I recently stumbled onto the Tumblr of animator Matthias Brown who shares his numerous experiments with rotoscoping and other animation techniques in quick looped gifs. In case you’re unfamiliar, rotoscoping is method where animators trace real footage frame by frame to create live-action animations with a hand drawn feel, a technique invented in 1915 by Max Fleischer who used it in his series Out of the Inkwell. While the technique is a century old it’s oddly refreshing to see it appear in today’s barrage of animated gifs, gritty imperfections and all. You can see much more of Brown’s work over on his aptly titled site TraceLoops, and he talks a bit more about his process here.
For Those Who See is a 2010 installation by Berlin-based artist Daniel Schulze that relies on a 7×7 grid of audio speakers to generate rings of fog that shoot upward from the device. The vortices appear for only a second or so, but are distinct enough that Schulze could then translate digital signals into fleeting visual patterns. The installation was a jury recommended work at the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival and won the audience award at the Create10 Student Design Competition.
Designed by a team at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, the Cubeli is a small cube capable of balancing, walking, and jumping on its own. The device contains a trio of reaction wheels that rotate extremely fast and can be controlled in speed and combination to create gravity-defying tricks shown here. The video above suggests potential uses such as planetary exploration or self-assembling robots (perhaps similar to MIT’s self-assembling M-Blocks), but I suggest we could use these for the purpose of being under my Christmas tree.
In forms that seem inspired by cast bronze or pewter sculptures, but with incredible geometric textures, these folded masks are made entirely from single sheets of paper by origami artist Joel Cooper (previously). As if making the shape of a face from paper wasn’t already difficult enough, Cooper uses a method of folding called tessellation where an elaborate grid is first folded into a hexagon-shaped piece of paper, a process he goes into great detail in this blog post. You can see (and purchase) more of his work over on Zibbit and Etsy.
Temari balls are a form of folk art that originated in China and were introduced to Japan in the 7th century. The carefully hand-embroidered balls often made from the thread of old kimonos were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day as special gift. According to Wikipedia the balls would sometimes contain secret handwritten wish for the child, or else contained some kind of noise-making object like a bell.
Flickr user NanaAkua photographed this amazing collection of geometric spheres created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s. She has since created hundreds of them, nearly 500 of which you can see right here. (via DDN Japan)
For his thesis project in “Interface Culture” at the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz, designer Javier Lloret converted the entire facade of the Ars Electronica building in Linz, Austria into an interactive Rubik’s Cube called Puzzle Facade. Lloret created a handheld device the mimics the function of the ubiquitous puzzle toy which then wirelessly communicates with a computer that controls the network of lights installed on the building. From his website:
In Puzzle Facade the player interacts with the specially designed interface-cube. The interface-cube holds electronic components inside that allow for it keep track of its orientation and the rotations of each side of the cube. This data is sent over Bluetooth to a computer that runs the Puzzle Facade designed software. This software changes the lights and color of the large-scale Ars Electronica’s media facade in correlation to the handheld interface-cube.
Due to the nature of this building and its surroundings, the player is only able to see two sides at the same time. This factor increases the difficulty of solving the puzzle, but as the player is able to rotate and flip the interface-cube, it is not a blocking factor.
Although Lloret was the primary designer for the project he relied on a huge team of people to realize the idea. You can learn much more here. (via Vimeo)
Swiss origami master Sipho Mabona (previously) plans to fold a massive life-sized elephant from a specially produced 2,500 square foot (125 sqm) sheet of paper at the Art Museum in Beromünster, Switzerland. Titled White Elephant, the artist is currently raising funds for the endeavor through Indiegogo so he can fund the production of paper and hopefully film the project in a timelapse video similar to the animation above. Mabona is offering a number of rewards such as origami instructions and original folded pieces including his famous koi and swallows.