Category Archives: animation

What’s a stereogranimator?

What’s a stereogranimator  you ask? Well, I used it to make this 3D animated gif with photos from the archives of the New York Public Library.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

The instructions are sparse so I’m not sure if my picture is supposed to vibrate so violently – but what a concept! I read about this on the iLibrarian website –

The NYPL’s Stereogranimator lets users create and share animated GIFs and 3D anaglyphs using more than 40,000 stereographs. Users can browse through the NYPL’s collection of dual photos and then combine them to make a 3D image. This project was inspired by Joshua Heineman’s project that he started four years ago. The San Francisco-based artist was using the NYPL’s collection of stereographs to create animated gif images for his Cursive Buildingssite. His project went viral and the Library took notice and began collaborating with him to create the Stereogranimator.

Go ahead, make one yourself.

We live in a visual world

I’m hooked on pictures, as some of you may know. And since I haven’t shared for a while, I thought I’d throw in a few examples of the visual delights I’ve been discovering. Some of these go into my art blog for student inspiration and others are just chucked into Diigo.

I fell in love with this animation a little while ago.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.8757657&w=450&h=325&fv=]

The Tadpole
Follow my videos on vodpod

So much to love in this animation – the soft, translucent colours, the textures, the attention to detail and sense of wonder.

And how amazing is this paper art by Alexander Korzer-Robinson whose art focuses on the notion of the ‘inner landscape’.

The cut book art has been made by working through the books, page by page, cutting around some of the illustrations while removing others. The images seen in the finished work, are left standing in the place where they would appear in the complete book.

There’s something about Sea Hyun Lee’s red landscapes that I can’t define. That’s why you should read this analysis here.

Corinne Vionnet is the creator of a series of photographic works entitled “Photo Opportunities”, from hundreds of snapshots of tourist locations found on the Internet. By collecting and then bringing together successive layers of around a hundred similar “photo souvenirs”, these images conjure up questions about representation and memory of places.

I love the ethereal impression created by these dreamy versions of  cliched tourist landscapes.

Matatoro is directed by Mauro CarraroRaphaël Calamote, and Jérémy Pasquet.  Motionographer has a fascinating post with an interview with the film makers on the process of the making of the film.

Watch the film on Vimeo. You will not regret it; it’s brilliant.

You can see the rest of the pictures in mapolito’s Flickr photostream.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you have any art/illustration/animation/film blogs you would recommend, please share.

Art still matters

Your golden hair, Margarete by Anselm Kiefer. Title derived from Death Fugue by Romanian Jewish poet and WWII survivor Paul Celan. Read more here.

The school year is starting again and so I thought I should air out some of my blogs and other resources because they’ve been put away in the top cupboard during the long break.

Remember the art blog? Art does matter.  Remember how, towards the end of last year, I revised the look of the blog so that it came out all svelte and user-friendly?

Well, don’t think it’s been sitting there idly, it’s been hatching lots of new art to stun you. Students, teachers and art lovers, get ready to be inspired by the diverse talent which is about to unfold before your eyes. I snuck in three examples during January (couldn’t help myself), one of which you see above, and then two animations.


This one would be great for a discussion about issues such as beauty, bullying, female exclusivity, perhaps.

Some of you will know that I’m a fan of Russian animation, so here’s a claymation example by Serge Merinov.


So bookmark this blog if you have any interest in art. I’ll do all the work and present you with visual delights throughout the year. What do you say?

PS  The wiki is a good accompaniment but you have to take time to browse.

The end of the year is nigh

Nigh? What kind of language do I think I’m speaking? I blame end of year debilitating virus for that.


…it’s a strange time of the year when you jump off the spinning School Wheel and onto the Christmas Shopping and Everything Else Wheel.

I love this time of year in Edublogland when the Edublog Award winners are announced in all the delectably diverse categories. It’s a time to revere winners, to rejoice with friends, to expand the old Google Reader with more blogs, to bookmark best podcasts, virtual worlds, social networks and PLNs. It’s a time when you wish you had more time to explore, and a magical way of keeping up with everything.

I’m proud that our Australian educators have made the Edublogs honours list: @brightideasblog @edtechcrew @mrrobbo. Congratulations!

The end of the school year, I think some would agree, is a bitter-sweet time of letting go and refocusing on the multi-faceted holiday period.

I try to balance the stresses of everyday life with things of beauty. I need things of beauty; I think we all do. Sometimes music, sometimes art, sometimes literature. Today I’m sharing a beautiful Russian animation, The Seasons, by Yuri Norstein. Despite all his awards for animation, he was fired from Soyuzmultfilm in 1985 for working too slowly on his latest film, a  feature-length adaptation of Gogol‘s Overcoat.


I was interested in reading about the technique which enables him to evoke such ‘magical’ landscapes:

Norshteyn uses a special technique in his animation, involving multiple glass planes to give his animation a three-dimensional look. The camera is placed at the top looking down on a series of glass planes about a meter deep (one every 25–30 cm). The individual glass planes can move horizontally as well as toward and away from the camera (to give the effect of a character moving closer or further away). (from Wikipedia)

Best wishes to everyone for the holiday period; stay healthy and productive, focus on what’s essential, and I’ll save my Christmas wishes closer to the date.

Sir Ken Robinson animated

Here’s a great example of how visualisation enhances a very good talk by Sir Ken Robinson;


Some of the most disturbing parts:

  • Schools are trying to educate children like they did in the past, and consequently alienating millions of kids who don’t see any purpose in what they do in school.
  • Ritalin is overprescribed (in USA). We shouldn’t be sedating our kids, we should be waking them up to what they have inside themselves. They live in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth; they’re being besieged with information that calls for their attention from every platform, and they are getting distracted from comparatively boring stuff at school.
  • Schools are still organised on factory lines. We still educate our children by batches in age groups. Why is the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are. It’s essentially about conformity and standardisation.
  • Kids’ scores for divergent thinking deteriorate the older they become mainly because they become educated to accept that there’s only one answer and that you don’t copy.

Two concluding points by Ken Robinson:

  • Collaboration is the stuff of growth.
  • It’s mostly about the culture, the habits of our institutions.

What does this say to  me?

We can’t improve kids’ learning in schools by doing what we are already trying to do inside the current system. We can only improve their learning by changing the culture of schools, by changing the ways we do things – not within the current setup we have which is clearly not working because our teachers are really trying. What we need is a whole school system change which will discard the outdated factory model. I think this talk explains why we are trying so hard and yet failing on the whole.

What do you think?

Read about RSA here. How is it I hadn’t heard of RSA Animate before? It really does bring discourse to life.

Thanks to Sheryl A. McCoy for the link to this video.

People are brilliant

Long school holidays have given me the time to browse online to my heart’s content. I’m overwhelmed by the constant stream of what everyone is reading, writing, thinking, commenting, asking, creating and sharing. How would I know about any of these things otherwise? I wouldn’t.

Examples of people’s creativity are shared online all the time. I love the way technology combines with basic skills like drawing and paper folding in this video. The creator of the following animation describes this as ‘a shot at animating the old flip book’.

I can’t upload the video so here’s the link.

parkour motion reel from saggyarmpit on Vimeo.

Thanks to @mizminh

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Love science fiction? Watch this.


The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello is an amazing, award-winning short animated film which has been nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA award. The silhouette-style science fiction animation has been developed by director Anthony Lucas, and the story has been inspired by Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne. What a combination! 

Quiet Earth gives a synopsis:

 In the frontier city of Carpathia, Jasper Morello discovers that his former adversary Doctor Claude Belgon has returned from the grave. When Claude reveals that he knows the location of the ancient city of Alto Mea where the secrets of life have been discovered, Jasper cannot resist the temptation to bring his own dead wife Amelia back. But they are captured by Armand Forgette, leader of the radical Horizontalist anti-technology movement, who is determined to reanimate his terrorist father Vasco. As lightning energises the arcane machineries of life in the floating castle of Alto Mea, Jasper must choose between having his beloved restored or seeing the government of Gothia destroyed. Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, this gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself.

The whole film goes for 26 minutes. A great example of steampunk. I’m impressed by how simple animation, silhouette black on white, can evoke such a strong atmosphere and setting. All those dark, heavy machines flying around reminded me of the black hawk helicopters which have been training over my house in the dark without lights. Shiver.

Flip! literacies in animation


Here’s a quirky and creative little flipbook animation called Kraak & Smaak: Squeeze me (source: Drawn).

Another example of the endless possibilities for creativity with technology. Literacies? The kinds of things that include storytelling, sequencing, playful possibilities, imagination, what-ifs and the like.

Pinscreen animation and Gogol’s “The Nose”


I’m long overdue for variety in post content, and I apologize. I feel I’ve been ranting and raving on my educational soap box for too long, but the problem is, for all my reading, I haven’t come across anything worth sharing. Until now. I’ve just discovered pinscreen animation, and I think it’s one of the most remarkable unions of technology and hands-on creativity. Mind you, it’s a form of animation from the early twentieth century, but nobody said you had to discover things in chronological time.

On the website Focus on animation techniques, Marcel Jean explains pinscreen techniques:

In the early 1930s, engraver Alexandre Alexeïeff, a Russian émigré living in France, decided to go into filmmaking. Wishing to make films with an aesthetic faithful to the line and shading of his engravings, he invented a new type of device: the pinscreen.

The pinscreen consists of a white screen pierced by hundreds of thousands of pins that can slide back and forth, each in its own hole. When lit from the side, each pin casts a shadow, and when all the pins are pushed out, there is total darkness. But when pins are pushed in, their shadows are shorter, and the black become grey. When pins are pushed all the way in, they do not cast shadows and the white screen can be seen.

If you are interested in a detailed, illustrated account of the technique and equipment, you can read about it here.

Being extremely time-consuming, this was not a popular or widespread form of animation, but its uniquely tonal quality created with shadows of various intensity created by the pins, gives it a dramatic and even poetic quality not unlike chiaroscuro.

Several pinscreen films were made, including the Alexeieff’s Night on bald mountain (1933) and En passant (1943), and Jacques Drouin’s Mindscape (1976).


I’m always impressed by the time and effort people will devote to creative projects.