a Creator/HannaBarbera-esque company, and placed in a Yogi-Bear-esque cartoon with plenty of these.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAnimalsOfFarthingWood'' averted this by having certain objects ''painted'' on the animation cels so that the characters could use them without them looking conspicuous beforehand.
* {{Averted|Trope}} in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' by painting the backgrounds on cels, same as the characters. It succeeded most of the time, but there were still tell-tale "Fudd flags" visible at times until the production switched to digital rendering methods.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' the animators worked very hard to keep the stone gargoyles from being Fudd Flags. When stone, the gargoyles are in background animation, appearing as any other inanimate object. When they come to life, they are in cel animation. Naturally, this trope is back to being played straight whenever somebody needs to ''move'' a stone gargoyle, but that doesn't happen very often.
* Russian animation often averts this. Some of the examples are ''Animation/FiringRange'' and ''The Singing Teacher''.
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw'' (which is animated digitally) when [[{{WesternAnimation/Superfriends}} Apache Chief]] picks up a telephone pole and it's suddenly a different color from when it was a background object.
* Mystical aura is spoofed in ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' with the Mayor's ad for Sardine Land, in order to make it all the more [[StylisticSuck crapstastic]]. Ironically, since the film is made with state-of-the-art CGI, it took a bit of doing to properly simulate the look of bad ChromaKey.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' inverts it with the robot waiter in the episode "No Weenies Allowed", which (except for its claws) is a painted background object whenever it appears.
* A subtle joke in the ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' episode "Sadie's Song:" Sadie offers to let Steven choose a stuffed animal from a large pile. It looks like he's about to choose one that's a blatantly different style and color from the rest, but then he refuses.

!!Weird examples
[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** There's two pre-ChromaKey examples in William Hartnell ''Series/DoctorWho'' stories. In "The Keys of Marinus", it's obvious when the characters are going to use the teleportation devices, because they move in front of a completely black square of backdrop to do it - usually disguised as the inside of a doorway, but sometimes just a random black square hanging around for no reason. The effect of the seed shrinking in "Planet of the Giants" also takes place in front of a completely black panel in the TARDIS that was not there before and is never shown there again.
** It's quite easy to tell in the Classic series when a Dalek is going to get a severe thrashing, because it stops twitching its eyestalk, gun and plunger beforehand, due to there being no human inside for obvious safety reasons. This is especially noticeable in the scene where the TARDIS crew and the Thals storm the Dalek city at the end of "The Daleks" due to the minimal amount of editing possible with the NoBudget conditions, so motionless Daleks are on screen for a surprisingly long time before Ian runs up to them and kicks them. In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", you can even tell which Daleks in a group are going to be attacked by which ones aren't moving.
** In "The Claws of Axos", one of the TARDIS roundels is inexplicably blue. Of course later in the scene it is {{CSO}}ed into becoming a viewscreen.
** In "Dark Water", a spare TARDIS key is hidden in a book which looks much newer than any of the other books on the shelf with it.