Assignment 4: Zoetrope

For this assignment, I made a zoetrope. A zoetrope is one of the most primitive forms of animation, and it uses static images and optical illusion to create the impression that an image is animated. You can change the scene being animated by switching out the paper strips, as well as reverse direction and speed up/slow down the spinning.

I originally wanted to an inverse zoetrope, which features 2D cut outs that go around the rim of the spinning platform and projects the image onto the inside of the backdrop with slits. However, my original animated scene (opening a fridge door) was too fragile to be cut out.

I ran into a lot of issues with this project, actually, even though it looks pretty simple. The minimum number of frames you can have to satisfactorily achieve the illusion of motion is 12, and it was difficult to get find stills with just the right amount of change between them to look animated. Another issue was the size constraint. Since the motor I’m using can be powered solely by an Arduino, I ran into issues with the lack of torque from the motor, so I had to stick to a small platform. I also wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with my circuit, when it turned out that I just had a bad wire connecting the motor to the voltage supply.

If I were to do this over, I think I would give another try to the inverse zoetrope, and make a design more well-suited to it.

Demo video:

*Circuit and code directly from class example

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