My 3 Favorite Tricks from Opticks
By Harapan Ong - Tuesday, May 10, 2022
If you're reading this, you probably have already heard of, or even bought, your copy of “Opticks”, my most recent release with Vanishing Inc. “Opticks” is the video sequel to Principia. It features 26 of my best card magic effects, including a mix of brand new stuff and the "greatest hits" from my previous books like Principia, Stylo, and “The Four Treasures”.
Since the latter category already consists of my favorite items from those books, it would therefore make sense that in this blog post I focus on—and highlight—three of my favorite items from the "brand-new, unpublished tricks" category of “Opticks.” As a special bonus, you'll even get to see a full performance of each.
1. Progressive Flush
As many of you know, I love a good packet trick. Packet tricks are packed with visual moments, skipping all the usual "select-a-card-and-lose-a-card" procedures that bog down most card magic tricks and getting straight to the magic.
In Progressive Flush, four Kings change one by one into four Aces. Suddenly, a fifth card appears between the Aces, which is shown to be the Ten of Spades. The stunning finale then has the cards transforming into a Royal Flush in Spades - and you end with exactly five cards!
Why do I like it? The counts and displays flow smoothly from one to another (very economical), the ending is super surprising (high level of unexpectedness) and the presentation of it justifies the appearance of the Ten and the Royal Flush as well. Plus you end relatively clean with no extra cards to hide (feels very "inevitable").
If you've read Principia, you'll know that I often use these three criteria to judge a good trick, and I think Progressive Flush is one of those tricks with high commercial appeal that you will perform over and over again.
2. Forgetful Collectors
I'm really happy with this effect. Two cards are selected by the audience members. The first selection is lost back in the deck, and the four Kings are used to magically locate the selected card by having it appear in the middle of the Kings. The magician then attempts to change the first selection into the second selection, when the audience points out that the second selection hasn't even been lost back in the deck - they are still holding onto it! The magician, looking slighly embarassed, suddenly has a good idea to resolve this conundrum. The first selection is placed back within the Kings, and with a wave of the hands, suddenly three cards appear interlaced between the Kings - they are shown to be the three mates to the second selection!
At the heart of it, it's a combination of a classic Collectors routine with an asymmetrical / imbalanced transposition plot, wrapped in the presentation of a "magician-in-trouble" plot. All these elements coming together create a really fun routine to perform where the spectators genuinely think you've made a mistake, before the problem is resolved in a highly magical and surprising manner.
The ending with the single card changing into three different cards always catches audiences off-guard, and it serves as a satisfying ending to the entire routine. Forgetful Collectors is a great opportunity for you to flex those performance muscles as it requires you to act well in order to make the overall plot convincing.
3. Filter Triumph / Percolacetion
As part of the release of “Opticks”, Vanishing Inc. allowed you to learn “Filter Triumph” for free! This effect is a rethinking of how the plunger principle can be used in a Triumph effect. Many of you downloaded the free tutorial and I've received feedback from magicians telling me it's one of the best Triumph effects they have ever learnt.
An extension of Filter Triumph is Percolacetion, which has the deck shuffled face-up and face-down, before the four Aces are "filtered" out of the messed up deck one by one, before showing all the cards having righted themselves after the filtering. Both Filter Triumph and Percolacetion are really easy to do and have very economical handlings with a stunning finale, which is sure to appeal to many magicians out there.
However, what I think is nice about these two Triumph effects is that unlike other Triumphs, there is a unique and distinct "magic moment" at the point where the cards unshuffle themselves, which makes these routines stand out and become much more memorable. In standard Triumphs, the focus is always placed on how clever and convincing the false shuffles are - but when it comes to the cards unmixing, it's always just done with a "snap of the fingers" or "a wave of the hands". Filter Triumph and Percolacetion just gives the standard Triumph an extra layer of "flavor" which makes the plot more charming and imaginative.
To conclude, I just want to say something pretty cliché amongst creators, which is that, in reality, it is near impossible for us to choose our favorite effects from our creations. Every trick we create is our baby, and each baby has their own backstory, their own growing pains, and their charming points.
In “Opticks”, when you look through all the tricks, I hope that you will find that, in my newer creations, there has been a slight shift in how I present and structure each effect (hopefully for the better!), and that is simply because I think I have matured over time as a creator. I still see myself ultimately as a student of magic, and as I learn about more theories and concepts from the masters of our art (both past and present), I will tend to incorporate what I have learned into my magic to make it more robust, be it in effect, method, or presentation.
“Opticks”, I can safely say, truly contains a collection of my best material to date in an easy-to-learn video format. Along with the gaff pack and the limited edition cards, I think it's real value-for-money for the amount of material you're getting, which is something I always try to aim for in what I release for the community.
If you have or are intending to get “Opticks”, I must thank you for your continued support for my work. I hope you will agree that the three tricks I've selected in this blog post are excellent routines, but do let me know what your favorite routines from Opticks are as well. Till then, I hope you enjoy “Opticks”, my new labor of love with Vanishing Inc.
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