Filter By

Physical Animation Model

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Class Time: 3hours 0 minutes
Skate Bearing
Plastic Straw
Glue Stick
Super Glue

Big Idea

In the Simulating Animation Lab, a digital strip of images was moved across the computer screen to create an animation. Each image was presented in a border known as a frame in a physical film strip. In cinema, the rate of presentation is specified in frames per second. In this lab, the digital strip will be transformed into a physical strip of images. This involves creating three elements: (1) a sequence of physical images that consist of the images used in the computer simulation, (2) a window that masks all the images except one comparable to the digital mask used in the computer simulation, and (3) a mechanism to control the rate at which the images are presented. This strategy was inspired by Edison’s Kinetoscope, which was first demonstrated in the 1890s. Students will emulate this method to design their own mechanism using the CAD program Onshape and fabrication tools such as scissors or a digital die cutter.


The purpose of this lab is for students to extend their knowledge of animation gain through the development of a digital simulation and create a parallel physical animation.

Required Knowledge/Skills

Students should have basic mathematical computation skills that include addition, subtractions, multiplication, and division. Students should also have basic computer skills, an understanding of how animation works, and basic sketching skills in Onshape.