Wednesday 1 May 2019

Student Creative - Animation team

Our Project aim: 3D print and construct a Zoetrope depicting characters individual modes of chaos, see our last two blog posts for our initial plan, and progression of work:

Post 1:

Post 2:

The Zoetrope Nears Completion – 3D Plastic Printing Begins

fig.1 – screen capture of virtual zoetrope with additional character animations from Joe Derrick and Sam Elphick

Having created our virtual zoetrope of characters exhibiting their own personal modes of chaos, the key step of moving through the screen into the 3rd dimension begins. A project such as this has only been made possible through the technological innovations of 3D plastic printing. The on-site printer at AUB is a ‘Selective laser Sintering’ (SLS) printer, using White Polyamide Powder and lasers to produce the models.

fig.2 – SLS printing technology. Source:

The printed models are a robust white solid material. The plinths the models stand on have been designed to be able to be attached to a nut and bolt to hold them in place on the rotating zoetrope.

fig.3 – one ‘frame’ of the 3D animation 3D printed

fig.4 – the base of the ‘frame’ with hole designed to fit a nut and bolt

Construction requires a precision of planning and design of precisely where the frames must be placed to produce the illusion of smooth motion. We have used exported images from Autodesk Maya to take into Adobe Illustrator and from there laser-print plastic sheet guides for the plinths to make sure they are positioned in the correct place on the zoetrope.

Goals and Reality

As the project has progressed, the goals set out in our first blog post for this project had to be adapted to the feasibility of the project, in terms of person-hours available and cost of materials and processes.

We unfortunately had to drop the idea of a series of small animated models of objects from the MoDiP collection being destroyed and re-forming. However, objects from the MoDiP collection will be displayed in the exhibition for this project to clearly show the connection from one to the other. These are the objects which will be in the exhibition:

fig.5 – a) Milk Bottle, b) Quin Table Lamp, c) Action Man Figure, d) Amanda

fig.6 – Final Zoetrope

fig.7 – Zoetrope in display case

The zoetrope has been a long time coming and has finally arrived as a success! The intention of the project was to take animation out from behind the screen, which is what I can conclusively say we have done. The three characters on the turntable are illuminated by flashing L.E.D. lights which bring them to life when the table spins, each trapped in their own cycle of torment and hypnotically held in line with their peers experiencing the exact same fate but 1/16th of a second before and after.


figs.8 & 9 – Zoetrope display set up outside the museum

An exhibition is currently in three display cases outside MoDiP in the Arts University Bournemouth library from Tue 30 April to Fri 17 May. The display walks the viewer through the journey of the project from initial conception and inspiration from the MoDiP collection through to the final outcome using objects and images from each stage of the process.
The zoetrope itself can be seen in action on Friday 3rd May from 2pm, and on the mornings of Friday 10th and Friday 17th May.

The journey of this project has been a pleasure to undergo and has taught me and my teammates a huge amount about animation in and out of the screen, as well as the possibilities and creative potential held within the MoDiP collection.

Written by Jonny Strutt - Animation Team

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