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Picture-Perfect Presentation

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Even in the 1600s, image optimization grows strong.

A Scene Transition trope. A character (or the audience) is looking at a pictorial rendering of a location or scene. The camera lingers on the image, and then the scene transition happens—the photo dissolves into a view of the spot identical in arrangement to the photo, painting or drawing from the previous scene.

As an Ending Trope, the transition is reversed. We see the image frozen and then the scene transitions, leaving the picture.

This gimmick was particularly common in mid-twentieth-century Hollywood, usually as a stylish way of going smoothly from an Artistic Title sequence to the actual movie, but it still pops up pretty frequently. Common parodies, tweaks and variations to the trope result in the real location looking much worse than the image, or being dilapidated from neglect.

Sister Trope to Idiosyncratic Wipes, and can be combined with Flashback. Compare Age Cut, Match Cut, Medium Blending, and This Is What the Building Will Look Like. See also Real Footage Re-creation and Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame. Not to be confused with Portal Picture.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens in Negima!? (the second series) when the group goes camping/training and attempts to set up their tent.
    Konoka: Doesn't this look different from the picture?
    Asuna: Is doesn't matter as long as the tent stands up to the wind and rain.
    (cut to a light breeze knocking it over)
  • At one point in Tekkonkinkreet an aerial shot of Treasure City dissolves into a map of said location at the yakuza's office.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Corpse Bride, the painting of Victoria dissolves into her in the middle of an Of Corset Hurts scene.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, Homer is driving the family to Alaska, using a blatantly tourist-pandering map as a guide. As they're going over the final ridge, the map suddenly unfolds and takes up the whole windshield, offering a beautiful view of Alaska. They peel the map off, and... it's actually true to life, subverting the viewer's expectations.
  • The Disney Animated Canon loves this trope.
    • Beauty and the Beast has the ball celebrating the breaking of the curse. The scene transitions to a stained glass window rendering (no cameras — it was the 1700s).
    • Enchanted features the happy Giselle, Robert and Morgan freezing into illustrations on a pop-up book.
    • The Princess and the Frog has several, going from grayscale newspaper photos to shots of the action.
    • Pocahontas transitions from a woodcut of London Harbor at the time to London Harbor in gloriously rendered colour, zooming in on the Virginia Company ship as it prepares for departure. It ends with a shot of Pocahontas on the cliff, watching John Smith's ship heading back to England, transitioning back into a woodcut.
  • The animated movie Turtles Forever features this during its ending, as we see a shot of the Mirage turtles dissolve into the real-world splash page the shot was based on, taken from the first issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book.
  • At the end of The Peanuts Movie, the final shot of Charlie Brown being carried triumphantly by his friends fades into a 2D illustration with Charles Schulz' signature being added to it.
  • Shrek and Fiona riding off in their Onion Coach turns into a drawing with "... And they lived ugly ever after" as the last page of the fairy tale story.
  • A Christmas Carol (2009) takes the shot of Scrooge and Tiny Tim and turns it into a colored ink drawing on the last page of the book.
  • In Turning Red, a drawing of Ming dissolves into a shot of her on the phone in a similar pose.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Examples where an Artistic Title fades into the live-action equivalent were surprisingly common in the mid-20th-century:
    • The Adventures Of Bullwhip Griffin: A 19th-century-style engraving of a stately house becomes the house.
    • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972): A pencil sketch of a river becomes the river.
    • The Charge of the Light Brigade: A nice variation. The titles feature animated versions of Victorian engravings, the final one of which turns into live action while moving.
    • Cleopatra: An ancient-looking fresco of a battlefield becomes the battlefield.
    • Grease: An animated-cartoon background of Rydell High School becomes the school.
    • The Great Race: A magic-lantern slide of a balloon launch becomes the balloon launch.
    • The Happiest Millionaire: A painting of a Philadelphia street, in 1910s magazine art style, becomes the street.
    • Man of La Mancha: A small detail in the stylized portrait of Don Quixote turns into a piece of festival paraphernalia.
    • Oliver!: A pencil sketch of a workhouse becomes the workhouse.
    • Scrooge (1970): A painting of a London street, vaguely in the Ronald Searle style of the other titles, becomes the street.
  • Citizen Kane: A photo showing a Board of Directors becomes the actual Board posing for that photo.
  • Creepshow and Creepshow 2 both have this. At the beginning of each segment, the first panel of a comic book story changed to a live-action shot. At the end of each segment the reverse occurred.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: The very last shot in the film, Senex running, becomes an animated fresco version of Senex running, leading us into the Creative Closing Credits by Richard Williams.
  • In the Laurence Olivier adaptation of Henry V, the filmed-play opening scenes give way to the more cinematic rest of the movie when a painted background transitions to an actual background.
  • An early example can be seen in the 1933 movie Heroes for Sale where a scene transitions from a newspaper photograph to the real location at a laundromat.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: The Paramount logo turns into a prairie dog mound, which is then run over by a car.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, a black & white headshot of some girl that the three remaining candidates have to seduce transitions into a color live-action scene with said girl. Watch it here.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King uses the reverse version, where the camera pulls away from the city of Minas Tirith and the picture slowly fades into a drawing of the city on a map. The camera then pans across the map to represent the characters' return journey.
  • Lumière Films: According to Georges Méliès, this trope is as old as film screenings themselves. He reported that when he went to his first Lumière screening, it began with a still image like a projected slide, and he was just complaining to his neighbor that this was nothing new—when suddenly, to everyone's amazement, the image came to life.
  • Used twice in The Martian.
    • Early on, Teddy Sander's speech to the public about Watney's death transitions from a TV screen into the press room.
    • Towards the end, an aerial photograph of Mars's surface on a monitor in NASA's control room dissolves into a bird's eye view on site.
  • The 2004 movie version of The Phantom Ofthe Opera has this at the beginning and the end of the movie — probably an example of Book Ends as well.
  • 1776: The movie's final shot melts slowly into a version on canvas, recalling the various paintings of the moment as seen in history books. The inscribed Declaration itself also gradually burns through.
  • Sky High (2005) has this in the opening credits. Will's narration explains his life, and is shown in comic book pages. The panel focuses on the Stronghold house, then dissolves into the live-action image of the house. The ending changes a live shot of Will and friends to a comic panel of them.
  • The Director's Cut of The Warriors features several instances of freeze frames which turn into comic book panels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Came up from time to time on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when Fred looked into the "magic picture".
  • The Granada Sherlock Holmes series went both ways with this, especially in its first season. Scenes were shot to match the original Paget illustrations and sometimes a shot would fade into the end credits, which usually featured a series of further Paget illustrations. This site has an extensive side-by-side comparison of in-story shots and the original illustrations.
  • The Cape has comic panels turning into live action in the opening credits of the opening episode.
  • The opening of Grace and Favour or Are You Being Served, Again.
  • The Murdoch Mysteries episode "Dead End Street" features a dissolve from a painstakingly detailed diorama of the title street to Murdoch and Crabtree walking up the real one.
  • At the end of every episode of Blackadder the Third the final scene turned into a woodcut, heading the "Regency playbill" style credits.
  • The Prisoner episode "The Girl Who Was Death" is an atypical loopy cliffhanger story — when it breaks for commercials it transitions into illustrations similar to the action, but in an Edwardian style and setting... it turns out these are illustrations in a storybook Number Six is reading to children.
  • iZombie begins each scene with a comic book page that turns into live-action, usually accompanied by a Pun-Based Title.
  • Blake's 7. In "Star One", President Servalan is studying the personnel files of a secret Federation base. After a female technician called Lurena is projected on the screen, we cut to Lurena at the base, standing in the same position. Unfortunately she's the same age, despite having been on the base for years.
  • CSI: NY: In "The Ripple Effect," orange zip ties are a vital clue. At one point, Sheldon shows Mac a picture on his phone that Flack had sent him of a large piece of artwork made from the ties. The camera zooms very close in on the picture, then immediately out again, revealing Flack standing beside the actual sculpture telling Mac all about how one of his subordinates found it.

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    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • In "Perfect Day for Fun" (a short released before My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks), there is a zoom on a poster announcing the Rainbooms performing, which transition to the band actually on stage. Inverted with the ending shot, with the group picture zooming out to show it is on the screen of Twilight's phone while the girls are on the ferris wheel.

    Western Animation 
  • Kick Buttowski is considering where to get eggs if not from the store. He looks up and sees a billboard with a picture of a farm. The scene transitions, and the farm is picture perfect to its rendering on the billboard as Kick arrives.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This happens in "Diatribe Of A Mad Housewife", when Marge looks at the painting above the family's couch in order to get inspiriation for a book to write.
      Marge: That's it! A novel about whaling! That's something you haven't seen before. Thank you, (squints to read title of painting) "Scene from Moby-Dick."
    • Also subverted in "Mom And Pop Art", when Homer tries to construct a grill. Lacking the manual, he tries to build it without it, and seems to get off to a bad start. The scene cuts to the completed grill.
      Homer: Ahhh. Yeah! That's one fine-looking BBQ Pit.
      (camera zooms out to reveal the completed grill is actually the picture on the box it came in; the real grill is a pile of junk in cement)
      Homer: Why doesn't mine look like that!?
  • Codename: Kids Next Door, "Operation: N.A.U.G.H.T.Y." is another tale told as a comic book, and the final shot is of the treehouse, turning into a comic book panel.
  • Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: The animated episode "Kids is Kids" opens, as usual, with an introduction by Walt Disney. As he ends his intro by showing a portrait of Professor Ludwig Von Drake, the scene transitions with a fade to the Professor in the same pose as his portrait.


Video Example(s):


Scene Transition

The scene transition from the internet cafe to the Sangnok highschool happens seamlessly from a photograph on the high school's webpage to live-action footage of Dae-su and Mi-do arriving at the place.

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Example of:

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