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pixar’s trippy zoetrope

My longtime fascination with zoetropes led me to an amazing zoetrope made by the Pixar animations studio. Zoetropes, an early animation tool, are usually created using a cylinder with vertical slits cut into the sides and a sheet of paper with a series of sequenced images wrapped along the inner wall of the cylinder. When you spin the cylinder and look inside, the objects on the paper appear to be moving. Here’s an example.

A few years ago,¬†Studio Ghibli created a three dimensional zoetrope that wowed the world.¬†Inspired by Ghibli’s 3D version, Pixar set out to make their own in an effort to show the public how animation works.

Pixar artists created 18 different sculptures of every figure in the scene – each sculpture slightly different than the last one. When the structure that holds the carefully placed sculptures spins, strobe lights make the scene come to life as you watch.

The end result is trippy and uber cool. The video below explains the process and shows the zoetrope in action.

The magic is in the strobe lights and the placement of the sequential sculptures. Hope you trip the light fantastic this weekend.




Pixar Studios

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