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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.

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 Flash Back. Compare Match Cut. See also Pastel-Chalked Freeze-Frame.

Examples of Picture-Perfect Presentation include:


  • 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].



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 2004 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera has this at the beginning and the end of the movie—probably an example of Book Ends as well.
  • Sky High 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.
  • In Corpse Bride, the painting of Victoria dissolves into her in the middle of an Of Corset Hurts scene.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, the touristy unfolding map depicting a pristine Alaskan village gets stuck in the windshield as the Simpsons drive north, completely obstructing their view. When they remove it, the panorama is exactly the same (instead of the audience's expectations of a frozen wind-blasted wasteland).
  • 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 1600s).
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 titular 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.

Video Games

  • While it's not exactly exact, the end of the intro to the first real mission in Command and Conquer: Renegade
  • Done in reverse in The Two Towers, where film footage transitions into gameplay footage at the beginning of each stage.

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.
  • On The Simpsons, this happens when Marge looks at the painting above the family's couch in order to get inspriation 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 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! Thats 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.
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