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"You are now entering a world inside the essence of your imagination. Look within your dreams. They can take you beyond the mind’s eye."
Opening narration from Beyond the Mind's Eye, some of the few words spoken throughout the series

From 1990 to 1996, Odyssey Visual Design and Miramar Productions released a Direct to Video series of movies on VHS, LaserDisc, and, later, DVDnote  with the intention of showcasing the talents of both computer graphics programs and the number of animators and animation studios current to the time, all set to electronic music. Hundreds of animators submitted animations to the project, and their work was put together in segments attempting to follow an overarching theme. The series was comprised of:

  • The Mind’s Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey (Miramar Images, Inc., 1990): Music produced by James Reynolds
  • Beyond the Mind’s Eye (Odyssey Visual Design, 1992): Music produced by Jan Hammer (composer for Miami Vice)
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  • The Gate to the Mind’s Eye (Odyssey Visual Design, 1994): Music produced by Thomas Dolby
  • Odyssey Into the Mind’s Eye (Odyssey Productions, 1996): Music produced by Kerry Livgren (founder and guitarist of the musical group Kansas)

The latter three also feature visual effects generated for films and television networks: Beyond has the virtual reality segments from The Lawnmower Man, animation from an old Hawaiian Punch commercial, and the old opening segment for Saturday Night Live; The Gate included then-current commercial advertisements for the Syfy Channel (the network's ‘90s logo can be seen on the sides of the spacecraft in “Armageddon”); and Odyssey has the computer reality segments from Johnny Mnemonic, an animated segment from Ecco: The Tides of Time, a theatrical animation once used for TNT, and a visual ad for Fuji Television.


Segments from the first two Mind's Eye videos were used alongside clips from Imaginaria (another Miramar-produced CGI compilation video) on Canadian cable channel YTV's 1994-1996 "Short Circuitz" interstitials, primarily as filler back when the station was only required to run 8 minutes of commercials an hour. Independent superstation NTV (Newfoundland Television) adapted these videos into five "Computer Animated Art Festivals" in the 2000s alongside new post-production effects and pop music soundtracks, giving even more of a Mind Screw effect than before.

The entire series can be viewed on YouTube in this playlist, which also features comparisons between modified versions of the films.

Please note that the series does not fall within the bounds of Western Animation since it features submissions from all over the world.

Tropes that appear in the film series include:

  • Action Prologue: The Gate is the only film in the series to have one. In it, an extremely large demonic being watches a futuristic war in one city, one Flying Car chases another in another city, and Alloy makes efforts to prevent the apocalypse.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
  • Alien Sky: "Armageddon" in The Gate features one. Over one of the various worlds we see, one of them is in very close proximity to a Saturn-like gas giant which sports two sets of crossed rings.
  • All There in the Manual: The plot of The Gate. The packaging describes it as a sort of adventure following the end of the world. A robot from the future named Alloy travels back in time in order to save the future from destruction, and it does this by restarting the universe. If you hadn’t read the back of the box, this would probably have been lost on you due to the videos’ general lack of consistency.
  • All There in the Script: Many character names are present in the credits.
    • In The Mind's Eye segment "Love Found", the bird is named Stanley and the fish is named Stella. That's because when Symbolics Graphics Division first released it, it was called Stanley and Stella in: Breaking the Ice.
    • In the Beyond segment "Too Far'', the "robot" on the TV is named Krypto
    • In The Gate, the video's packaging says the "main character"'s name is Alloy.
  • Ambiguous Robot: Due to the series's abstract nature and focus on CGI from the 1990s, many things are ambiguous robots.
    • The Mind's Eye segment "Love Found" has fish that are ambiguous Mechanical Lifeforms. They have metallic textures on the gold parts, which could easily just be jewelry. Their textures aren't as shiny as the birds, and their bodies can bend just like a fish. They have lips, but they never open, unlike the birds' beaks. The birds have more angular features and visible joints on the wings, putting them squarely in the camp of Mechanical Lifeforms.
    • The TV Head Robots in Odyssey are these as well, as they appear to have shiny human bodies.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: these appear frequently in the series.
  • In The Mind's Eye segment "Heart of the Machine", clusters of gears turn and morph themselves, and later a "character" made of four sticks and four circles explores a plateau with several moving structures.
  • Beyond
    • In the segment "Seeds of life", trees are able to move as if they had muscles or motors.
    • The segment "Brave New World" starts and ends with flying square tiles.
    • "Windows" features objects in an artist's room floating in the air and leaving the room.
  • The Gate
    • "Nuvogue" shows couches, tables, a floor, and walls assembling themselves into a living room.
    • "Quantum Mechanic" shows several guitar necks (with headblocks) sticking out of a pool of lava.
  • Odyssey segment "Out of Step" features hammers all banging on a steel bar in unison. They appear again just before the credits.
  • Shared between installments:
    • Pens and other drawing utensils float and draw on their own in The Mind's Eye and The Gate.
    • Various structures build themselves in The Mind's Eye, The Gate and Odyssey
  • Artistic License – Geology: Also in "Creation", Earth is shown to have its current continental arrangement in a pre-humanity world. Tectonic shifts mean the continents would have looked different in the times of the Cambrian Explosion and dinosaurs.
  • Artistic License – Space: In The Mind's Eye segment "Creation", the camera flies through a field of stars. The constellation Orion is shown to have all stars exist on the same plane. In reality, every star is a different distance from Earth, like most if not all constellations. Also, it is shown in the correct orientation while the camera is facing towards Earth, not away. Finally, constellations move very slowly, so they would have looked different in the pre-humanity world "Creation" shows.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The default Aspect Ratio for all four films is 4:3, but occasionally the latter two will Letterbox footage to widescreen.
    • The Mind's Eye: Completely averted.
    • Beyond: Downplayed. Some segments, like the flying tiles in "Brave New World" and the blue nighttime shots in "Windows", with slightly taller and wider aspect ratios, respectively. TVs of the era had overscan, which would make this less noticeable.
    • The Gate: Parts of "The Ascent of Man" and "Moon Base" are letterboxed to widescreen.
    • Odyssey: Much of "Unstoppable" and one shot in "Out of Step" are letterboxed.
  • Astronomic Zoom:
    • The original The Mind's Eye starts and ends with one of these.
    • At the end of the Beyond segment "Afternoon Adventure", one of these has the camera back up from a tree, soon revealed to be in an artificial biome on the moon. The camera proceeds to leave the moon.
    • The beginning of The Gate segment "N.E.O." zooms into a sun in this fashion. Later, it shows atoms forming and turning into Planet Earth.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: All four films feature nude humanoid figures, and not one of them has genitalia or even nipples.
  • Big "NO!": Happens at the end of "Armageddon" in The Gate, and is echoed in "Big Bang Backwards"
  • The Blank: Shows up quite a bit throughout the series. They are notably featured in The Mind's Eye segment "Technodance" as the submission "Aloi" (which uses just a ring with three triangular "hairs" for a head). Anything constructed of blocks is quite likely to lack facial features. The humanoid figures are about a one-in-four chance of lacking a face, too.
  • Book Ends:
    • The Mind's Eye opens with an Astronomic Zoom towards Earth, starting with the Big Bang, and ends with an inversion of the trope.
    • The Beyond segment "Brave New World" starts and ends with flying square tiles (with a slightly narrower aspect ratio)
    • The Gate starts with an eye opening, where the video then zooms into the iris to show the title, and ends by zooming out of the eye just before it closes. Weirdly, the eye zooms out twice, book-ending the credits.
      • The segment "Valley of the Mind's Eye" starts and ends with the same shot of a window and a table.
  • Bowdlerization: Happened to the RadioShack version of Beyond in a few places. A comparison can be found here.
    • In the first segment "Virtual Reality", two humanoid figures are shown kissing each other before twisting into a wormhole. This is replaced with abstract imagery.
    • In a baffling move, the trio of female singers in "Too Far" are cut out.
    • Even more baffling is that entire segment "Nothing But Love" is cut out.
    • Happens twice in "Voyage Home".
      • The segment "Lorelei" prominently features a mermaid with a very small Seashell Bra. Her segment is replaced with images of space and alien planets.
      • The segment "Prebirth" features the only exception to Barbie Doll Anatomy in the entire series. It is replaced with more abstract imagery and an Astronomic Zoom away from a black hole.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of The Gate segment "Nuvogue", a Faceless Eye turns off the viewer's TV.
  • Brick Joke: The mallet from Odyssey's "Out of Step" shows up again before the credits.
  • Camera Abuse:
    • Beyond has a clip near the end where miniature pterosaurs bump into a camera wandering through a dark world. The first two bounce off the lens, cracking it. The third shatters it and is subsequently cooked to the lens by an electric discharge.
    • The Gate segment "Armageddon" shows the camera rear-ending a Flying Car. This causes brief static as opposed to a cracked lens.
    • Odyssey features a segment shown from the perspective of a rover wandering through a prehistoric era. In the space of a few minutes, the rover is nearly stomped on, forced off of a cliff, caught by a pterosaur, nearly dropped into a volcano, and implied to have finally been destroyed by another pterosaur attacking it.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: spaceships with low passenger capacities are shown in all four films.
    • The Mind's Eye has these in "Leaving the Bonds of Earth"
    • Beyond has two of these at the end of "Transformers"
    • The Gate has these in "Big Bang Backwards" and "Moon Base"
    • Odyssey: The block from "Unstoppable" is capable of leaving Earth and entering Space. Spaceships also appear at various points
  • Circling Birdies: In relation to the pterosaurs in Beyond mentioned above. Although nothing is seen, a subtle chatter blended with the resting music can be heard after the third pterosaur whacks the camera. Its composition invokes the idea that the pterosaur had a brief vision of birdies before it gets fried.
  • Constellations as Locations: In The Mind's Eye segment "Creation", the camera flies through Orion's belt. Orion is shown to have all stars exist on the same plane.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Happens twice in The Gate.
    • "Big Bang Backwards" shows a personal spaceship flying awfully close to a sun.
    • "Quantum Mechanic" shows many guitar necks (with headblocks) are sticking out of a pool of lava.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Richard Strange's character in "Unstoppable" in Odyssey. His lab requires the flying block to go through numerous obstacles, roadblocks and traps in order to escape.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Gate, in comparison to the rest of the series, features a lot more dark visuals, action, war, and an image of some massive, demonic lifeform looming over a planet. The “River of Souls” is especially jarring with its endless plain of human faces.
  • Determinator: Both Richard Strange’s character and the block from the “Unstoppable” sequence in Odyssey. Strange uses a large variety of traps and machines trying to keep the block from escaping. The block, on the other hand, is so determined to get away from him that it just smashes straight through everything.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Happens a few times.
    • In the RadioShack version of Beyond segment "Afternoon Adventure", we see a first person view of very fast driving. This is the same driving we see in the Imaginaria segment "On The Road"
    • A particular set of scenes from The Gate sequence "Armageddon" follow a small shuttle-like vehicle attempting to navigate the city. Key word attempting. Unlike most of the other vehicles around it, it has an incredible swerve caused by its voluminous rear end, veers wildly across its own direction of travel, bounces against buildings and tunnels, and, after ignoring various signs indicating a closed tunnel, has an implicitly fatal head-on with a massive wall of metal. One scene also features the vehicle breaking suddenly for a large sign reading "止まれ" (Japanese for "stop") and being rear-ended by the camera.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: “Volatile Planet” in Odyssey shows a planet slowly heading in this direction while a spacecraft is trying to escape.
  • Entertainment Above Their Age: In the The Gate to The Mind's Eye segment "Nuvogue", a young Faceless Eye watches an in-universe gangster show called Private Eye.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: In The Gate segment "Quantum Mechanic" submission "Walking Figure in Sight", there is a 3D Zoetrope that makes use of a 15hz strobe light to make figures on a spinning disc seem to move.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Happens twice in The Gate:
    • "Armageddon" has Latin lyrics sung in the first half. The CD features a translation of this, which is pretty much the horrors associated with Armageddon.
    • "Valley of The Mind's Eye" is a love song that begins with with French lines. They are Spoken Word in Music.
      Ma chère Josephine
      Que le monde a changé depuis ma derniere lettre
      Ainsi ce soir je prends ma plume
      Non pas pour me merveiller
      Sur l'epoque ou nous vivons
      Mais pour declarer l'amour
      Qui est dans mon coeur translation 
  • Eye Open: The Gate begins with a close-up on an eye, and the camera promptly zooms into the pupil. the film ends with this shot in reverse. Twice. Once before the credits and once after.
  • Eye Recall: Played with and used as an Idiosyncratic Wipe.
    • The Mind's Eye segment "Creation" has the camera go into a fish's eye, but there is no scene where it comes out.
    • The Book Ends of The Gate suggest the entire film is an example of this. Not as a flashback, but as imagination. Weirdly, it zooms out of the eye twice, book-ending the credits.
  • Faceless Eye: “Too Far” in Beyond and “Nuvogue” in The Gate feature eyeballs living and behaving completely independent from a body. They are mostly found watching TV and come in different sizes ranging from adult eyes to teenage eyes moving out for the first time to dog eyes (which are still somehow able to enjoy a bone). While the whole idea of the “mind’s eye” is the video series’ main theme, these segments are more-or-less there to just be weird.
  • False Camera Effects: a Rack Focus happens in the RadioShack version of Beyond segment "Midnight" when a jellyfish is attacking a school of piranhas.
  • Family-Friendly "Mature" Content: In The Gate, near the end of the segment "Nuvogue", the child eyeball is watching a gangster show named Private Eye on their TV.
  • Feather Fingers: In The Gate segment "Nuvogue" submission "Laser Broadway", there are dancing birds. Their wings appear to be as versatile as human hands. The can be seen holding LaserDiscsnote , microphones, playing guitars, even throwing hats. Justified as the birds are Mechanical Lifeforms. And they don't even attempt to fly.
  • Floating Limbs: Happens a few times
    • The Mind's Eye:
      • A "character" made of four sticks and four circles is shown at the end of Heart of the Machine
      • Later, in "Love Found", there are birds and fish with detached parts. The closer you inspect, the more you find.
    • Beyond the Mind's Eye has many stylized musicians in Too Far with several floating limbs.
    • The Gate: Alloy (the "main character") has no joints in the traditional sense. He appears to have an invisible neck, as well an invisible connection between his torso and "legs".
  • Flying Car: Particularly popular when showing a futuristic city. Odyssey gives us the classic, no-lifting-surfaces-or-engines version. The Gate, however, with its more 20 Minutes into the Future approach depicts a number of shuttle-like flying vehicles with visible thrusters and tail fins.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Three happen in The Gate segment "Armageddon"
    • In the submission "Megalopolice" (made by Sega), Sonic appears twice. One very briefly on an advertisement for beer while the camera flies somewhat beneath building height, the second as a neon sign while the camera follows a flying car down a narrow street filled with Japanese shops.
    • In the submission "Carpet Stains", While a truck is driving by in a "National Forest" full of tree stumps, a road sign is briefly visible suggesting the road leads to Carpet City and Hell. Both of which are 20 miles (kilometers?) away.
  • Funny Animal Anatomy:
    • In The RadioShack version of Beyond segment "The Pyramid" submission "Styro", there is a heavily stylized dog named Styro. His legs have only one joint beneath the hips/shoulders, suggesting they're plantigrate. Although his feet are either missing or fully integrated with the ends of his legs.
    • The Gate segment "Nuvogue" submission "Laser Broadway" features dancing birds. They can use their wings to hold LaserDiscsnote , microphones, play guitars and throw hats. They have plantigrade legs with forward-bending knees. However, their feet still have rear-facing toes like real birds, though it's two forward and two backward, while real birds have two or three forward and one backward. All this is justified since they are Mechanical Lifeforms.
  • George Lucas Altered Version:
    • The Mind's Eye: RadioShack distributed their own versions of this and Beyond. Both include extended versions of the end credits songs and replace footage in seemingly random places. Some replacement footage in The Mind's Eye is taken from Beyond and visa versa.
      • "Creation", "Heart of the Machine" and "Love Found" are the only scenes that are completely identical between both versions.
      • "The Temple", the final segement in the original, is replaced with three segments named "Q Factor", "Tingri" and "The Way I Feel". All of them named after new songs introduced. None of them are made by James Reynolds, who made all the songs in the original.
    • Beyond was treated the same way as The Mind's Eye.
      • No segment is completely identical to the original
      • The serene beginnings of "Afternoon Adventure" and "Transformers" are removed, cutting straight to the energetic parts of the songs.
      • "Afternoon Adventure" shows a hornet chasing a smaller bee, but is completely replaced with a first-person view of very fast driving, which is identical to the Imaginaria segment "On The Road". The ending segment of a colony on the moon remains unchanged.
      • Bowdlerization happens to "Virtual Reality" and "Voyage Home".
      • "Nothing But Love" is replaced with "Midnight", which uses the credits theme. It's also placed just before "Windows", while "Nothing But Love" was after that segment. "Midnight" even contains a shot of a flower in a vase that would later be used in The Gate segment "Valley of The Mind's Eye''.
      • The voice sample "We are of the butterfly" in "The Pyramid" is removed.
    • ''The Gate'' escaped this treatment, but Miramar Productions (the original creators) ended up remastering the audio to surround and added extra sound effects to it. No visual changes are present between versions.
  • Gratuitous French: heard in the first part of The Gate song "Valley of The Mind's Eye". The Gate actually had more French submissions than its predecessors.
    Ma chère Josephine
    Que le monde a changé depuis ma derniere lettre
    Ainsi ce soir je prends ma plume
    Non pas pour me merveiller
    Sur l'epoque ou nous vivons
    Mais pour declarer l'amour
    Qui est dans mon coeur translation 
  • Historical Domain Character: "Nuvogue" in The Gate uses images of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and others as characters interacting with each other. Specifically, the images used are the presidents' portraits as they have been printed on American money, and they are put on top of basically whatever body the animators felt like giving them. George Washington has never looked so buff.
  • Humongous Mecha: Some of these appear in the Beyond segment "Transformers"
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy:
    • In the RadioShack version of Beyond segment "The Pyramid" submission "Styro", there is a heavily stylized dog named Styro. His legs have only one joint beneath the hips/shoulders, suggesting they're plantigrate. Although his feet are either missing or fully integrated with the ends of his legs.
    • The Gate segment "Nuvogue" submission "Laser Broadway" features dancing birds. They have plantigrade legs with forward-bending knees. However, their feet still have rear-facing toes like real birds, though it's two forward and two backward, while real birds have two or three forward and one backward. Justified since they are Mechanical Lifeforms.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe: Occurs frequently due to the series's abstract nature.
    • The Mind's Eye (1990) segment "Creation" has the camera go into a fish's eye for no obvious reason other than this trope.
    • The Beyond The Mind's Eye segment "Windows" has several of these in a row with the camera flying into nested TVs.
    • The Gate to The Mind's Eye:
      • "Big Bang Backwards" begins with Alloy's helmet's eye hole closing around the frame to form a close-up of his helmet's "face".
      • "The Ascent Of Man" has a few of these. One transitions from a waterfall to an Antarctic landscape (featuring a penguin) with the latter shot's camera peeking out from behind a rock. Another transitions from the exterior of a Mesoamerican temple to the interior of an Egyptian temple. This is accomplished when a painted pillar wipes the screen to the left and brings another scene with it.
    • Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye segment "The Traveler" does this when the camera zooms into a screen.
  • Interspecies Romance: The Mind's Eye segment "Love Found" features a bird and a fish falling in love.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Only halfway down this page and finding descriptions that don't make sense? Guess what. It gets worse.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: Pops up throughout the series, notably in the form of The Mind’s Eye's chrome-plated dinosaurs and The Gate's steel-clad parrot singers.
  • Medium Blending: Despite the intention of showing off computer animations, some segments feature real-life filming.
    • In the RadioShack version of The Mind's Eye (specifically the segment "Civilization Rising"), there appears to be a person magically creating a carousel of animals. The way the clothes move would have been cloth simulation too advanced for the early 90s.
    • Beyond has a few instances of this.
      • “Afternoon Adventure” is mostly a walkthrough of a forest with its animated components (a small bee and a larger hornet) set up to appear as if one is chasing the other.
      • "Too Far" features some faceless eyes watching a TV, which appears to be showing a live-action soccer game. There are also stylized musicians which appear to be playing in front of monochrome clouds.
      • "Windows" shows a string of live-action images moving into an eye.
      • "Theater of Magic" has some live-action faces on the walls of what seems to be a museum. Seconds later, two projections appear on the wall and show the same live-action shot of a building getting demolished, along with smoke that persists into the next shot.note 
    • The Gate:
      • The Book Ends feature an eye opening with the camera zooming into the eye. Although it only zooms in once, it zooms out twice, book-ending the credits.
      • “Valley of the Mind’s Eye” features an actor appearing for a few seconds inside a computer-generated building at two different points.
      • "Quantum Mechanic" briefly shows a live-action mouse running inside a wheel.
    • Odyssey's “Unstoppable” features Richard Strange (who appeared as background characters from Batman (1989), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) interacting with a computer-generated security terminal.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Done in Odyssey. With a warehouse full of hammers! At the end of “Out of Step”, the music is interrupted by one hammer that has fallen out of sync with the others and instead is playing a loud Mexican-esque beat while having changed to a red mallet. The other hammers discontinue their rhythmic striking and stare at the mallet until the mallet stops and realizes that the others have taken exception to its individuality. It resumes the beat and changes back into a steel hammer to match the others. This returns at the end of Odyssey to show that the same hammer has earned this ire again. However, instead of syncing up, it begins playing its unique beat as if to show the others that it no longer gives a crap.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The hundreds of animators who submitted videos to the series didn’t really coordinate their efforts a whole lot. Even within each sequence, not a lot of effort was put into forming a coherent story (with certain exceptions, such as "Love Found" in The Mind's Eye and “Nothing But Love” in Beyond which are whole sequences submitted by a single studio).
    • The Mind's Eye has a vague narrative spanning from the Big Bang to humans acheiving Casual Interstellar Travel.
    • The Gate averted this with its overall plot of a robot restarting the world after it is destroyed, which takes the viewer from the future back to the beginning of the universe and through all of mankind’s history up into a new future.
  • The Not-Remix:
    • The Mind's Eye:
      • The credits song in the RadioShack version is nearly twice as long (10:55 instead of 6:13). Before the shorter version ends, the extended version diverges with very subtle differences. A comparison with both versions in separate stereo channels can be found here.
    • Beyond:
      • The album versions of the songs are almost all, of not all, Not-Remixes.
      • Jan Hammer made a vocal version of the track "Seeds of Life".
      • In "The Pyramid", the voice sample "we are of the butterfly" is removed for the RadioShack version. It also has a different ending in the album version.
      • The credits song was given the exact same treatment as the one from The Mind's Eye. This comparison can be found here. This time, the RadioShack version is only 30 seconds longer (9:05 to 9:35).
    • The Gate:
      • When the sound was mixed into surround, extra sound effects were added. A comparison can be found here.
  • Oh, Crap!: Surely what was going on in the mind of the flying predator insect as the camera holds on its face when its a out to crash into a hungry spider's web in "Afternoon Adventure" in Beyond.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Armageddon" in the first half, sung in the background during some of the darker and chaotic scenes. The CD features a translation of this, which is pretty much the horrors associated with Armageddon.
  • Once per Episode: In the credits of all the films, once all the people who made the music and arranged the clips are stated, text on screen says "The following names are the computer animation companies and artists whose creativity and dedication to a new art form made this program possible". Then it cites the sources where the clips come from.
  • Percussive Maintenance: One of the eyeball scenes in "Nuvogue" in The Gate. A pair of eyeballs' TV dies after they've been bouncing around on the remote, and the only way to fix it is for one eye to smack the side of the TV.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Nuvogue", wherein the singer Thomas Dolby mutters about kicking Washington's ass for stealing his cigars. This is as vulgar as the whole series gets.
  • Product Displacement: The Hawaiian Punch cans in Beyond segment "Too Far" have their labels replaced with labels reading "Too Far Juice".
  • Progressive Era Montage: Both The Mind's Eye and The Gate show eras stretching from the Big Bang to humans achieving Casual Interstellar Travel. Although The Mind's Eye has (an) extra scene(s) after the montage (the number depends on the version) and The Gate has another scene ahead of the montage.
  • Pun-Based Title: Some of the animators gave these to their submissions.
  • Radio Voice: happens a lot in The Gate. The bulk of it is with the Flying Cars' two-way radios, and happens to a lesser extent in in the segments "Big Bang Backwards" and "Moon Base".
  • Random Events Plot: All four films have these. Any narrative that stretches throughout any of these films is vague at best. Some individual segments, such as The Mind's Eye's "Love Found" and Beyond's "Nothing But Love" have cohesive self-contained plots.
  • Raster Vision: In Beyond segment "Windows" submission "Looking Into the Future", the camera flies into nested TVs. The first one produces a coarse rasternote , then fades into the full resolutionnote .
  • Recurring Element:
    • From the very beginning, the animators have enjoyed using tunnels of various sorts to shove the camera through, whether they were made out of light or looked more like a cave.
    • There are two segments that are standalone love stories. The Mind's Eye has "Love Found" while Beyond has "Nothing But Love". The Gate also has "Valley of The Mind's Eye", which is a love song.
    • Spaceships also appear in all four films.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: “Volatile Planet” in Odyssey features one which travels through an active volcano. The bizarre nature of the segment is justified; the entire segment is a visual from an actual theme park ride.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: "Nuvogue" from The Gate features one that, when a piece of paper is inserted into a slot in a box, the devices inside eventually cause a card to slide out through another slot.
  • Seashell Bra: The Beyond segment "Lorelei" in "Voyage Home" features a mermaid with one of these.
  • Shout-Out: Beyond segment “Transformers”.
  • Silence Is Golden: The series is full of this, with most of the sound being music, with sound effects occasionally peppered in. As the series goes on, this is slowly eroded. Exceptions to this trope are listed here.
    • The first film had no lyrics or words at all, the closest thing being the voice sample "Oh My" in "Technodance".
    • Beyond The Mind's Eye had slightly more words.
    • The Gate takes it up one more notch, where some songs have full sets of lyrics.
      • The first half of "Armageddon" had Latin lyrics plus two separate voices singing "Armgeddon". The second half has proper lyrics.
      • "N.E.O" has guest vocalist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi's lines as Spoken Word in Music, with the only word actually sung being when she repeats "Neo". Thomas Dolby raps "look at it this way: a river of space, a ribbon of time. Like a burial, a river of space, a ribbon of time".
      • "Valley of The Mind's Eye" starts off with Spoken Word lines in French and has lyrics sung in English.
      • "Nuvogue" and "Quantum Mechanic" have fully English lyrics with not so much as one foreign word.
    • Odyssey
      • "One Dark World" and "Aspen Moon" have lyrics
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Beyond segment "The Pyramid" submission "The Little Death" jacks up the conventional scale by introducing two characters who have their skin colored like a zebra and a cheetah. It isn’t evident whether this was meant to be their actual skin or if their fur just happened to be cut very short.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Happens in The Gate. "N.E.O" has this with Dr. Fiorella Terenzi's lines (except when repeating Neo). Also with the French lines in "Valley of The Mind's Eye".
  • Stationary Wings:
    • The Mind's Eye: Zig-zagged in "Love Found". After Stanley breaks the ice segregating the birds and fish, he slowly descends into the part that the fish inhabit. He slowly descends as if he was in water. But shortly after, we see fish and birds flying/swimming together, making it unclear if Stanley is suspended in air or water.
    • Beyond: played straight in the RadioShack version segment "Midnight" with two dragonflies. In fact, they are static models with no moving parts.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Beyond segment "Nothing but Love" has no lines until the female character speaks near the end.
    "I don't want your sculptures, I love you".
  • Surreal Music Video: All four entries consist entirely of surreal music videos, with credits at the end. Most of the submissions in each segment vaguely relate to each other, with themes like art, rise of civilization, machinery, space travel, war, etc. Others are completely psychedelic.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In a meta example, one segment of “Too Far” in Beyond features a man who is being physically assaulted by his TV with the implication that it is a character on the screen (named Krypto according to the credits) causing it.
  • Title Drop: Happens in the beginning of Beyond with its Opening Narration.
You are now entering a world inside the essence of your imagination. Look within your dreams. They can take you Beyond the Mind’s Eye.
  • TV Head Robot: Odyssey has a number of segments depicting televisions on top of a humanoid body, although it isn’t evident whether these are supposed to be robots or not. It doesn’t help that the same segments also feature other objects serving as a head, including a maze and a birdcage containing a small human!
  • Visual Compression:
    • The Gate:
      • In "Armageddon", Sega's submission "Megalopolice" is anamorphically squished.
    • Odyssey:
      • In "The Traveler", the orange-looking segments where flying vehicles are racing are anamorphically squished.
  • Visual Pun: In The Gate, the end result of Nuvogue's Rube Goldberg Device is a card saying "👁️ O U" (if your device can't read emojis, that is "Eye O U")
  • Winged Humanoid: Pops up infrequently. One segment of Odyssey, titled "Flying Start", shows a bunch of people spontaneously sprouting wings to get ahead of a bridge that won't build itself fast enough.
  • Wolf Whistle: In The Gate segment "Nuvogue", one is heard while the singer Thomas Dolby is singing about how George Washington stole his cigars. But only in the surround audio mix. The visuals show a woman in a bikini walking past a very muscular George Washington.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Occurs fairly frequently. Since this is the infancy of 3D computer animation, you can't really blame them.
    • Exaggerated in The Mind's Eye segment "Technodance" submission "Megacycles". Countless identical humanoid figures on small seatless unicycles navigate a path raised high above the ground.