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!

  • Facebook User

    LOVE IT !!!! great music too !

  • Mads

    wow that just totally tripped me out.
    Awesome illusion.

  • whoami

    Awesome! Was totally not expecting that! :)

  • egdirbr

    Alright, that was pretty freakin’ cool. It was more of a CG effect than an optical illusion, but still very well done.

  • Genie

    How..? What..? HUH!!? This blew my mind!

  • MTSzabo

    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.



  • Vurdlak

    @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.

  • Rudy

    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.

  • awesome!

  • @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.

  • very nice indeed

  • Justin

    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.

  • Albert

    Hmmm. the middle cup is the only cup that doesn’t reflect on the table…

  • Rodrigo

    Awesome! Great blog man! Just loved it!

  • Bob Awsome

    That blew my mind! IT’s freaking amazing!

  • Detective Kitty

    Omg… I can’t even figure out when they switched the cup and the tape.

  • Fred Schlonz

    Looking at the small photo I noticed the middle cup doesn’t have a shadow or reflection.

    Great illusion !

  • tortebelly

    OK WOW, this is the first time I have been so blown away as to leave a comment, WOW!

  • CAM


  • Facebook User

    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!

  • WOAH

    JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

  • i think my mind exploded…..

    (checking for gray matter on the floor)

  • darkwarrior

    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.

  • Leon

    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.

  • Monxy

    When it says, where’s the ball, you can see that shadow of the middle is wanishing

  • Θάνος

    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

  • Facebook User

    WOW amazing!

  • ME

    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. :)

  • MTSzabo


    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.


  • Salad

    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.

  • Adeon

    Goosebumps! Damned, that was strange. Just awesome and weird. I have to show this to someone.

  • nobody

    dude that things insaneeee

  • wala

    holy shit dats awshum :D

  • wala

    dats awshum :D

  • Dancing Cows in tutus

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

  • Joseph

    Wow! I didn’t expect that! 5 stars.

  • Joseph

    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.

  • Joseph

    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!

  • 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…

  • Dan

    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.

  • Rachel

    I wonder how long it takes to set up something like that. Pretty cool :)

  • Lithuainia

    yeah nice trick but i got the ball P.S. sorry if i did mistakes in the words :D

  • mustve took hours to set all that up

  • Elliot

    very cool

  • Kei

    This is SO DAMN interesting!
    It uses mostly strange effects.
    But i believe there’s some editing going on.

  • ” T “


  • uno uno

    great great ..and

  • Bernie

    I really want to see this video, but I can’t find the link! >.<;

  • David

    @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 !

  • Emma

    Very cool!

  • head in the shed

    Obviously theres editing going on, but its still bloody clever!

    • Suor de Sapo

      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*)

    • Suor de Sapo

      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?

  • lisa

    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!

  • bob

    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

  • lauren

    that is realy awsome i rekon it is got alot of pauses in it

  • deeyah22

    If the room was the illusion..It was a great illusion!

  • Bruges

    there is no editing. if you look closely at the start, there is no shadow off the middle cup.

  • Lola


  • kaaaaaaaaan

    whoa! its awesome best illusion i ever watched i watched it 6-7 times

  • wtw

    Is this edited or not?It seems he tilts the cup at the start to put the ball under it.

  • wow…

  • Mark3000

    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.

  • Hi

    Haha!!! I think that’s fuuuuuuuuuuunnnny!!!!!!!!

  • Hi

    @Bruges omg you’re right!!!

  • sarah

    @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

  • Banjo8

    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

  • mj

    mj bad at left corner

  • Sonic

    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. :)

  • km0

    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.

    • km0

      i meant, *cup* being ripped apart…

  • jack

    WICKED COOL!!! :0

  • momey

    micheal jacksons on the illusion wow i adore u in everything mj <3

  • obama’s butt wipe

    this illusion is kewl

  • Anonomous

    When the room switches to freaky-ness, I almost threw up…, sorry if it’s gross, but it’s true.

    • Anonomous

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

    • Bubbadoo

      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

  • MeEgAn GaLaNtE

    That wAs Awesome!

  • abbydoesntgiveafuck

    befoe i finish watching this video i say…its under the middle again

  • Slammer

    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

  • O.o

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

  • O.o

    Also, they can digitally remove the shadow under the cup.

  • mary

    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

    • mind

      even the ball was not a ball from the beginning
      it was a paper shaped as a ball

  • [Insert name here]

    ON EARTH!!!!

  • cool

    notice how in the beginning the ball doesn’t have a shadow

  • Shubham Koirala

    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 :)

  • mig

    COOL, THROUGH 00:43 to 00:47 SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! since 00:48

  • Christopher

    I think my brain just melted with that illusion

  • Gwen

    I like how the Michael Jackson poster doesnt change… >_>

  • Dijonay

    This one was beyond cool ! ! ! !

    I wish I knew how he did that.

  • Ryan


  • moomoocow

    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

  • KatieBoo360

    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 ;(

  • Ben

    Two simple words: video editing
    But it’s cool though

  • 0r1gam1mast3r

    that was WAY cool!

  • Tonya Howard

    I followed it right!!

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