Jiri Zemanek, Easter Egg Zoetropes (2016)

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Jiri Zemanek from Czech Technical University made some pretty stellar zoetropic Easter egg designs.

Images and more info here and here.

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Jiri Zemanek, Easter Egg Zoetropes (2016)

Stella Artois Zoetrope

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This zoetrope was designed for Stella Artois’ Buy a Lady a Drink campaign (promoting global access to clean drinking water) by production firm 1stavemachine, ad agency Mother, and visual fx company CherryCherryVFX. Each frame is painted onto the surface of an iconic Stella Artois chalice, giving the animation an interesting kind of depth and transparency as the device spins.

Stella Artois – The Chalice from Tim Brown on Vimeo.

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Images from and more info here.
Additional coverage and link to behind the scenes video here.

Stella Artois Zoetrope

Elliot Schultz, Embroidered Zoetrope (2015)


This is a very nice set of turntable-spun, strobe-animated zoetropes made not with 3D printing (as is today’s custom), but with embroidery! I love the look of these, and the smooth videos and gifs really show the animator’s efforts/interests in making their zoetropes “web ready” (as opposed to focusing exclusively on the live presentation and simply documenting the installation with videos featuring ill-timed strobe effects. Another thing I love about these is the way that embroidery as a medium produces another alternate image(shown on the underside of the disc, seen in the last two pictures). The animation created by the loose thread ends is much less smooth, more unbridled and chaotic, and is pretty awesome in its own right.
Project website here.
Artist website (with fuller documentation) here.


Elliot Schultz, Embroidered Zoetrope (2015)

Nervous System, “Growing Objects” Zoetropes (2014)



These gorgeous zoetropes were made by Nervous System for a 2014 exhibit called “Growing Objects” at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stonybrook, NY.

The show considers four natural growth patterns/ processes, and Nervous System made these zoetropes to represent (though not simulate) these patterns in action. A much more comprehensive description/explanation can be found here. These really are stunning. The references to patterns that recur in nature remind me of John Edmark’s pieces that made the rounds earlier this year.

Photos from Nervous System’s website.

Nervous System, “Growing Objects” Zoetropes (2014)

Kelly Egan, Ponytrope (2014)


My brother forwarded me this Make story about Kelly Egan’s Muybridge-inspired zoetrope that animates a series of 12 horses with an LED strobe. Egan used Muybridge’s own photographs as references for modeling the horses (which he did on Blender). He generously documented his process on his website and also shared all the models on Thingiverse. I’m always so delighted by instances when old and new media collide like this, and it’s even neaterr that Egan so explicitly engages with Muybridge in both his subject matter and documentation.

Kelly Egan, Ponytrope (2014)

John Edmark’s Fibonacci-sequence zoetropes


These beautiful 3D printed zoetropes have been all over for the past few weeks. The videos are really remarkable because unlike so many strobe-shuttered zoetropes that appear as shuddering, spinning half-visible forms due to improper synching of the camera’s shutter, these gems are perfectly in sync, resulting in smooth, seamless motion. Unlike other zoetrope sculptures that have very clear image sequences (a series of objects in slightly different poses or attitudes), these appear as single objects that you wouldn’t necessarily think could be animated so smoothly. They rely upon the “golden angle” (137.5º) spinning at 550 rpm, captured at 24 fps with a shutter speed of 1/4000 a second to achieve the attractive effect. Edmark (a design professor at Stanford) has also made an instructables page for those who want to build their own, and has put the  the forms are available on Shapeways print-on-demand, as well. More on the web here and here. These definitely up the game for how this kind of work is produced and captured for viewing on the web.

John Edmark’s Fibonacci-sequence zoetropes

Forza Motorsport 5: FilmSpeed

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In a forthcoming article, I write about the importance of superlatives in the design and appeal of contemporary adaptations of the zoetrope. In particular, I consider the size and scale of recent zoetropic sculptures and installations, including Sony’s BRAVIA-Drome, which is on record as the world’s largest zoetrope. Since finishing the article, a new promotional video for the video game Forza Motorsport 5 has come out, which extends this idea by featuring a zoetropic installation that is arguably one of the fastest in the world.

The individual frames, on aluminum panels, were spaced along a racetrack and designed to achieve fluid motion only if captured at a speed of around 100 mph (the car being driven was the McLaren 12C). According to a behind-the-scenes feature, the car’s speed had to remain both consistent and precise to achieve a steady frame rate, and the added weight and bulk of the camera mounted on the car required some compensation in terms of steering and handling turns. More on the piece here, and here’s a nice behind-the-scenes video:
http://video.wired.com/watch/exclusive-behind-the-scenes-of-the-new-forza-motorsport-5-trailer
FilmSpeed is another great example of how an old technique/technology is refashioned to advertise a new one. It’s really stunning to watch.

Forza Motorsport 5: FilmSpeed