8 Frame 3 Color Block Printed Animation

Building off my first project with the GF I decided to iterate it into something more challenging: animation.

To recap the process: I engrave 3 separate wood blocks for each frame: one for each color to appear in the final print. I think run them through my roller press to get prints on paper.

Where my first tiny target print used 3 basic circles at 2" each, this project required 24 separate blocks with much finer detail than before. Each block took around 30 minutes to engrave. It then took half the day yesterday to run my first round of prints, which is honestly much quicker than expected.

Here are the blocks and prints stacked together.

And here’s the set of them all animated together:

It’s jumpy because it’s only 8 frames. It’s based on a processing script that randomly generates little clumps of circles that expand outwards. I’ll now mount it onto pages to be sewn into its own book.

In future prints I’ll probably replace the light green with a brighter color to stand out more but overall I’m happy. As a test of the precision of the GF machine I think it passed with flying colors.

On using draftboard, none of the blocks have shown any signs of warping yet but the process of washing the blocks after printing is wet and it feels inevitable that they’ll even after spraying them with an acrylic varnish. I’d probably switch to delrin but I don’t really want to work with plastics until I’m much more confident in my venting system. Also, on a few of the finest lines broke off when I was taking the protective tape off after engraving. That mostly hasn’t been an issue, though.

EDIT: I fixed the animation so the background white didn’t change color each frame


Cool! It looks so retro, like something from a 60’s TV show.



That is so cool!




Wow–I just love your wood block printing! The accuracy of registration is incredible. Keep 'em coming!


That is friggin’ amazing!

Your intersection of Processing, laser, and print is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!


Wow! Really cool and impressive.

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Love what you have done. You just gave more ideas to incorporate into projects. Thanks so much for sharing

Very fun!

Wow! Just wow.

This is impressive, inspiring, and just beautiful. The registration looks perfect! I’ve never tried multi-color block printing but you’ve got me thinking about it.

If you’re worried about warping, or breakage if you plan to do more intricate cuts, you may want to consider printing off a PPP (photosensitive printing plate) and use your GF to cut a stencil to make the PPP. Boxcar Press is a good source for metal backed PPPs, and here’s a link to a great tutorial on how to make them: http://www.silverclayart.com/ppplates-instr.htm. It’s hard to print transparencies dark enough to make really detailed plates, but cutting out a light-blocking stencil is easy. This end user is making the plate to create texture in metal clay, but the primary users of PPPs are high end printers. Good luck!

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Too talented! and creative. Your ability to see and then create this work is a gift! Kudos!