Monday, 19 December 2011

Flip Books

Flip books or flick books are a series of illustrated images that move gradually one page to the next, so when the pages are turned rapidly the pictures appear to be animated by simulating motion. Flip books are essentially a primitive form of animation, they rely on persistence of vision to create an illusion of continous motion, rather than a series of discontinuous images. The book must also be flipped with enough speed for the illusion to work, so the standard way to "read" a flip book is to hold the book with one hand and flip through its pages with the thumb of the other hand. The German word for flip book—Daumenkino, literally "thumb cinema"—reflects this process.

This flipbook by PRS works well as the motion of the image is very simple of a character just walking, but the flip book itself has a nice finish. It looks like, it may well of been a published book of a series of different characters. 

With this flipbook you can see its thicker in width and the sequence lasts for longer as the characters moves in a dance. 

This flip book is really impressive, created by it's difficult enough to draw geometrical and precise. But what this person has done is cut out parts of the shape which gives it a 3D effect as the shape rolls in movement. Literally mind blowing but very cleverly made. 

These flip books made by Paper Bag Records have been made into a music video which must of taken a pain stackingly long time. I like the roughness and use of different papers and efemra then being clamped down with a bulldog clip. 

We Are Will has taken a good contemporary approach with a flip book using photographs instead and stop motion with film. This looks like a long and difficult process, to even get the composition and perspective right. It works very well and for a simple idea of a flip book has taken it a whole new level. 

Bird in a Cage

Thaumatropes are optical illusions, a disk or card with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image due to persistence of vision.

Most Thaumatropes have a poem or a rhyme on the side of the card and will bestow a victorian tale. In a way these are narrative withi poetry and visually tells a story. A typical example is a bird that becomes enclosed in a cage. I made my own version which you can see here and also made a gif in the previous post.

In order for this to work, which i found out the long way is that both images on either side have to oppose each other. Otherwise if you twirl the string the bird looks like it's in a upside down cage which doesn't really work. 

With this it isn't really animation but i guess it does look at the fundamentals of how motion image came about. Thaumatropes are nice victorian items as story telling to children whilst using one of these would deliver a better imagination to a narrative.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Zoetropes / Phenakistoscope

I've been looking into real basic methods of creating animations and to try experiment with them...

zoetrope is a device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greekwords "ζωή – zoe", "life" and τρόπος – tropos, "turn". It may be taken to mean "wheel of life".
It consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. Beneath the slits on the inner surface of the cylinder is a band which has either individual frames from a video/film or images from a set of sequenced drawings or photographs. As the cylinder spins the user looks through the slits at the pictures on the opposite side of the cylinder's interior. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together so that the user sees a rapid succession of images producing the illusion of motion, the equivalent of a motion picture. Cylindrical zoetropes have the property of causing the images to appear thinner than their actual sizes when viewed in motion through the slits.

This is a video, quite a old one and excuse the man demonstrating how to make a Zoetrope as his voice is a bit muffled. But i liked the distressed footage in this tutorial so still used this. This is a very traditional way to create a moving image, yet other creators have developed a more elaborate Zoetropes.

This is a really lovely video from Pixar explaining Zoetropes and their animations.

With this Zoetrope it's really intriguing how they have created a massive one with various images. I'm not sure if its just for aesthetics and doesn't properly work, or it generally does. But the juxtaposition of victorian circus theme with contemporary fashion very much works. 

Temperley London Circus Zoetrope from LEGS MEDIA on Vimeo.

I saw this Victorian Phenakistoscope when i visited the V&A Childhood museum the other week and luckily managed to find this video. I remember seeing Victorian Zoetropes when i was younger and thats how i always pictured them to be like. 

Different ways to animate.

I'm looking at various ways to animate so i have a broad understanding of what opportunites and techniques i could use that would be most effective. I think what makes me really interested in animation is the final outcome is far more satisfying that just an illustrated image trying to tell a story, where instead you can literally bring it to life in moving image.
The first idea of animation is linked to sequenced images that depict or tell a story following each step by step. Giving a more detailed version of a story than a simple series of images.

"An Egyptian burial chamber mural, approximately 4000 years old, showing wrestlers in action. Even though this may appear similar to a series of animation drawings, there was no way of viewing the images in motion. It does, however, indicate the artist's intention of depicting motion." Wikipedia

This is a very detail description of a story of two wrestlers, as your eyes follow the drawings at a face past you could see it moving in a right pace for it to move. This is 4000 years old, this is before people could imagine the use of electricy or even comprehending a television. This is animation in it's earliest steps.

"A 5,000 year old earthen bowl found in Iran in Shahr-i Sokhta has five images of a goat painted along the sides. This has been claimed to be an example of early animation.[1] However, since no equipment existed to show the images in motion, such a series of images cannot be called animation in a true sense of the word." -Wikipedia

Like most vases back in this time period that told stories especially greek vases, this one from Iran shows more of motion that story.