Felix Sputnik: Spinning Away

Felix Sputnik, the guy behind the animated map sequences from Aardman's 'Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientist' and the sexy walk cycles we posted in October, has uploaded this very clever zoetrope wheel animation test, in which we see a man leapfrogging over a static man, who then jumps over the original jumper.

Felix talks about the complexities of such an animation:

"Hell, this was difficult...

My friend Steve showed me a zoetrope disk he'd animated, which not only had a repeating cycle on it, but also an object passing on, from image to image on the disk, once per revolution. I sat for half an hour in front of it, trying to figure out how he did it. As the object passes over to the left, there has to be one less of it, than there is of the other elements on the disk. 12 drawings in the cycle, only 11 of the object. I decided I would never be able to just figure it out in my head, so I decided to do one of my own.

My idea was to do one cycle of a man leapfrogging over a static man, who would then jump over the original jumper. That's easy if you allow the jumped man to slide backwards into the position from which the jumper took off. But that's not what I wanted, I wanted for them to remain static when jumped and then leap continuously forward.

The only way, that would work is if the disk returns to its original position only after 2 revolutions. So I divided it into 25 segments, hitting the uneven ones the first time round, the even ones on round 2. I know this all sounds terribly complicated, do you now see why I had to do it..."

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