The Making of a 3D Zoetrope
Item 193 on the Scavenger Hunt list calls for a Zoetrope, well … not just “a zoetrope” but a 3D Zoetrope. It’s a showcase item, a thing of beauty, and something I had dreamed about seeing in person for years. This weekend I got to build one in about 48 hours. Let’s start with the item itself:
Animate three-dimensional characters using a strobelight. If Studio Ghibli and Pixar could do it, then so can you! We thought that The Industrial Worker’s Pyramid of Capitalist System would be appropriate subject matter, but any sort of hierarchy will do, as long as it has at least five different animations taking place throughout five distinct tiers. [225 points]
A zoetrope is an animation device that tricks the eye into seeing an animation come to life right in front of you. Using slits cut into a wheel, the eye is only able to see one frame of an animation cycle as the zoetrope spins, thus creating the illusion of motion. When this animation mechanism became popular in the 1830s, before the advent of film, the zoetrope was pretty diabolically inventive.
For anyone who has ever studied animation history, the zoetrope joins a pantheon of animation contraptions from this era, including the wonderfully named thaumatrope (just a circle of paper with two frames of animation on each side, spun to make an image), phenakistoscope (precursor of the zoetrope, without the slit-wheel body), praxinoscope (zoetrope plus projector), and the zoopraxiscope (a glass circle made specifically for projecting, invented by Edward Muyebridge, and the precursor of film).
Anyways, history lesson over. The zoetrope has been adapted for use in a bunch of REALLY COOL 3D animations. Both Pixar and Ghibli, have used 3D zoetropes to bring their characters to life. Using a giant rotating platform and a strobe light the effect is like watching claymation in front of your eyes. Like seeing your favorite action figure come to life and start waving at you. It’s pretty damn cool.
I was basically beyond myself when I saw this item on here, and I knew we had to ROCK THIS. I had seen this kind of zoetrope produced on the hobby level with the use of record players — with their consistent 45rpm speed, interchangeable records, and size they were easy to use. But when the opportunity to go all-out presented itself, I knew we had to go for it.
Why do you want to climb an iceberg? Because it’s there, of course
On a Wednesday afternoon in St. John’s, N.L., Justin Emberley saw a 45-metre iceberg floating less than 100 feet from shore in Quidi Vidi Harbour. He called up his friend, Kevin Le Morzadec, a French citizen doing his Ph.D. on the subject of glacier modeling in Newfoundland, and said, “Let’s climb it.” And climb it they did. They put on their wetsuits and life vests, threw their ice picks and clamp-ons in their bags, jumped in the frigid ocean and swam to the iceberg. The National Post’s Kristin Annable spoke Thursday to Mr. Le Morzadec, as Mr. Emberley listened nearby. (Photos: Jerry Curtis)