Chop Cup: Where’s the Ball?

Where is the ball?
Where is the ball?

Got another great vid from a friend of mine yesterday. Even though you may think: “What is a magic trick doing on an optical illusions dedicated website”, you’ll quickly change your mind after the clip has ended.

But wait! There is more to it then you probably noticed at first. Be sure to replay the video couple of times, and each time concentrate on another background figure. Are the wooden mannequin, Rubik’s Cube, radio and whole bunch of other items lined as you originally presumed?

Even though magic tricks and optical illusions have whole lot in common, you’ll certainly agree that Chop Cups video has much more to do with illusions, than magicians and tricks. This has to be one of my favorite clips of all times. Btw, it gives me a great pleasure observing the “Top 10 Optical Illusions” chart in our sidebar. It’s like watching a live-growing organism, providing me with real-time feedback of what kind of material my audience really appreciates. Apart from ratings, comments and “top 10 illusions”, I’m thinking of engaging you guys even further. More stuff coming soon!

97 Replies to “Chop Cup: Where’s the Ball?”

  1. Hey Vurdlak,

    Just a suggestion, since you brought up the top 10 feature: Make it so we can vote without having to go to the comments. I might want to vote on an illusion, but I may not want to leave a comment.

    For example, I took a few weeks to start at the oldest post and work my way backwards through your collection. I would have rated each along the way, but leaving comments would have taken too long.

    Just my $.02.



  2. @MTSzabo – you’re wrong. You don’t have to comment in order to leave a rating! It’s just that rating posts is possible from within a post, not from main/category/archives page. This is because sometimes article isn’t seen in full on the main page (“read more”), thus wouldn’t do justice to the article, who which be rated from main page, while user hasn’t even seen whole article.

  3. Very cool and unexpected. If you follow the cup with the ball, you can tell that the ball is in the middle cup. Then the middle cup and ball is removed, and replaced with a sticker for the cup and the ball. When the two clips are pasted together, it looks like a single shot. The trick is in making the sticker look exactly like the cup, with color hue and lighting, which they pulled off very well.

  4. @Rudy
    yeah I came to that conclusion as well. You can tell that the shadows of the hands fall behind the cup at first (thus it being 3D and on flat on the table). After the hands cut away before they lifts the cups you can notice the shadow appearing on the cup.

  5. Cool! There’s a “making of” video at Just click on the word “vimeo” next to the progress bar during the video. You are then taken to the vimeo site and the “making of” video is a option on the right side. They even answer some questions about the production in the comment section.

  6. Rudy, you’re wrong. The middle cup is always a piece of card or paper. There is not shadow at any time under that cup. Watch it again!

  7. not so great trick cause I always seam to find the ball, but the Illusion it self was great.
    I expected them to move things around, not to have all the peaces broken but put in a way that they seamed whole.

  8. This is an impresive illusion.
    on replay i caught a moment of the footage that helped my eyes see the truth. play it back and pause at 00:36 when the thumb from the left hand passes infront of the middle cup, if you freeze it at that moment your eyes can see the centre cup not right.

  9. well, could we get it in a form of a link as well because for some reason it won’t load, and i’d like to see it :D

    thank you

  10. Heh, watched it for a second time and realized the dude is wearing a top hat for no apparent reason. Oh wait, hats are cool! Yep, that’s it. :)

  11. @Vurdlak

    Ok, I get that. All I’m saying is that it would be better to be able to vote without having to “drill down” into the post. Check out the family of sites to see what I mean.


  12. Whoa. Whoa. Back up. Whoa. *watches it a few more times*

    As hard to believe as it is, there is NO CUTTING OF CLIPS in this film. If you look VERY carefully you can see that the middle cup is paper the whole time. That’s why his hand covers it in a strange way when he puts the ball under it.

    Ingenious. Wow. Was NOT expecting that.

  13. OMG! tht was AWESOME!!!
    how did they do tht??
    and the stuff at the end which weren’t even connected was unexpected

  14. I just noticed something.From the start of the video if you look at the left at that model with the red lips you can see a line seperating the legs from the body.Then at the end you can see that the legs are actually seperated from the body at the line.Everything else though is unoticable until the end.

  15. 3rd consecutive comment :).OMG.A MICHAEL JACKSON BAD POSTER.I LOVE HIM AND HIS MUSIC.HE’S AMAZING.AND I LOVE MICHAEL JACKSON BAD!Though what does Michael Jackson have to do with optical illusions?And that poster isn’t even an optical illusion.So why did they put it up there?BECAUSE MICHAEL IS THE KING OF POP!

  16. I noticed lots of people thought tapes switched… but if you notice at the begining, the middle cup doesn’t have a shadow. that’s cuz its a cardboard or skicker or something, maybe even made out of an STD, but good god, that freaked me out. And you know how part of the 3×3 rubik’s cube is on a metal pole? I looked as hard as I could and I couldn’t see it…

  17. Huh… the middle cup doesn’t seem to cast a shadow in the beginning, casts a shadow when he’s shuffling cups, and again doesn’t cast a shadow at the end. Weird.

  18. @Salad : I’m sorry I don’t agree because the letters REALITY proves clipping has been used in this video, there are only present at the end of the video. Thus I believe this is a real cup when putting the ball under and while shuffling, however there has to be a clipping to make it a sticker.
    The point is not to find the ball, because it’s so easy ! Clever !

    1. Agree! But the question remains. Was the midle cup an anamorphic drawing from the begining? I start to believe so. The finger’s shadow over it just before the ‘revelation’, seems to be edited – it’s too dark! Gosh, what a video! (5*)

    2. I correct myself, in the ‘making of’ video (there’s a link at end) we can see undoubtedly 3 real cups. Question is: when in the video it becomes flat?

  19. i followed the ball and got it right at the end i dont know how its an illusion but if the illusion part was how the room was all weird then i fell for it!

  20. that was cool. i thought he did the french drop or whatever but i saw it again and he put it in his other hand. they paused the video and put a pull off cup and ball on the table then he ripped it off

  21. Of course there is an edit, the cups start out as 3-dimensional cups, and at some point one of them becomes a 2-dimensional cut-out.

    The edit happens sometime between 0:27 and 0:42.

  22. @bruges you are right about the shadow thing but it is still edited he is clearly switching three 3d cups in the middle
    i really fell for this XD

  23. the cup starts with no shadow, then while the guy is moving the cup there are three shadows. when he stops, there a then two shadows. defentlly some editing but still really cool

  24. Once the man finishes moving the cups there’s a pause in between when he finishes moving the cups and when it asks you where’s the ball. the middle cup has been transformed to a sticker instead of 3-d. The ball is turned into a sticker than a 3-d sphere. That’s how the ball got flat when he pulled of the sticker cup, but that’s a cool trick as well! the room is also a illusion as well! Sorry for long text. :)

  25. Do NoT aDjUsT yOuR mInD, tHeRe Is A fAuLt In ReAlItY.
    I did when the camera moved, and that was kind of weird with the cut being ripped apart.

    1. Oh yeah, can someone tell me how it ends, ’cause I’m too scared to actually watch the last few seconds of video… :(

    2. Dont worry its not a screamer (I hate them too) even tho it seems like it whould be basically the camera changes and the main illusion about it is that the furniture in the room is actually on diffrent places and flat its a cool illusion

  26. Definitely one of the coolest illusions ever!!! That middle cup has to be real at the start because I can’t see how they’d make the paper look like it was a cup lifted. But somehow it has an almost non-existent reflection on the table so I can’t figure out when it becomes fake! But I did see where they froze and the switched hands with the ball, but it was really subtle. The only thing I can say: Mindfreak! haha

  27. If you look closely at it while he is rearranging the cups, there is a shadow under the second cup, so it WAS edited

  28. HAHA no editing he switches the ball for a paper ball cut out and he seem to lift the cup but he is just lifting the bottom of the paper

  29. I got it at some point the real cup is removed and replaced with a sticker (it has no shadow like the other two) and the ball is just painted(or is a sticker too). then he rips it off .
    Preety clever i gotta say :)

  30. theres a sticker of a ball and plain background on a cup and on that sticker another sticker that looks like a cup and when it zooms away he took the cup and ball away

  31. It is a sticker cup on #2 and he peeled the cup sticker off and the Red ball was also a sticker BUT I DONT UNDERSTAND IT ;(

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