Optimal control simulation is applied to the cis-trans photoisomerization of retinal in rhodopsin within a two-dimensional, two-electronic-state model with a conical intersection [S. Hahn and G. Stock, J. Phys. Chem. B 104, 1146 (2000)]. For this case study, we investigate coherent control mechanisms, in which laser pulses work cooperatively with a conical intersection that acts as a "wave-packet cannon." Optimally designed pulses largely consist of shaping subpulses that prepare a wave packet, which is localized along a reaction coordinate and has little energy in the coupling mode, through multiple electronic transitions. This shaping process is shown to be essential for achieving a high target yield although the envelopes of the calculated pulses depend on the local topography of the potential-energy surfaces around the conical intersection and the choice of target. The control mechanisms are analyzed by considering the motion of reduced wave packets in a nuclear configuration space as well as by snapshots of probability current-density maps.