Spinning Wheel



In Art 118 (Time Based Art and Design) instructor Jamie Marie Waelchli has started us off with a whole slew of things to ponder over, including early attempts at creating motion where none existed before, such as the phenakistoscope and zoetrope.

The following description is taken from http://courses.ncssm.edu/gallery/collections/toys/html/exhibit07.htm
In 1832, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau and his sons introduced the phenakistoscope (“spindle viewer”). It was also invented independently in the same year by Simon von Stampfer of Vienna, Austria, who called his invention a stroboscope. Plateau’s inspiration had come primarily from the work of Michael Faraday and Peter Mark Roget (the compiler of Roget’s Thesaurus). Faraday had invented a device he called “Michael Faraday’s Wheel,” that consisted of two discs that spun in opposite directions from each other. From this, Plateau took another step, adapting Faraday’s wheel into a toy he later named the phenakistoscope.

How it works:

The phenakistoscope uses the persistence of motion principle to create an illusion of motion. Although this principle had been recognized by the Greek mathematician Euclid and later in experiments by Newton, it was not until 1829 that this principle became firmly established by Joseph Plateau.

The phenakistoscope consisted of two discs mounted on the same axis. The first disc had slots around the edge, and the second contained drawings of successive action, drawn around the disc in concentric circles. Unlike Faraday’s Wheel, whose pair of discs spun in opposite directions, a phenakistoscope’s discs spin together in the same direction. When viewed in a mirror through the first disc’s slots, the pictures on the second disc will appear to move.

What became of it:

After going to market, the phenakistoscope received other names, including Phantasmascope and Fantoscope (and phenakistiscope in Britain and many other countries). It was quite successful for two years until William George Horner invented the zoetrope, which offered two improvements on the phenakistoscope. First, the zoetrope did not require a viewing mirror. The second and most influential improvement was that more than one person could view the moving pictures at the same time.

Grant Osborne found these old Phenakistoscope’s disc images on the web and decided to give them a whirl in C4D with the motor plugin. Its delightful how these are put together.

ANTIQUE ANIMATION TYPES 1) phenakistoscope – a device created by the inventor and physicist Joseph Plateau. Its design is based on the ability of the human eye to keep the image of the retina. Animated examples above. 2) Zoetrope – a device that is a transformation of Joseph Plateau’s phenakistoscope. The Zoetrope disk with holes was replaced by a wooden or metal drum, open top, cut vertical slits on the sides horizontally rotating on an axis. The CD with pictures replaced the long ribbon that fits coiled in a circle inside the drum. These tapes can accommodate five, ten or a dozen pictures, while discs could not accommodate more than two. Praxinoscope – optical device that is based on Zoetrope and phenakistoscope which anticipated film technology. The device consists of an open cylinder with a wall height of about 10 centimeters. On the inner side of the cylinder is placed a strip of 8 or 12 thumbnails. In the center of the cylinder is placed a mirror prism, the number of sides corresponding to the number of thumbnails. Thus, each thumbnail is reflected in the corresponding side of the prism,which; when the cylinder is rotated, generates a smooth animation effect


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