The Phenakistoscope was a tool invented in the 1800s that creates an illusion of motion through individual images. In its most basic form, it is a wheel of paper. It has 16 slots that divide the circle into 16 sections. Each section contains an image. Moving in order around the wheel from section to section, the images vary in a sequential manner and vary only slightly from the image before. To view the images "moving," the viewer spins the wheel, with the images facing away from them. The viewer then looks through the slots and can see the images "moving" when standing in front of a mirror.
I find this way of creating motion very interesting. I had never heard of a phenakistoscope until stumbling across a lesson plan on it at teachanimation.org. I like this project because it is a very good way to introduce the concept of motion through single images to kids. Art has many levels of difficulty, but even the most complicated projects start with a basic concept. This project illustrates a more basic concept of projects like stop animation. I don't think younger kids really understand that a lot of videos and animations are made up of individual images that are put together to create the illusion of movement. I think this project is a smart way to introduce this concept to younger art students in a simple and fun way that they can actually understand. Once the students understand this more basic concept, they can use that knowledge to create longer animations that are more complicated. If I were to teach this in a classroom, this project would be like an introduction leading into stop animation videos of different sorts. I think this is also a good project that can tie in animation history. Many students think animation didn't even start until the 21st century, but phenakistoscopes prove otherwise. Phenakistoscopes, and after that zoetropes, were the building blocks that lead to the animation of today.
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