Mini Project 1: Zoetrope Gif

My original project was to create an animation from drawings which resembled a short simple animation done using a device such a zoetrope (http://vimeo.com/61833024). As an experiment it was suggested that we try and create our own zoetrope animation to understand basic animation processes such as how to match up frames and draw movements like a ball bouncing or person walking. This task was hard for me because I am more comfortable with using computers to do my illustrations and I find it uncomforting to draw by hand as it’s not something I am familiar with or feel that I’m generally good at. Because we had a smaller workspace (a piece of card approximately 3-4 inches wide) I found it almost impossible to pay attention to detail, which meant that the animation would have to be quite basic. I also didn’t have the correct tools for drawing small animations on a small piece of card (a good pencil or pen, eraser and a sharpener would have been a good start).

This was useful in making me realise the processes that animators would have had to go thorough and the amount of time that it would have taken. Although using computers to animate also takes a long time, drawing each frame out by hand is much more time consuming and takes a much more steady hand and much more practice to get right, e.g. you can’t simply undo as you can on software such as Adobe Illustrator. Another way this task was useful was in making me understand just how difficult it sometimes is to animate either by drawing or on a computer.

animation

This is my animation of a man looking over a wall. This animation has been converted into a gif, but because of the persistence of vision, theorised by Peter Mark Roget, it works under the same principles as a zoetrope, meaning that one image is replaced by another to create the illusion of fluidity.

As you can see from the gif it is very basic and you can’t really tell that it’s a wall that the man is looking over. What I had most trouble with was matching up the separate animations so that the lines weren’t in different places. I tried to make the animation seem still by measuring out each piece of card and using a curved piece of card to draw out the animation, the problem with this was that firstly the piece of card wasn’t very effective at this job and secondly the animation could only be a basic shape as I was using a ‘stencil’ to draw it out. This meant that the head was very basic and it didn’t have any distinct features which makes the character recognizable. This character is very bland and the animation isn’t very interesting, though if this was created in 1829 when the zoetrope was invented by George Horner then it would have created a lot of interest. This is a clear example of how animation has evolved from basic short animations composed of a few frames to full feature length movies.

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