• 01.20.15

Stanford Art Teacher’s Animated Zoetropes Will Melt Your Brain


Don’t stare too long at these zoetropes by John Edmark, a lecturer in Stanford’s art department and a member of Autodesk’s artist in residence program.


The 3-D printed sculptures are designed around the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical sequence of numbers that can be used to create a spiral, and the “golden angle,” a pattern often found in nature, like in the angles between the florets on sunflowers. The sculptures come to life as they’re rotated, blooming into hypnotic works of art with the help of a little lighting magic. To animate the sculptures, Edmark spins them very quickly, capturing movement with a rapid shutterspeed (1/4000th of a second) to create a seamless stop-motion animation. The same effect can be recreated using a strobe light synchronized to flash every time the sculpture rotates 137.5 degrees.

Check out more of Edmark’s work here, and make his zoetrope for yourself with these instructions.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.