Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: The Wizard of Oz: A Scanimation Book by Rufus Butler Seder

There’s something charmingly nostalgic and convincingly high tech about artist, inventor and filmmaker Rufus Butler Seder’s Scanimation books. Take his interpretation of The Wizard of Oz (Workman) for instance. It is, in all ways, a perfect little package. A delight. Even before you open the book, the glittery red of Dorothy’s shoes glints at you from the cover. But then you do open the book, and the shoes -- with Dorothy’s feet inside -- they move.

The book, created under license to Turner Entertainment and The Wizard of Oz (™), depicts 10 scenes from the classic film. The farmhouse being carried away. Dancing Munchkins. Scarecrow doing a jig, and so on: all beautifully rendered in Scanimation, a Seder-developed technology that makes the pictures seem to actually move.

The Scanimation technology uses moire lines to create the illusion of motion, and it does it very well. Turning a page, a striped decoder layer slides across a scrambled image, revealing a series of sequential images to the eye. The result? Motion, or a really good illusion of it.

This isn’t the first Rufus Butler Seder book we’ve seen. Previously, he has done Scanimation books on Star Wars, a galloping horse and a few others. The Wizard of Oz seems the most polished to me, though. And certainly, the most fun to share with kids. Do it this holiday season. This is a tough one to resist. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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