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Eadweard J Muybridge’s 182nd birthday Google doodle

April 9, 2012
oldest known animation

A GIF animation of Eadweard Muybridge galloping horse created by Waugsberg (Source: Wikimedia)

 

Eadweard Muybridge's Phenakistoscope: A Couple...

Eadweard Muybridge's Phenakistoscope: A Couple Waltzing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eadweard J. Muybridge  was an Englishphotographer of Dutch ancestry who spent much of his life in the United States. He is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion which used multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip.

In 1872, former Governor of California Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during the trot. Up until this time, most paintings of horses at full gallop showed the front legs extended forward and the hind legs extended to the rear. Stanford sided with this assertion, called “unsupported transit”, and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically. Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.

In later studies Muybridge used a series of large cameras that used glass plates placed in a line, each one being triggered by a thread as the horse passed. Later a clockwork device was used. The images were copied in the form of silhouettes onto a disc and viewed in a machine called a Zoopraxiscope. This in fact became an intermediate stage towards motion pictures or cinematography.

Animated sequence of a horse pacing. Photos ta...

Animated sequence of a horse pacing. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). Animation by Waugsberg, 2006-10-8. (The sequence is set to motion using frames of Human and Animal Locomotion, plate 591, "Pronto" pacing) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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