Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Prototyping 2.

A traditional zoetrope uses a strip of 2D images to create animation. My approach uses 3D models. Why? The 3D models create a richer experience. The viewer has three immediate areas of interest as things move towards, parallel and away from the viewing plane. Parallax also occurs, objects further away appear to move slower than those up close. Finally is the object. Just as sculpture it can be viewed from all angles. The viewer must engage with the piece.

The purpose of this prototype was to develop an effective means of accurately recreating the forms developed within the animation software. There are two elements. The 'animation' geometry and the stands.

Each animation object has two stands in order that it is displayed at the correct position and orientation. There are 59 objects resulting in 118 unique stands. The stands are very simple. A foot with a vertical shaft and an attachment specifically oriented to meet the animation geometry.

The animation geometry is also simple, a flat shape deformed (curved) along its length. It seems logical that these shapes could be treated as origami, folding a flat shape into the desired pose.

The quantity of elements and the accuracy required along with the developmental media (digital) mean that digital fabricating techniques are the most appropriate. This approach is an important part of my practice, though it does not seem appropriate to explore that within this post.

As both the stand and the animation geometry could be developed from 2D shapes, laser cutting seemed like the most appropriate approach. For those unfamiliar with the technology, a laser cutter is a laser mounted vertically that can move horizontally in 2 axis. A computer file defines its path, the speed at which it moves and the power of the laser. Its an affective method of quickly and accurately cutting flat shapes.

The final prototype. The stand technique has proved very effective, the animation geometry not quite so. The origami approach has a few flaws which I hope will be addressed in the prototype currently in production... if it worked first time, then there would be no need to prototype.

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