Animated Piano Player Card

Apr 13, 2011

We were asked to do a piece for a black tie event benefiting Musical Angels, a non-profit that gives free music lessons to kids in the hospital.  The notice was short, so we had to come up with something that was relatively simple, but still cool.

A simple animation seemed like it might be the ticket.  We took inspiration from a very old type of animation that has been revived by Rufus Butler Seder in his book Gallop.  The technique takes each frame of the animation ( usually 5-8 frames ) and divides them into vertical bars of a fixed width.

YouTube user Brusspup provides an excellent tutorial on how to create these animations:

For best results, the frames should be able to loop. Piano playing lent itself to this quite well. The founder of Musical Angels wasn’t available for a photo shoot, so I had to borrow a few frames from another YouTube video to use. I tried a few variations but found color actually worked quite well.

The final product had three pieces, the paper with the image printed on it, the acetate with the black bars and an “envelope” that holds it all together. The envelope is glued in the back, the other pieces are held in place using tabs and slots to allow the acetate to slide side to side.  The only real issue with this method is people tend to pull the acetate too quickly to see the animation.