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Artistic Explorations: Moving Shadows

Artistic Explorations: Moving Shadows

This is a collaborative post by Sebastian and Steph

We’re both excited about a straightforward idea that can be approached with a variety of tools: turning lights on and off to make shadow animations. We’ve enjoyed revisiting this idea with fresh eyes, so we wanted to share some of them with you and invite you into the exploration. 


Turning flashlights on and off

"There's something appealing about the simplicity of this setup: with just 2 objects and 2 lights, we can create the illusion of transformation. Here, I was charmed by the magic of a rabbit becoming a dinosaur and then changing back again!" - Steph


"In this version, I love that it's possible to create the illusion of motion — like eyes darting back and forth — without any moving parts." - Steph 


Using code to create light patterns

“I get that feeling of delight when a shadow of an unassuming material like a brad nail turns into a seagull or a piece of crumpled foil into a choppy sea.” - Sebastian 


Adding interaction 

“While I care to share a story when I make a piece, I also love to give agency and responsibility over the experience to the viewer, and the buttons that control the lights are a great way to do that.” - Sebastian  

A circuit playground micro-controller in a box with a nature scene



In many ways, these ideas were inspired by Michael Brown’s work Ghost Horse, which builds on this tradition of shadow animations. We hope this serves as inspiration for your own light, shadow, and animation explorations!