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Iris Out

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"An iris in would be appropriate now, don't you think?" [iris out on Eddy] "Thank you."
Edd, Ed, Edd n Eddy, "Here's Mud in Your Ed"

A transition where the screen turns to solid black starting at the edges and pushing inwards, forcing the view of the scene into an ever-dwindling circle in the manner of a camera iris closing. The circle is centered either on the physical middle of the screen, or on some object or person of importance in order to draw attention to it. When the center of the "iris" is on a person, it sometimes pauses to allow them to get off a One-Liner or other comment. Some shows use the Iris Out instead of Fade Out for a character's POV when they pass out/faint/are knocked unconscious. Image overlays are occasionally added onto the iris to give it an effect.

The iris isn't required to be circular. If the episode ends on a romantic high note, it often takes the form of a Heart Symbol.

A common variation is for the iris to almost close, then pop back open a little either to continue the cartoon or for one last gag before the iris finally closes altogether. A common fourth-wall breaking variation on this variation is for a character to physically grab the closing iris, sometimes pushing it to prevent the scene from ending, other times stretching it open to rant or to step through into the blacked-out screen.

The effect originates from the early filming technique of shrinking the physical iris of the camera to film closing shots. At some point, this became so cliche that variations and parodies were inevitable.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • An episode of Trigun features this, with the main character, Vash in the center complaining about the little screentime in the episode.
  • Every episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! ends with a star-shaped Iris Out that pauses around Kirby, usually just to let him smile at the viewer and exclaim "Poyo!" Similarly, in the Original Japanese version, this also happens after Fumu reads the title card.
  • Most episodes of K-On! end with a Fade to Black or just a straight cut to black or credits, but a few episodes end this way.
    • In Season 1, Episode 5, the iris closes on Mio, who's just collapsed from learning that she has to fill in for Yui, who's ruined her voice for a few days from too much practice. Another iris opens on Yui, who tells us they have 3 days until the school festival...
    • In Episode 6, a heart-shaped iris closes on Mio, who's traumatized from having accidentally given the audience a Panty Shot.
    • In Episode 12, a heart-shaped iris closes on Yui, who's just declared her love of light music.
    • In Season 2, Episode 5, there's an iris for each of the five members, and a flower appears on each iris as they close.
    • In Episode 17, an iris shrinks around Yui's face. Unusually, the area that is usually black is red with yellow polka dots in a regular pattern.
  • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ episode 2 uses this when Kanade shakes Hummy's paw for the first time.
  • In Non Non Biyori, a prop used in the school festival is a black board with a hole cut out in the middle. Its use is demonstrated with Renge popping her head through the hole and saying "I've had it with these antics". It comes into use again at the end of the festival, when Natsumi has to sit in it and apologize for messing everything up. The segment ends with an Iris Out for real, with Natsumi saying "I've had it with these cultural festivals".

    Asian Animation 
  • Every episode of Canimals ends on one of these. The circle formed by the iris-out is sealed by a can lid suddenly appearing over it.
  • It's common in Happy Heroes for episodes to end on an iris out, often on a character.
  • Mechamato: The 4th episode ends with the screen lastly turning black around Amato and MechaBot, with circles around their disappointed faces due to being punished.
  • A common way to end episodes of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is with an iris out on a character, usually Wolffy.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Artist, a 2011 film but deliberately old-fashioned, uses this as well as several other tropes from the late-silent period of cinema.
  • The Star Wars films use the Iris Out along with wipes for transitions instead of the standard dissolve. This is done as an Homage to the old film serials that influenced George Lucas.
  • This is done a lot in German silent films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Often, they would even start the iris out (or in) but stop partway through, so that only one part of the screen is visible and the rest is darkened. To some extent, this was a way of directing the audience's attention to a specific area of the screen that was superseded by the more mobile camera and faster editing style that became widespread by the later 1920s.
  • Feast III ends on an improvised variation, with the surviving character of the film using his hands to imitate an iris out.
  • The City of Lost Children ends with a kid burping and the iris effect finished on the mouth.
  • The Sting ends with the two main characters walking off and the iris zooming in on them.
  • The logo of the independent Hollywood studio, Avco-Embassy Pictures Corporation (1968-1982), began with an iris-out zooming out.
  • Experimental Soviet film Man with a Movie Camera plays with this, ending with a shot of the camera lens as the iris closes.
  • Famously used in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons to stress the fact the film was taking place in the turn of the century.
  • Used to fade out a couple of scenes in The Kid (1921).
  • Chaplin's The Circus ends with this effect as the Tramp walks away from the camera.
  • The Goat starts with an Iris In and has at least two Iris Out in the middle section and at the end.
  • The Phantom Carriage (1921) opens with an Iris In effect.
  • The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe and its sequel end with this effect.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban uses this frequently throughout the film.
  • Elf ends this way.
  • The Black Stork often uses both iris in and out as scene transitions.
  • The Wild Child uses iris in and out as scene transitions, as a reference to silent films.
  • Wonderwall sometimes uses an iris out after one of Oscar's fantasies.
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Befitting of this film being the Grand Finale of the Indiana Jones series, the last scene ends with an iris out on Indy's hat hanging on a clothesline. It pauses momentarily to show the hat being taken by Indy offscreen, quickly fading to black afterwards.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Canada's Worst Handyman: The final episode of season 6 ends with one.
  • Pushing Daisies: An Iris Out is the usual Idiosyncratic Wipe used, where its old-fashioned feel complements the show's retro charm.
  • Sesame Street: Used in the end of the opening theme to the 24th to 29th season. At the end of the recent variation of the "Frazzle" song is where the iris permeates along with the rip wipe with Frazzle grumbling twice when shrinking with an ease-in animation, which then vanishes after the second growl.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: The "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" segments are usually bookended by this, with the iris appearing on the trolly as it goes from the real world to the pretend one and back. This is one of Fred Rogers' ways of helping his young audience know the difference between reality and fantasy.
  • Ugly Betty does this on occasion, with the iris focusing on Betty after she gets into certain situations.
  • In the UK, when the television signal used to cut off for the night, an iris out would close up into the centre of the screen, leaving just a little white dot which would then slowly fade.
  • Supernatural: "Scoobynatural", a crossover with Scooby-Doo, ends with an iris out like in a cartoon.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure only does this one time in "The Siren", which makes it seem really out of place. As Carly opens her laptop to show the others a video of a Canadian siren luring a canoer with song, Zac, Evie, Sirena, Ondina and Mimmi immediately shut it down with a Big "NO!" It irises out with a freeze frame of Carly’s face.
  • Tipping the Velvet (2002): In the TV version, obviously. Usually on Nan, since she's the narrator. Each episode closes on the scene by doing this, in the last one with a heart shape after Nan finds true love with Flo.

    Music Videos 

    Video Games 
  • Also used to transition between scenes in many video games; for example, Super Mario 64 and Paper Mario 64 did this using outlines of characters' heads rather than the traditional circle.
    • When you entered a level in the original NES Super Mario Bros. 3, the transition was a box that always went into the center of the screen. The remakes used a circle that was always centered on Mario.
    • Super Mario World did this with a circle at the end of every stage, except those finished using a keyhole. Keyhole exits did an inversion of this trope using the keyhole itself as the iris.
    • In Super Mario RPG, this happens each time you spend a night at an inn, stopping to let Mario strike his trademark pose before finishing.
    • Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and the New Super Mario Bros. games do this with the outline of Bowser's face whenever Mario loses a life. The New Super Mario Bros games also have generic circle irises for pipe and door entries and Idiosyncratic Wipes for secret pipes hidden off screen. And, in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, if you enter a door in a hidden area, there's an additional iris-out for the passage.
    • If you lose your last life in Galaxy, then instead of Bowser's face, the iris out will be shaped like the words "Game Over" instead.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: "There's a Zombie on Your Lawn", the music video that plays when the player defeats Dr. Zomboss, ends with an iris out on Sunflower, who winks at the viewer.
  • All Kingdom Hearts games released after Kingdom Hearts II used iris-outs between areas in a world. The outline is always some sort of symbol related to the world currently in - a keyhole in Twilight Town, a Mickey Mouse head in Disney Castle, a lightning bolt medal in the Olympus Coliseum, a rose in Beast Castle, and a standard Iris Out in Timeless River...
  • Used for all level transitions in Donkey Kong 64, with the iris in the shape of the initials "DK".
  • Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie used these as screen transitions. If you got a Game Over or decided to quit playing, the iris would take the shape of a profile of Grunty's head.
  • Both Dragon's Lair games and Space Ace did this after each "miss" sequence. Space Ace even does an "Iris In" with Borf taunting the player (except when the player got a game over, although the Borf taunting bits were still done before game overs in the blu-ray version). There are even heart-shaped irises that close out in Level 4 of Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp.
  • A heart-shaped version can be found in both endings of Super Meat Boy.
  • There's a mushroom-shaped iris out whenever Marisa collects a mushroom in New Super Marisa Land.
  • In Killer Queen, whenever a win is achieved the screen first freeze-frames, then irises and zooms in on the player scoring the winning point.
  • Virgo Versus the Zodiac uses an iris out as the transition from the overworld into battle encounters.

  • Love Unlimited (2022): In the Ms. Marvel & Red Dagger arc, supervillain Curio shocks Ms. Marvel into unconsciousness and the story switches to her point of view, with oval panels shrinking as it all fades to black.

    Web Original 
  • Super Mario Bros. Z uses iris-outs that are somewhat merged with Idiosyncratic Wipes:
    • In Episode 7, after the Dancing Banana inexplicably causes an explosion in the Pipe Maze that sends Wario and Waluigi back out to the surface, they land on Jeff and Hal from Bowser's Kingdom, and a banana graphic does this trope to Super Mario World 1's "iris-out" sound effect.
    • Then, in Episode 8, Wario throws Waluigi at the Sky Pop Mark II in an attempt to steal Mario and the gang's Chaos Emeralds. Waluigi stops just short and does a Wile E. Coyote-esque fall. After he lands, we cut to a stunned-nearly-speechless Wario, and the same thing happens as in the Episode 7 scene, but with a "W" emblem.
  • In the original Jib Jab video "This Land", George W. Bush grabs the iris at the end to mention Cheney.
  • Happy Tree Friends does this at the end of almost every episode, with a few exceptions here and there. A common gag is for the iris to close on a character's body part, thus snapping it off.

    Web Video 
  • Economy Watch: In the 2022 Halloween special "Cryptic Cryptos", the iris wipe is used to transition from the opening credits to the first scene, done to pay homage to old film serials.

    Western Animation 
  • The first episode of Bounty Hamster ends with Cassie and Marion being Chased Off into the Sunset by an angry mob, followed by this trope. Marion then pops up to reassure the audience that they managed to give their pursuers the slip, only to hear one of the mob shouting: "There he is! In front of the hole that gets smaller!" and he flees in a hail of bullets.
  • Most 101 Dalmatians: The Series episodes end this way, usually with the standard circle. "Love 'em and Flea 'em" uses a heart, as do "Swine Song" and "My Fair Moochie", while some use a star, like "Shake, Rattle, and Woof" and "Lucky All-Star". On a few occasions, the iris out is parodied by characters trying to keep the iris out open while trying to say something and other stuff.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius almost always uses Iris Outs in the shape of whatever symbol Jimmy uses to identify everything he invents.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball does this in in "The Castle", when Gumball and Darwin celebrate not having to go to school, despite being only a minute into the episode and the show normally ending with a Smash to Black.
  • The Animaniacs "Please Please Please Get a Life Foundation" segment ends with an iris-out on a Fanboy's nose, but he reopens it, saying that It's Been Done before closing again.
    • Called by name in the Willie Slakmer short "Karaoke-Dokie":
      Yakko, Wakko and Dot: Iris Out already, please?
  • Batman: The Animated Series had a heart-shaped Iris out in "Harlequinade". The only example of one in the entire DC Animated Universe.
  • An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold ends with Batman standing behind Plastic Man and Woozy Winks as they laugh at the way the case ends. The iris stops and re-opens, as Plas and Woozy stop laughing, pause and resume and Batman simply walks out of the shot.
  • Beast Wars: "A Better Mousetrap" starts to iris out at the end as the Maximals sadly contemplate Rattrap's Heroic Sacrifice...then the iris reverses as Rattrap comes out of the ship, perfectly fine, and the episode continues for another minute.
  • This isn't standard for the 2003 animated The Berenstain Bears series, but it's used at the end of "The Hiccup Cure" after Papa Bear hiccups at the Squire's party but then says that he's just kidding. It's also used with Kenny in "Big Road Race" as the race ends.
  • This is the standard episode closing for Blaze and the Monster Machines, usually centered on Crusher whenever he gets the episode's last laugh. A certain number of episodes fade to black instead.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "The Chicken From Outer Space", when Courage remarks, "This shouldn't happen to a dog!" It has since become a well-known gag on the series.
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck where the characters get involved in a movie production, everyone starts to argue about how to end the movie. The Diva wants it to end on her face, and another suggests a ride into the sunset, and and Launchpad starts to describe the iris out as the perfect way to end it. Guess which one they chose.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy does this at the end of "Here's Mud in Your Ed", when Edd says while Breaking the Fourth Wall, "An iris in [on Eddy] would be appropriate." After that happens and the screen is completely black, he says, "Thank you!"
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, The 30-second animated stingers usually end this way.
  • All episodes of Fudêncio e Seus Amigos end with this. Since one of the main characters has a round head and most episodes end with him being arrested and complaining to the audience about it, this often happens around his head.
  • Garfield and Friends: At the end of "The Horror Hostess (Part 1)", Garfield worries about the trouble Jon is in and realizes it's the end of the episode. He fruitlessly tries to keep the iris from closing, muttering, "I hope this is a two-parter."
  • At the end of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Hog Wild", Billy gets caught in the iris, which horrifically contorts his face until he slips through it so it can close.
  • Used frequently (but not all the time) on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • The same goes for almost all episodes of Johnny Test.
  • On the animated version of Little Princess, this is the standard ending for all episodes, generally holding to show what it's focused in on for about two seconds before going to black entirely and going to the credits. "I Want to be a Detective" from the third season is an exception to the rule. It instead ends with a flash photo capture of the final scene, showing Princess, Puss and Scruff all leaping for a biscuit (cookie).
  • On Llama Llama, this is actually not the standard method of closing the show, but is nevertheless used at the end of "Lucky Pajamas," zooming on Mama Llama's face.
  • The best-known examples of this can be seen in various Warner Bros. cartoons. which were already subverting the trope in the 1930s. One famous example is in many of Bob Clampett's cartoons, in which he created a "Beeo-woop!" sound effect to accompany the iris out at the end.
    • "The Wearing of the Grin" ends with an iris out shaped like a shamrock.
    • In "All This and Rabbit Stew", the camera begins to iris-out on the Stepin Fetchit parody after being reduced to wearing nothing but a leaf over his crotch thanks to Bugs beating him in a game of craps. Bugs then jumps into the iris right before it closes and jumps out holding the leaf.
    • In Duck Amuck, Daffy Duck pushes the closing iris aside, since in his mind, the cartoon hasn't started yet.
  • Usually used for Lou and Lou: Safety Patrol, with the iris being shaped like the badge of the Safety Patrol.
  • Lupo the Butcher: Subverted when Lupo's severed head squeezes its way through the iris and continues to scream obscenities and insults during the credits.
  • Making Fiends: At the end of the TurboNick promo "No. 2 Pencil", Marvin calls out on Charlotte by saying that she's got his pencil, to which an iris centers around Charlotte's now-stunned face... who simply says "Teehee!" followed by the iris closing completely.
  • Fairly common in The Mask, including the "one last joke before closing" (one time, it was fading with the baby putting on the mask, and then the circle returned to show the masked baby grumbling again). One time the Mask tried to weaponize it to finish the fight\episode sooner, but his enemy caught on and pulled the closing circle out.
  • Max and Ruby plays it straight to end each episode.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: One that's shaped like Mickey's head closes on Mickey after he bids farewell to the viewers at the end of every episode.
  • One Mighty Mouse episode with Pearl Pureheart and Oil Can Harry apparently ends on a cliffhanger and an iris out. The narrator calls out "WAIT!", causing the iris out to suddenly stop on a frozen image of Mighty Mouse in flight. The narrator pleads, "Gosh, we can't wait till next week. Please show us what happens now, won't you?" The iris opens back up and the show resumes as normal.
  • Almost every Mixels ends with one of these. A couple of shorts leave it out, and two of the half-hour specials have them at the end of their first acts but not at the very end.
  • Frequently used on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
  • Frederator and Billionfold toons on Nickelodeon have some trademark ones:
  • Almost all of the episodes of Paper Port end this way.
  • The Phineas and Ferb episodes "The Fast and the Phineas" and "Crack That Whip" end with this.
  • The Ready Jet Go! episode "Sean Has a Cold" ends with this.
  • Recess will use this as an ending on some occasions in place of a Fade Out.
  • Rocko's Modern Life uses these at the end of most episodes.
  • Rolie Polie Olie ends every scene with this. The iris is sometimes shaped like a square, in reference to Billy and his family.
  • Rosie's Rules: "Cat Mail" ends with a heart iris.
  • This is also sometimes used on Sergeant Stripes.
  • Most episodes of Shelldon end with this, followed by a Doctor Shell segment recapping the events of the episode or teaching about real-life sea creatures. This segment ends with a regular brief fade to black before the credits.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The only three episodes before season 9 that used to end with an iris out were "Wishing You Well", "Rodeo Daze" and "Trenchbillies". Now since season 9B started, this effect is now prominently used, and since season 11, it's become the general closing along with an accompanying sound effect.
  • Steven Universe uses a star-shaped Iris Out, although episodes with particularly shocking, serious or sad endings use a Smash to Black instead.
    • Several episodes play with this trope, such as "Giant Woman" (the episode focusing on the Fusion Dance between Amethyst and Pearl): the iris out starts to close in but suddenly goes back when Steven finds out he can fuse as well. Cue Smash to Black.
    • Gradually, the star iris out became less common, even for endings where it would be tonally appropriate, to the point where the final season used it only for a quarter of the episodes, none of which were in the season's latter half.
    • Steven Universe: Future only even used it once for a Fake-Out Fade-Out.
  • Superjail!: Done in the very first episode after the Warden's plan works out and he gets to eat the remains of a prison riot. He comments that his "plan tastes great! I mean, it could use a little salt, but otherwise it tastes great!" As the iris closes in, it stops for a moment just long enough for him to wink at the audience.
    • Done again in the season 3 episode "Sticky Discharge", where the Warden's plan to keep Paul in Superjail works, prompting the Warden to say "Isn't it great?" Cue iris out, stopping yet again for the Warden to wink at the audience.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "The Bird! The Bird!" uses a strange variation. After the final line is delivered, the iris appears already partially zoomed in, and both the iris and image it frames shrink into nothingness shortly afterwards.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera enjoys this a lot:
    • "A Fistful of Nickels" ends with White Pantera and Puma Loco arguing over whether Manny will grow up to be a hero or a villain. The iris closes on Pantera shouting "Hero!" but it opens back up again on Puma Loco shouting "Villain!" before it closes for good.
    • In "Oso Solo Mio", the iris-out begins with a heart shape as El Oso begins walking away with his love, birds singing around them. But then the iris opens back up as the she-bear he loves runs away from him and we realize the show still has a couple of minutes left.
  • Tom and Jerry (pictured above): Almost all of the shorts end with this, save for select shorts where it instead fades to black.
  • Total Drama: In the exclusive clip for "Zeek and Ye Shall Find", Ezekiel digs his way into the Fun Zone and befriends the mutants with a luxurious cake. After all he's been put through since World Tour, Zeke now has a place where he's at peace. In the clips final seconds, the screen goes black except for a heart-shaped cut-out around Zeke's broadly smiling face. After a pause, the heart shrinks to leave a full black screen.
  • This is the standard ending for Wild Animal Baby Explorers, usually zooming in a character's face before going to the credits.
  • This is the usual closing for My Friends Tigger & Pooh, though Tigger will sometimes play around with it. Also, in "How to Say I Love Roo," the iris is in the shape of a heart, closing in on Kanga and Roo hugging.
  • A Walter Lantz short from the Woody Woodpecker family ended with the shrinking iris decapitating the character, but it was Played for Laughs.
  • Work It Out Wombats!:
    • "Game Changer" ends with an iris out on Malik and his muddy umbrella.
    • "Helper For the Day" closes with an iris out on Zeke's face.


Video Example(s):


Soft... Soothing... HOT Music!

After throwing Tom and his friends out of the house, Mammy Two Shoes laments that her evening of playing bridge has been ruined, and decides to cool off by listening to music. Jerry thinks he's finally able to get some sleep as a result, but unfortunately for him, her music is just as loud as the one Tom and his friends were playing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / IrisOut

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