Jun 29, 2016 | By Tess

In the decades before film as we know it was invented, the zoetrope, a device which created the illusion of moving images through a spinning drum and a series of still images, was used as entertainment. Now, nearly two hundred years after the zoetrope’s invention, we are delighted to have found that a contemporary media artist has brought the pre-cinematic device back and in the coolest way possible.

Japanese media artist Akinori Goto has created a modern day zoetrope called toki using 3D design and 3D printing technologies. The impressive device, which was recently showcased at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival, displays ghostlike human figures walking or dancing when light is shone through it from the side.

Typically, the zoetrope functions by fitting a band of sequenced pictures into a cylindrical drum with vertical slits cut into it. When the drum is spun, the zoetrope’s user can visualize the still images as though they are in motion. While Akinori Goto’s zoetrop uses the same principle, the effect is a truly dazzling illusion.

To make the 3D printed zoetrope, Akinori Goto first designed a 2D time axis which followed the movements of a person walking. This movement was broken down into 6 still images. From there, Goto turned the 2D axis into a 3D axis, so that a continuous sequence of still figures was turned into a sort of ring. Next, the data was turned into 3DCG and morphed into the time axis, resulting in a cylindrical drum shape, which when 3D printed can be spun like a traditional zoetrope. With light projected onto the 3D printed zoetrope, the walking figures are revealed.

While Akinori Goto’s 3D printed zoetrope is not the first, as other media artists have used 3D printing technologies to create unique and fun pieces such as these 3D printed zoetrope film awards, or this stunning 3D printed glowing zoetrope, it is certainly one of the most impressive. On its own, the cylindrical structure is already impressive and could be a sculptural centerpiece. With motion and light added, the 3D printed piece comes alive and is sure to dazzle all who look upon it.

Featured at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival in Tokyo, the 3D printed zoetrope took home the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Be sure to check out the video below to see how the beautiful 3D printed visual device was designed and created.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Ryan wrote at 1/15/2019 6:13:34 AM:

Is the stl for this available?

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