Animation idea: Labyrinth ascension and rebirth


My idea is to show a person going from birth to ascension and rebirth while climbing up a labyrinth that goes up as well as in. I have designed and printed the labyrinth on my 3D printer. Here is an animated gif to give you an idea of what I envision. I’d love to add another dimension to it as well, using UV light so that parts of the animation can be added that are only seen when the UV lights strobe.

I have an animated gif but was not able to upload it. Here is a photo of my labyrinth tower with little lights inside.


@carolmdieter Thanks for the idea! I moved your idea into it’s own topic because that’s how we want to organise the competition.

Funny you should mention UV, that was part of my original design, but I had to give it up, it added too much wiring and too much complexity for the micro-controller; the ESP8266. Maybe in version 2 with an ESP32 :slight_smile:

The labyrinth looks really cool, but I’m a bit stumped how the labyrinth works as a 3D zoetrope. I think we need the animated gif.

I guess the issue was the file was maybe too big to upload - perhaps you can provide an external link?


Here is a video to give you an ides.


Here is a drawing of the first level of my labyrinth idea!


The baby is born from a green rock when a bolt of light hits it. The baby crawls along and climbs up three steps. by the time she reaches the top, she is a girl. This is when she begins walking along the first level if the labyrinth. then she finds the next stairs, climbs up and becomes a woman. She walks on the second level and the third, then on the final level, she is old. She turns into a ball of light, which reaches down and strikes the “rock” to start the cycle again.


@carolmdieter Ok I think I see your intention now, but if I have it right then unfortunately it can’t work that way. The carousel rotates at about 100rpm so if you have one single labyrinth covering the whole carousel, it will also be spinning at 100rpm and your transforming girl won’t be “readable” in the context of the spinning labyrinth.

What you need is for the labyrinth to not rotate as the carousel spins. It is certainly technically possible for your animation to work, if there 20 labyrinths around the edge of the carousel, all facing outwards radially. Then each time the strobe flashes whichever labyrinth you are watching will not have changed it’s orientation or position to the observer, but the girl will have changed.

The problem then I think is that our carousel is only 32cm in diameter, so the labyrinths themselves would be small and the girl really very small, possibly too small to print and paint practically.


Thanks for the feedback, I see what you mean. I think this idea is too complex for a 32cm platform!
I think I will submit a different idea. Instead of a labyrinth, I will use a three level platform, like a wedding cake.


I am not able to create a new topic, so I am placing my new idea here. Kevin, can you please move it into a topic titled: Robot Reincarnation.



@carolmdieter Thanks for the new idea - and the pointer about not being able to create new topics. Sorry about that, we’re new to this forum software, and it comes in a really paranoid default state where new users can’t create topics until they’ve done a bunch of random stuff.

I’ve fixed that now, so everyone can post new topics. But I’ve moved this into a new topic for you anyway.


Thanks! I appreciate that. Hopefully, this one is more “doable”. :):grin:


I had a thought about this design: If the labyrinth spins and the timing is made right, wouldn’t it look like it is standing still, or slowly spinning?
If we can do that, then figure out how to add the people so they look like they are also moving, maybe it could work. Or, if people would be too small, maybe just a round ball that rolls along the path? Or a fairy with butterfly wings?


I’m afraid not. You have a physical model, so you can see for yourself. Try turning it 18 degrees, take a snapshot (mental or otherwise) then turn it 18 degrees again and take another snaphot, etc, etc,

Stitch the snapshots together, and play it back at about 30 frames per second (again as a mental exercise if you can), and that’s what it would look like - which is to say, a spinning blur.

The only way to make this animation work is to have 20 copies of the labyrinth, one for each frame. 20 is the standard number of frames in 4-Mation animations, we could choose a different number, but 20 seems about right. Any more and the individual frames are getting too small, any less and the story length becomes shorter.


So, I gave it a try, and I think it will work. the funny thing is, you get the motion by moving the background instead of the figure, mostly. I think with an object that is less symmetrical, the movement would “read” pretty well.
New photo · Album by Carol McCullough-Dieter

if the view does not play, here is the link:


So you can see the spinning labyrinth, what you haven’t modelled correctly is the path of the figure. You’ve placed the red ball individually in each frame of the spinning labyrinth.

Here’s another way to think about it. As you will know animation is just a sequence of frames each slightly different from the previous. Most people have see a flipbook as a kid.

The trick with 3D zoetropes is to physically (literally!) divide the carousel into Pie Slices, and mentally match each Pie Slice to a frame in your animation sequence.

If your looping gif above is 20 frames long - and there are 20 positions of the red ball in the sequence - then there should be 20 red balls on the carousel at all times, but only one is pictured above.


In principle though, I think something like this could work - with the carousel “ground/background” rotating and the animation actors (20 [or a multiple of 20] of them) “running to stand still” - but it can’t work with a path that goes near the centre of the carousel, because there’s simply not enough room to place the actor frame objects in the narrow portions of the carousel “pie slices”.


I like this “running to stand still” concept! I think I will revise the labyrinth to keep the path around the outer edges, to compensate for the shrinking space near the center. Maybe with a few more variations, I can get this to work!


So, here’s a different layout: it is a spiral. In this story, there is a Buddah statue in the center that spins slowly (it is a single object, not cut up.)
The spiral track runs up to the Buddah, but it is only two layers, so wide enough for the pie slices to hold a figure.
Here is the storyboard:

What you cannot see is that the Buddah drops an orb down to the bottom, and it moves to the outer spiral layer as a glowing ball of energy. You see it appear in slice 4. The ball changes colors and shape and becomes a baby. which starts to crawl, then walk, then run up the spiral. As it approaches the Buddah, the person shrinks into a ball of light and merges into the Buddah. Who sort of lays an energy egg straight down to the bottom, and the orb starts its path again.


Interesting - it reminds me of the “octomadness” zoetrope by the leapfrog 3d printer company:

The Buddah arms would have to be “disconnected” from the Buddah in the same way as that animation’s octopus head and arms were disconnected. The static central figure rotating while the animated arms don’t rotate…