Although cinema and animation have come a long way, there is still something magical about this grandfather of all, the zoetrope. Thanks to the persistence of vision, our eyes are fooled into seeing movement where there is none, only still images carefully arranged in the right lighting.
After four months of research, CAD, prototyping and programming, [Harrison McIntyre] built a 3d zoetrope that brings a gif to glorious physical life (video, embedded below). All image parts are printed and move under a sophisticated backlight that [Harrison] borrowed from work. It basically works the same as a 2D zoetrope, as long as you get the right spacing. 360 ° divided by 20 frames gives 18 ° per frame. So a motor spins the disc, and every 18 ° the light pulses for a millisecond and then turns off until the next image is in position.
The really interesting thing is that there are actually over 20 images in play here. If you follow a single character in the loop, it takes 46 frames to complete the animation thanks to something pioneering 3D zoetrope [Kevin Holmes] nicknamed “animation multiplexing”, which in [Harrison]for example, is easily explained as a relay race in which all runners run their section at the same time, creating the illusion of constant movement.
There’s more than one way to use a 3D printer to create a zoetrope, and we doubt we would have ever thought of this one that crushes four dimensions into three.
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