E-Z Parallax Animation

I made this to help collaborators generate animated fills for MysticSymbolic, but this E-Z technique can be used with pretty much any 2-D animation software.

This animated symbol is a stopwatch. It takes 6 seconds rather than 60 for the hand to complete a circuit.
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This is the stopwatch moving straight across the screen left to right. It takes 6 seconds to do that.
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This is the animated symbol above, replicated 6 times. Each instance of it is staggered by one second. Although it takes 6 seconds for one stopwatch to cross the screen left to right, this cycle is only one second, because of the time stagger; as soon as one stopwatch gets to one second, it’s in exactly the same starting position as the next stopwatch, and so on.
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This is the time-staggered row above, replicated 4 times. Each instance of it is scaled up a bit. Not only does the root symbol (the stopwatch) increase in scale, but the distance it covers also increases proportionally. That means the largest stopwatch appears to travel fastest.
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This is the same as above, but the scaled rows of traveling stopwatches are now distributed across the height of the canvas.
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And that is how you get a nice E-Z parallax effect.

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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “E-Z Parallax Animation”

  1. Helpful! Waiting for a Part Two where you add a couple of more steps and derive the special relativity equations.

  2. I too was reminded of Pink Floyd’s “Time”. A gentleman named Ian Emes animated the clock sequence shown at their concerts. It’s available on YouTube if you’ve never seen it:
    https://youtu.be/PsxkBbkOQWA

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