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Seminar 4D: Contemporary Work Using Old Animation Techniques

Contemporary Thaumatrope Using Old Animation Techniques

Animation and motion graphics group, DuckEye, published their video, “Thaumatropes,” in 2016. A thaumatrope is an old toy that was popular during the Victorian era. It consists of a disk held by two pieces of string. On each side of this disk can be seen two separate, yet related, images. A good example of this would be a bird in a cage; an image of a bird on one side of the disk whereas an illustration of the birdcage on the other. Once this disk is flipped and is in action by the twirling motion of the strings, the two images appear to blend into one caused by the persistence of vision. In the case of this example, the bird would appear to be in the cage constantly.

In the video by DuckEye, rather than blending the images by drawing separate items of one image, differing motion movements were given to the illustrations. This causes a two frame motion animation loop. For example, an image of a pair of hands together and another image of the same pair of hands in distance with each other gives our eyes and brain the illusion of a clap once the disk is in motion. The objective of this video is to investigate how the human brain completes the intermissions between the frames. With the addition of music and sound effects, the success of the animation is very clear to the eye and brain.

Although this is only a video showing the two differing concepts of the original Victorian toy and the concept of animation with similar images that appear in our brain, I was really pleased to hear sound effects that correspond with the images that I saw. It made the video more energetic and definitely, on my case, involved the audience. I wouldn’t change anything. As the thaumatrope is not as popular today as it used to be in the 19th Century, I think it is a very simple and valuable step into understanding how animation works. As part of my research, I figured that the thaumascope was mainly trendy among kids and helping them understand, play and exercise with the concept of this game.

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