Breaking down the spatial

Re-creating Eadweard Muybridge’s Horse in Motion with alteration of the temporal and spatial parameters.

Aim of the Work: This experiment examines the establishment of alternative visual spaces in animation and the relationship between the spatial/temporal dimensions of an animated film and its narrational flow. In addition, it also examines how the temporal discontinuity between the successive frames in an animation “opens up” alternative spatial and narrative structures in the animated film.

Animal Locomotion (Plate 626). Sequence with jockey on horseback by Eadweard Muybridge (1830 – 1904)

The method used in the experimental design involves a virtual camera situated in a virtual space in Autodesk 3ds Max that changes the viewing angle of the involved animated frames. By altering the viewing angle, the animation takes on a new spatial form. Also, alternating the temporal location of each successive frame seems to create new fluid spaces within the existing spatial dimensions of the animation. We explain the motives and the design of the experiment more extensively below. Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic material of the Horse in Motion (1878) is used as the basis for the experiments.

Specifics and Results:

The experiment was carried out in Autodesk 3ds Max software, where Muybridge’s photographs from the Horse in Motion were loaded as frames to be played back as an animation. The frames were set in a computer-generated virtual 3D Space where virtual models of early animation (pre-cinema) devices such as the praxinoscope were designed. Also, the frameswere set in otherwise impossible settings in the same 3d space. The different settings of the frames served the experimental need for alternating the camera angle and recording the resulting animation in an easy and otherwise impossible way. Firstly, the experiment uses different camera angles to record the series of moving frames to create different animation forms, as viewed from different angles. As seen below, the different camera angle altered the rotational speed of the animated frames so that their outer side was moving slower than their innermost side. This difference in the rotational movement consequently altered the rotating frames’ temporal element, creating a temporal discontinuity between the preceding frame and the next frame. Furthermore, this discontinuity altered the spatial dimension of the animation, creating new spaces that varied considerably from the initial footage. The same method was implemented again in different settings with different results, as seen in the video below. In 2:18 – 2:53 (of the video below), we can see how the fragmentation of the temporal dimension in each frame can open up a different spatial element in the animation sequence. For example, as we see, each frame was fragmented into different temporal fragments. Each fragment represented a slightly different time in the animation. Thus, each fragment represents a different spatial structure based on its particular time position in the animation.

Although the resulting animation uses the same spatial information as the initial footage, each fragment’s slightly implemented temporal difference creates a radically different viewing of Horse in Motion.