Velomobile shifting diagrams

I made these to illustrate the difference between shifting a Rohloff vs. conventional derailleur/cassette system in a velomobile going at speed. According to Doug Davis at Bicycle Evolution, some novice velonauts desire Rohloffs because they offer a very wide gear range, but the larger gaps between gears make them less efficient at speed. He has data about watts and gear inches and rotations per minute, but I merely tried to convey the drama of having to upshift too fast in a 60+ pound tub:

Rohloff hub: Shifting over 14% at speed puts sudden stress on the velonaut.

For contrast, the illustration below represents a more narrowly spaced conventional rear cassette setup, like what I have on my Mango:

Conventional derailleur/cassette: Shifting in smaller increments reduces stress and maintains efficiency at speed. The velonaut’s cadence slows only slightly after shifting, and quickly returns to normal.

Maybe we’ll talk about this, and other recumbent nerd stuff, on the next Laidback Bike Report.

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Banner Yet Wave

Animating waves does not come naturally to me. I covet the skills of animators who do them well, so when I recently found myself staring at the animated gifs of Felix Colgrave, I thought, “I wish I could do that.” Then I thought – hey, maybe I can. Thus, using repeating waves as guidelines:

I made this:

It may not look like much to you, but for me, it is an achievement, promising more interesting possibilities to come.

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“Prayer” animation

Today I made this little straight-ahead hand-drawn pencil animation on a little 3×5″ pad. I was trying to give myself a little break from screens. You can see some eraser shreds got caught in the scanner; hopefully they add folksy charm.

Update: Someone on Neenster.org asked,”If we run it backwards, is it a creation myth?”  You tell me:

Divine cycle:

 

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Nina Bunjevac’s Tarot

This summer I was surprised by several out-of-the blue, generous gifts. One of them was from illustrator Nina Bunjevac, with whom I communicate occasionally on social media – we have a little Mutual Admiration Society going. She sent me a set of beautiful French tarot cards, which I received last week and promptly stared at for several hours.

Although we share a first name, I promise that doesn’t bias me. Bunjevac’s line art epitomizes what I’ve always thought line art should be. She’s a direct creative heir to one of my all-time favorite illustrators, Virgil Finlay, and maybe a more distant cousin of Gustave Doré. Her lines go all the right ways, in intricate, mesmerizing patterns, without getting “busy.” Meanwhile she has a brilliant sense of overall design, so her drawings satisfy my eyes on both macro and micro views.

On a long bike ride recently, I contemplated animating one of her cards. I chose the Wheel of Fortune, La Roue, because it looked like Nina had already animated the eyes opening and closing, and I wanted to see them blink.

The animation itself is pretty simple, a 16-frame cycle at 12 fps. On the other hand, cutting pieces of illustration out of their backgrounds in GIMP is a time-consuming PITA, but sometimes I just gotta see what it’ll look like.

Speaking of the Tarot, many of its images derive from the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation). The Wheel card, for example, depicts the 4 Heavenly Beasts or Living Creatures, which are also essentially the Seraphim of Ezekiel. Here’s my version from my stalled Apocalypse project:

It’s stalled because I’m just not feeling apocalyptic right now. The weather’s still decent, and I’m healthy and biking in the beautiful outdoors and getting swell gifts like Nina’s tarot cards. Life is good! Of course, this can and will change; the wheel of fortune keeps on turning. When it does, I’ll be back to animating the End of the World.

An 18-frame version that allows the eyes to rotate in the opposite direction of the rest of the wheel. I added movement to the clouds too.

 

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