Top Five Constraints of Making a Zoetrope

The Zoetrope is perhaps one of the oldest tools used in animation. What dawned to me profoundly recently, was that video was available long before audio in filmmaking, which seems very counter intuitive to me, because I went with the radio before television mindset. However I would like to have a small tribute to the humble beginnings to the dawn of animation as I am a huge cartoon and animation fan. This was a powerful moment as I never felt more charged thinking about project Ideas

The top constraints that I will definitely encounter to make my Zoetrope are

1. Decisions decisions decisions: How big/small will it be? I plan to show my prototype to my team in a more informal sitting and get some opinions on the size and the design of it. I fear that a small one might seem too simplistic for a final project while a large one might feel a little too clunky.

2. Aesthetics: What will it be? Of course, our Aesthetics of Design class dictates we need to approach with a certain aesthetic in mind, and frankly, I like the challenge! Unfortunately I am torn between giving my Zoetrope a classic look with a wood-like finish and a hand crank to rotate the model. But, I could also put a modern twist to the classic design by using the same principles of design with a modern approach like a motorized spindle to rotate the spindle.

3. Materials: How its made? I would very much like to use wood for my base, but I would also need a cylindrical shaped, hollow price of wood to make the chamber with the drawings. This would require some skill, and my teammates, the amazingly talented people they are, might help me out.

4. Nuance, finesse and other fancy french words: The seemingly simple Zoetrope has some delicate science to it. The width of the slits, periodicity, the speed of the spindle and the height of the drawings. I have to educate myself on these subtleties if I have to make a smooth flowing animation.

5. Wow factor: I do NOT want to make a simple Zoetrope, I want a certain distinguishing feature that would make it my own. I do not know what it is yet, but a lot of it would be answered as soon as I make the prototype.


Image Source: Wikipedia

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Gautham Govindarajan
    March 20, 2017 1:13 am

    You’re constraints are well thought out for this project. I understand you’re constraint for decide on what its gonna show. That would be a challenge to decide on. Getting the animation perfect will also be difficult. I am really excited to see how it turns out. All the best.

  • Jeremy Parsons
    March 12, 2017 11:25 pm

    This is very unique project opportunity to employ some interesting aesthetics and creative design. I could see the fabrication become challenge if any aspects of the functionality are nuanced to perhaps be ready to be nimble should any challenged arise. Otherwise, it should be a fun project and I am excited to see what you can create at the end of the process.

  • Tyler Lefholz
    March 12, 2017 9:50 pm

    Very interesting idea for your main project! No doubt it will be difficult to choose an aesthetic to pursue, but manufacturing it in a seamless way will also prove a tall task. I definitely think it would be cool to put a modern spin on such a old technology by creating a cartoon of an entirely different, juxtaposing era. I’m really excited to see how it progresses.

  • Blake Arellano
    March 12, 2017 4:43 pm

    Awesome project idea! For your aesthetic, I would appreciate a modern twist on the more classical device. Why not reinvent the wheel here and fit this device into an aesthetic that it normally doesn’t fall into. It seems like you are trying to go above and beyond with this project and I can really appreciate that. I like the direction you are going, good luck in presentations tomorrow.


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