Created by designer Nando Costa (previously) The New American is a painstakingly crafted motion graphics animation that was laser cut into a series of 800 individual maple blocks, a process that took nearly two years. Of the work Costa says:
The abstract storyline showcased in this piece is a concoction of a variety of ideas and can perhaps be described as a union between concepts and experiments born during the Situationist movement and real life events experienced during the last few years in American society. Particularly the duality between the economic downturn and the shift in values and beliefs of many citizens.
American director and stop-motion animator PES just released his beautiful 2010 stop motion short The Deep on his official YouTube channel in high definition. The murky underwater world of fish, seaweed and other aquatic lifeforms is created entirely from old hand tools, nut crackers, calipers, film lenses, faucet knobs, chains, and skeleton keys—the exact opposite of what you might expect to animate sea life with—demonstrating why PES is clearly a master of his craft. The clip appeared briefly as part of Showtime Network’s “Short Stories” back in 2010 but later taken down. The re-release is accompanied by a limited edition screen print.
Nearly 155 years before CompuServe debuted the first animated gif in 1987, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau unveiled an invention called the Phenakistoscope, a device that is largely considered to be the first mechanism for true animation. The simple gadget relied on the persistence of vision principle to display the illusion of images in motion. Via Juxtapoz:
The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.
Though Plateau is credited with inventing the device, there were numerous other mathematicians and physicists who were working on similar ideas around the same time, and even they were building on the works of Greek mathematician Euclid and Sir Isaac Newton who had also identified principles behind the phenakistoscope.
Courtesy the Richard Balzer Collection
Courtesy the Richard Balzer Collection
The moving image was only viewable through a narrow slit. Via Wikimedia Commons
So what kinds of things did people want to see animated as they peered into these curious motion devices? Lions eating people. Women morphing into witches. And some other pretty wild and psychedelic imagery, not unlike animated gifs today. Included here is a random selection of some of the first animated images, several of which are courtesy The Richard Balzer Collection who has been painstakingly digitizing old phenakistoscopes over on their Tumblr. (via Juxtapoz, 2headedsnake, thanks Brian!)
Animator Jake Fried (previously here and here) is back with another one of his super trippy layered animations titled Down Into Nothing. Fried paints and draws with endless layers of white-out, coffee, ink, and gouache which he photographs frame by frame to create each of his videos.
Watching Fried’s earlier work it’s amazing to see how far this technique has progressed both in style and in the sheer amount of detail he manages to cram into every frame. Jakes tells me that the surface becomes gradually uneven as he works and some of the unseen bumps and grooves from earlier compositions help guide what comes next. When he finishes the canvas is nearly an inch thick. See many more of his animations over on his website.
Minneapolis-based photographer Ben Garvin just released this wacky video of stop-motion beard tricks called Magic Beard. Garvin shot the entire video on an iPhone and used an app called Stop Motion Studio to stitch it all together. Colossal takes no responsibility for how ridiculous this is. If you liked this also check out Trim. (via Laughing Squid)
I was excited to discover that mixed media artist Brock Davis (previously) recently joined Vine and started making some fantastic little animated shorts in his clever minimalist style. Definitely worth a follow.