Cutting Paper And Corners In Animation

Cutting every corner can lead to some shoddy projects, but [Terry Gilliam] shows us that cutting the right corners yields unforgettable animations when mixed with the right amount of quirky imagination. The signature animation style of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a mixture of [Terry]’s artistic craft and doing it with as little work as possible. You can watch after the break.

For [Terry], cutout animation is the quickest and easiest way he knows to convey an idea, a joke, or a story. With his vocal repertoire, even the sound effects can be produced in a basement studio. Sometimes, he makes the artwork himself and sometimes he relies on found-media in magazines or print. Both of these resources have vast digital counterparts for the betterment or detriment of animators.

Cutout animations have limitations such as jerky movement and the signature paper-on-a-background look, but that didn’t stop South Park. Textures and gradients can be used, unlike traditional animation which leverages a simplified color palette so you can pick your poison.

If your story or idea is held back because it can’t be expressed, maybe it needs a cutout animation kick in the right direction, and it couldn’t hurt to illustrate your 2018 Hackaday Prize submissions. At the opposite end of the tech spectrum, we have an animation made with 3D printed objects.

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3D Miniature Chess Pieces Made With A Laser Cutter

When you think of laser cutters, you generally don’t think of 3d parts. Well, at least not without using something like glue, nuts and bolts, or tabs and slots to hold multiple parts together. [Steve Kranz] shows you how to make these very tiny 3D chess pieces by making 2 passes at right angles to thick acrylic. The first pass cuts one side’s profile, then the part is rotated 90 degrees and a second pass is cut, giving the part more of a “real” 3D look, rather than something cut out of a flat sheet. If you’re having a hard time imagining how it works, his pictures do a great job of explaining the process. He even added some engraving to give the chess pieces for a selective frosted look. We think it’s a cool idea, and well executed too!

But that got us to thinking (always dangerous) that we’ve seen rotary attachments for laser cutters, but they are mainly for etching cylindrical objects like champagne flutes and beer bottle. What if you added a rotating “3rd” axis to a laser cutter that could hold a block of material and rotate it while being cut? (Much like a traditional 4th Axis on a CNC machine). Would the material also need to be raised and lowered to keep the laser focused? Surely software that is aimed at 3D CNC would be needed, something like Mach3 perhaps. A quick Google search show that there are some industrial machines that more-or-less do 3D laser cutting, but if you, or someone you know of, has attached a 3rd axis to a desktop laser, let us know in the comments, we would love to see it.

(via Adafruit)