These awesome ‘Scanimation’ illusions will get your mind moving


How do you make an animation? You make a bunch of drawings and then run them together. Whether it's a low-tech flipbook, 24 frames of film, or digital video, the principle's pretty much the same.

Except when it's not.  Turns out there's more than one way to, um, animate a cat.  Or a spinning globe.  Or a jumping stick-man.

Check out this series of amazing mini-cartoons by video illusion whiz Brusspup (pro tip — things get really cute at the one-minute mark with the arrival of a special guest):





Some call the method 'scanimation.'  Each animation in the above video consists of six repeating frames.  All six frames are contained within the underlying sheet, but when the plastic overlay — made up of fixed-width black bars — is passed over it, the bars perfectly align with each frame for a moment in time, creating what appears to be a complete image. The animation can be played backward simply by passing the overlay in the other direction.

Want to try this at home?  It's not super easy, but it is doable.  The simplest way is to print out Brusspup's premade designs, which you can find in the text below his video on YouTube, though if you're feeling ambitious and you've got some Photoshop skills, you could try making your own designs, too. As for how exactly to pull off the illusion, check out Brusspup's own how-to video here.

To see more of Brusspup's illusions, be sure to visit his YouTube channel.

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