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 to Black for a character's POV when they pass out/faint/are knocked unconscious.
The iris isn't necessarily circular. If the episode ends on a romantic high note, it often takes the form of a heart.
A common fourth-wall breaking variation is characters physically grabbing the closing iris, sometimes pushing it to prevent the scene from ending, other times stretching it open to step through into the blacked out screen.
A common variation is for the iris to almost close, then pop back open a little to either continue the cartoon or for one last gag before the iris finally closes altogether. In some cases, a character will snatch the borders of the iris and hold it open to escape or rant.
Anime and 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!"
- 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 To some extent, this was a way of directing the audience's attention to a specific area of the screen that was superseded by the more mobile camera and faster editing style that became widespread by the later 1920s.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.
- Also used to transition between scenes in many videogames; for example, Super Mario 64 and Paper Mario 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.
- Kingdom Hearts II was another example, and the outline was of some sort of symbol related to the world currently in - a keyhole in Traverse Town, a Mickey Mouse head in Disney Castle, a lightning bolt in the Olympus Coliseum, a rose in Beast Castle...
- Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and both 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 offscreen. 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.
- 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 we're still done before game overs in the blu-ray version).
- 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.
- 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 JibJab video "This Land", George W. Bush grabs the iris at the end to mention Cheney.
- At the end of one Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode, Edd, Breaking the Fourth Wall, says, "An iris in [on Eddy] would be appropriate." After that happens and the screen is completely black, he says, "Thank you!"
- A Walter Lantz short from the Woody Woodpecker family ended with the shrinking iris decapitating the character. But it was Played for Laughs.
- Batman the Animated Series had a heart-shaped Iris out in Harlequinade. The only example of one in the entire Diniverse toons.
- During an episode of Darkwing Duck in which the characters got involved in a movie production, everyone started to argue about how to end the movie - The Diva wanted it to end on her face, another suggest a ride into the sunset - and Launchpad started to describe the Iris out as the perfect way to end it. Guess how they ended the episode?
- An episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold ended with Batman standing behind Plastic Man and Woozy Winks as they laughed at the way the case ended. The iris stopped and re-opened. Plas and Woozy stopped laughing, paused, and resumed. Batman simply walked out of the shot.
- El Tigre the Adventures of Manny Rivera enjoys this trope a lot
- In "A Fistful of Nickels" the cartoon 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 shaped Iris Out as El Oso begins walking away with his love, birds singing around them. The iris opens back up as the she-bear he loves runs away from him and we realize the cartoon still has a couple minutes left.
- The best-known examples of Iris Out can be seen in various Warner Brothers 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 vocal "Beeo-woop!" sound effect to accompany the iris out at the end.
- The Frederator and Billionfold toons from Nickelodeon have some trademark ones.
- Danny Phantom uses the Iris Out with some variations. In one of the early cartoons, the final shot was Danny, Sam and Tucker laughing, and there were three Iris Out shots used, one for each character.
- Fairly Oddparents has also used the Iris Out with one for Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda laughing as the circle closed.
- A really Idiosyncratic Wipes example in Fanboy and Chum Chum—instead of a closing iris, it was blackness in the shape of human teeth snapping shut with the image growing smaller between the jaws of black.
- Jimmy Neutron's Iris Outs are almost always in the shape of the logo he uses to identify everything he invents.
- Used frequently on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Used in the pilot episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog "The Chicken From Outer Space", when Courage remarks "This shouldn't happen to a dog!", and has since been a well known gag on the series.
- The Animaniacs Please Please Please Get A Life Foundation segment ends with an Iris Out on a Fan Boy's nose only for him to reopen it saying that It's Been Done before closing again.
- Used at the end of the Season 2 Premiere of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic as a Shout-Out to A New Hope.
- Recess would use this as an ending on a few occasions, when it wasn't a Fade Out.
- Most 101 Dalmatians: The Series episodes would end this way, usually with the standard circle. "Love `em and Flea `em" used a heart, as did "Swine Song" and "My Fair Moochie", while some used a star, like "Shake, Rattle, and Woof" and "Lucky All-Star". On a few occasions, the iris out was parodied by characters trying to keep the iris out open while trying to say something and other stuff.
- At the end of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode "Hog Wild", Billy gets caught in the iris, horrifically contorting his face until he slips through the iris so it can close.