From falling cherry blossom leaves to a rabbit pounding mochi rice, these incredible slit animations are absolutely mesmerising.

Japan is well-known around the world for having some of the brightest stars in the industry when it comes to movie animation and character design. Now, a Japanese company is going all the way back to the roots of the moving image, wowing everyone with their take on a simple concept that predates all of today’s flashy 3-D graphics and computer generated images.

Taking its name from its area of expertise, Slit Animation has created an amazing collection of printed images that appear to move when a transparent sheet with evenly-spaced black bars is placed over them. As you can see from the company’s video below, the concept might be simple but the results are absolutely beautiful.

The moving effect comes from the principle of the linear zoetrope, a device that uses black lines over a series of closely connected still pictures, which appear to move as the viewer walks by the image. A slit animation or kinegram combines this concept with a series of overlapping lines on paper called moire patterns, which spring to life when an acetate overlay with vertical stripes is placed over them and slowly moved from one side to the other.

▼ The moire pattern looks static on the page, but when the slits are moved over it, a rabbit appears, pounding mochi rice on the moon.


This depiction of the rice-pounding bunny that Japanese people see on the surface of the moon is just one of a number of traditionally-inspired images produced by the company.

▼ There’s a picture of a girl standing beneath a flurry of falling sakura petals.


▼ And a woman in a traditional outfit at a festival.


While the series of prints featured in the video are the company’s most sought-after, Still Animation has an enormous collection of kinegrams on offer. For Pocky Day on 11 November, the company even produced this cute clip, using a series of Pocky sticks in place of the usual overlay to give movement to the patterns on the page.

With so many unique and innovative designs to choose from, Slit Animation prints are a great way to share the wonders of the moving image with family and friends. To see more of their amazing works, visit their Twitter account or YouTube channel, or if you’d like to purchase some prints for yourself, check out their official website for more details.

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: YouTube/Slit Animation
Insert images: YouTube/Slit Animation