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Colour Coded Time Stop
If you had to bet, in which image has time stopped moving?

"Time stopped. Coates faded, in a world made up of shades of gray."

It's hard for authors to make it clear that time has stopped moving or merely slowed down from the character's point of view, and that's because...well, because it doesn't happen in Real Life, time being, in fact, famous for waiting for no man.

This brings forth a problem: how will the viewers know time has stopped? Well, we could just have everything freeze in place, but it would work only in areas where there are a lot of actions (or at least a single movement we can see clearly) to be interrupted at once.

Sometimes, however, the plot demands time to freeze during a scene with no cops shooting bullets to stop in mid-air or falling debris that refuses to fall or clumsy waitresses who drop glasses of water and are comically frozen in an awkward pose trying to catch it. Movies can avoid this easily; they may just refrain filming a timestopped sequence without these visual aids, or perhaps zoom the camera in a bug that froze above the hero's head. Videogames that offer timestop as an ability have no such luxury; a player could try and stop time anywhere from a crowded street to a small empty room, and, as such, a new visual representation is needed. Such a visual representation is also useful in media such as manga and comic books, where the pictures are never moving; it would be rather clunky to include text to the effect of "yep, time's still stopped" in every panel until it starts up again, after all.

One common solution for that is to simply colour the area affected by the timestop with a filter, and thus we have a convenient Colour-Coded Timestop.

These usually come in two flavors: either the timestopped area changes from colourful to a grayscale or sepia-toned zone, or it may have all of its colours turned negative. These are not the only kind of Colour-Coded Timestop, but are certainly the ones that get used the most. Almost invariably, the character(s) who caused time to stop will be exempted from the colour shift, so if you see anybody still in normal colours that means they can still move.

Please note that this trope applies to any Color Coded Bullet Time as well

Examples:

Grayscale Timestop
  • Chrono Trigger: The titular object, when activated.
  • Time Shift: Also added a white haze (stop time), red shift (reverse time), and blue shift (slow time).
  • Devil May Cry 4: Using the devices to slow down time results in a grayscale effect and goes further by making it seem like you're watching an old-timey movie.
  • Dante's Devil Trigger in DmC: Devil May Cry. When he use it, all of environment becomes black and white, and Dante's coat glowing bloody red aura.
  • Night Watch: Vimes sees the world as grey during a brief timestopped sequence.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Slowing down time makes everything fade into greyscale, and the music matches it by changing into a tinny, flat-sounding version of the normal BGM.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass used the grayscale version.
    • Its predecessor also rendered Hyrule Castle in grayscale while it was frozen in time.
  • Baldur's Gate II: The Time Stop spell renders everything affected by it gray.
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers has areas of stopped time portrayed in grayscale.
  • Time Hollow: (I-I've stopped time...)
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
  • Focus Mode in Jade Empire is more Bullet Time than a full timestop, but it does colour the screen greyish as everything slows.
  • In Fable III, whenever time stops for the Prince or Princess to go acquire new skills.
  • Ghost Trick: Whenever Sissel fails to save someone and their time is up, time stops in a greyscale frame seconds later.
  • The Touhou Fighting Games, with Sakuya Izayoi.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, the Heaven's Time hissatsu technique turns nearly everything gray for the duration of its Bullet Time effect. Exceptions are the user, who simply gets a Motion Blur, and the slowed-down opponents, who merely look dimmer.
  • The Time Stop spell in the various Tales Series games, such as Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Vesperia, make the affected enemies turn grey.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, this happens when Sichte Meister uses her Time Stop ability.
  • Primarily used for the Chrono Samurai's power in Gotcha Force. The projectiles were affected by the Negative Color version, however, to signal that the Chrono Samurai could still be hurt by colliding with them.
  • Justice League episode Only A Dream part 2; the Flash's nightmare where he sped up too much, so that, to him, the world was frozen. Once he understands what is happening, the world changes to grayscale.
  • In the second half of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, we see the inside of Homura's Time Stops, which are grey-colored. Homura herself is also greyscale when compared to the vivid colors of the other Magical Girls, which foreshadows the truth of her own time loop; for Homura, time is always standing still.
  • In Alundra, the Big Bad throws the entire Very Definitely Final Dungeon in a gray and misty time stop as a last-ditch effort to stop the hero.
  • Asmik-kun Land (a Platform Game for the Famicom) has a clock item that stops enemies for a limited time while the screen turns black-and-white.
  • Played with in Final Fantasy IX: When Stop is cast on a character (if it hits) it's not the character or the screen that goes greyscale, but rather their ATB gauge (which also stops moving). Likely done so that the player can tell at a glance who is affected.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Whenever Serah's seer powers or Caius' tampering causes time to go into flux and/or stop altogether, everything but unaffected parties are completely desaturated.

Negative Colour Timestop

Other Colors
  • During Thief of Time, the title-inspiring apprentice Lobsang learns to slow time around him to an almost-standstill, with the sky and air becoming a deeper blue as he slices seconds even finer. It even becomes a deep purple when he slices so finely that time starts to approach a full stop.
    • Although this was not, strictly speaking, a direct result of Lobsang's slicing. He was just moving so fast that he blueshifted.
  • In Blinx the Time Sweeper, each Time Control tints the world a different colour: purple REW, orange FF, blue PAUSE, green REC, and yellow SLOW. RETRY has no colour, but Blinx 2's Retry is orange.
  • In Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils, the time powers are colour-coded blue for stopped, pink for rewinding, yellow for slowed and so on.
  • Singularity pulses in Singularity wash over everything in blue-white. Then, time either stops, goes backwards, or goes crazy.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote's time-freeze causes the world to turn blue-gray.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, whenever the Time Card was used, all the things affected by it get covered in yellow.
  • In the John D. MacDonald story The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything, the titular watch seems to stop time, but actually speeds the user up to the point where it seems that time has stopped. One of the side effects is that (to the user) everything appears red, due to some sort of effect on photon speeds.
    • Spider Robinson's Callahan's-universe novel Lady Slings the Booze features a very similar watch (with explicit reference to MacDonald's story) with the same effect.
  • In Teen Titans,Raven inadvertently froze time to stop the resurrected-Slade, who with pyrokenesis, became too much for the Titans. The surroundings turned completely blue. save for Raven (who wears a lot of blue anyway), and unfortunately, Slade.
  • Guldo's time stopping powers in Dragon Ball Z turn the area purple until he has to breathe again.
  • A Fuzetsu/Seal from Shakugan no Shana colors the enclosed area in completely red, while turning any ordinary humans inside greyscale.
  • Max Payne 2 uses a slight sepia filter for Bullet Time.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters, time stopping is signified by a blue haze.
  • Witch Time in Bayonetta throws a purple/blue tint over everything, with a translucent clock covering the screen to show how much time you have left.
  • The True Final Boss from Asura's Wrath uses a blue color with his timestop attack.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim plays with it. On the one hand, the Slow Time Shout does have a clear colour-effect (the screen is tinted blue while it is affecting you). On the other hand, the colour-code doesn't mark Bullet Time effects — it signifies that you are under the effect of one of your Shouts. The other ways to trigger Bullet Time variants doesn't have the blue tint, while the Become Ethereal Shout does.
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the warm lighting of the ceremony room turns to cold/blue when Dr. Horrible turns on the freeze ray. Of course, this wasn't a full time stop, but only affected Captain Hammer.
  • In God of War 2, the Amulet of the Fates lets you briefly slow time to a crawl, covering everything in a hazy green hue and muting all sounds, save for a constant, ghostly breeze.
  • Whenever time gets screwy in a Ratchet & Clank game, it's usually accompanied by a light bluish glow with some odd floating particles.
  • Ghost Trick again: while in the Ghost World, time stops entirely. The world is overlaid in red for Sissel, and later green for Missile and blue for Yomiel.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle has a yellow tint for Dio's time freeze and a monochrome coloration for Jotaro's.
  • In Kingdom Hearts Coded, everything turns green when Jafar stops time.
  • In the Astropolis series, by Sean Williams, the subjective passage of time can be altered by most individuals through a process called overclocking. When a character is overclocking to move at an accelerated rate, the spectrum of light becomes red-shifted for that person (and blue-shifted if they choose to slow down their subjective perception of time too).
Color Coded StonesAmazing Technicolor IndexColor-Coded Wizardry
Color-Coded StonesColour-Coded for Your ConvenienceColor-Coded Wizardry

alternative title(s): Color Coded Time Stop
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