Zoetrope Test – Proper Timing

So a big part of the past couple of days was to play with a short animation that could easily be translated to a zoetrope.  But to add a level of difficulty, I wanted to have the animation bounce forward, progressing within the zoetrope rather than in the same spot.  This’ll be a challenge I’m expecting to face later when working on my actual thesis story and animation.

Again, these tests are to get familiar with the process.  I’ve also been working on a script that’ll help automate the creation of the zoetrope animation based on revolution, how many frames are to be processed, etc.  This was one of the big head scratches for me when looking at this initially.  Another mind bender is when I want to isolate a character or action without having all of them present at the same time… This probably means a very large zoetrope structure and when it comes to 3D printing, it’ll definitely be a challenge.

So in this piece, the challenge was timing of the zoetrope itself.  If it revolves with the repeating frame on the 24th frame (assuming the start frame is 1), then it appears as though the objects are moving backwards, as if on an escalator.  If it revolves with the repeating frame on the 25th frame, then it works as expected.

The downside I have to figure out currently is the small tool I wrote somehow displaces the object by a fraction so it does not work perfectly in visual sequence – you can tell something moves just a bit within the video above.  However, I didn’t spend too much time trying to solve that yet as my bigger goal is to understand how the heck I’m going to psychically print this and to see how the details come out in the objects.  One thing I’ve been considering is putting typography on the zoetrope center part to see how it prints as that’ll be a true test of resolution and readability.  I also need to figure out a structural pattern to build so the objects can stay in mid air – this’ll probably be something as simple as a thin/tall cylinder directly underneath the object(s).  I may have to manually do this, or maybe I’ll work on a procedural structure to be put in place by coding.

Another test will result after the test print with a 24P Canon Camera so I can understand benefits and limitations of the body itself, the lenses and lighting.  I’m hoping these can all be figured out soon!

One Comment

  • Stephen Herbert says:


    I thought you might be interested to know that I have started work on a new website, The Wheel of Life. The subject is 19th-century sequence-picture optical toys.

    The Home page is here:


    this links through to the main essays.

    The Contents list is here:


    this links to other pages.

    There’s lots still to do to get the basic website finished (links to image sources, more main essays, etc) and then I’ll try to add something every month.

    I hope you enjoy The Wheel of Life as it develops, and I’m always pleased to hear comments, and learn new things about the subject.

    Best wishes,

    Stephen Herbert

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