Phenakistoscope

phenakistoscope

There are many different ways to animate. One way is shown with the phenakistoscope. Using the concept of persistence of vision, a phenakistoscope creates a continuous moving scene.

I began creating my own phenakistoscope by measuring out a circle approximately 9 inches around. I then divided the circle into 12 sections, each section being about 30 degrees. Next I made a slit at the dividing point of each section that was 1 inch long and 3/16 of an inch wide. These slits are what allow for the illusion of the images being animated rather than just a blur.

For my phenakistoscope, I chose to illustrate a person dancing since dance was a big part of an activity that I loved in high school, and a dance move could easily be turned into a continuous animation that appears to have no start or end. For the top of the piece, I wanted the appearance of the floor moving around underneath the circle. The center is more of a decorative accent to the image. It resembles a flower-like pattern when the phenakistoscope is animated.

I chose to use basic shading for the person since more detailed coloring would most likely be hard to see with the movement speed. The coloring around the figure is different in each frame to create a different sense of movement. Rather than drawing a moving element, I let the color change be the movement. For the top, I made the circle red to allow it to stand out from the background. The color behind it is to allow the viewer to focus more on the circle on that part of the phenakistoscope. I chose to leave the center black and white to allow for some contrast within the final look.

This type of moving image is very important to the history of animation. The creation of the phenakistoscope has allowed for the animation techniques that lead up to what we see today. Without it, we might not have had the same viewing material available that we do now.

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