Our elegant little movie machines rival the classic motion picture toys of more than a century ago. They’re not done with polarizing filters and they’re not holograms. Surprisingly, all of the technologies we use, in one form or another, have been around for decades or even centuries. We’ve simply built on that technology to create something new.
Most of our optical inventions have one thing in common: Like an animated flipbook, a series of sequential pictures—each a little different from the other—is presented to your eye in rapid succession. Your brain links one image to the next, creating the illusion of motion.
Who Created Them?
Artist and inventor Rufus Butler Seder, is known the world over for his eye- popping, show-stopping LIFETILES installations: large-scale, optical glass-tiled murals that appear to come to life and move when the observer walks or rides by them. For over twenty years, Rufus has actively been creating creating LIFETILES murals for the Smithsonian Institute, the San Francisco BART subway system, and museums, zoos, aquariums, and other public places around the world.
In 1999, the success of LIFETILES inspired Rufus and his wife Penny to form Eye Think, Inc., a company dedicated to producing the original, inventive optically-animated toys, gifts and artwork. When Rufus designs any one of these pieces, his goal is to capture the signature movement of the subject he’s depicting. “I want to make the observer feel the weightless thrill of a dancer’s leap or the elastic coil and spring of a running cat,” says Rufus. “When I succeed, I feel as though I’ve created a little bit of life itself!”
An international award-winning independent filmmaker, Rufus was trained at the American Film Institute and the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he later served as chairman of the film department. He is the creator of seven internationally bestselling Scanimation® children’s books, Gallop!, Waddle!, Swing!, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz!, Santa! and Charles Schultz’ Peanuts. Rufus is also the principal inventor of the Rear Window™ motion picture caption system, which permits deaf and hearing-impaired moviegoers to enjoy major film releases side by side with a hearing audience at many IMAX theaters and hundreds of other motion picture theaters across the country.