Mesmerizing Animation Made Entirely of Wood Transforms into Weightless Sand

Get ready to sit back and enjoy the mesmerizing sight of wood grain as it glides across your screen. Though that might sound totally banal, it's anything but. Called WoodSwimmer, the brief stop motion animation follows a piece of raw wood as it travels through a milling machine. In a series of graceful movements, the irregular rings, knots, and shifting colors fill the frame with life-like abstract forms. At times, the hunk of wood resembles grains of fine sand that's carried away by a gentle breeze.

WoodSwimmer is the work of engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell with musician and animator bedtimes. On Vimeo, Foxwell explains how the fascinating film was made, and it’s nothing short of meticulous. “The sequences are cross-sectional photographic scans of pieces of hardwood, burls and branches,” he describes. “It is a straightforward technique but one which is brutally tedious to complete.” In doing this, they were able to capture the entire structure in a myriad of eye-catching ways. “Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot,” Foxwell told Colossal, “I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

In the stop motion animation called WoodSwimmer, a piece of raw wood makes its way through a milling machine. The results are mesmerizing.

Throughout the short film, we see the rigid material dance across the frame.

At times, the wood looks more like sand.

Check out the entire video, below.

Engineer and animator Brett Foxwell has a selection of images from WoodSwimmer available as prints.

Wood Stop Motion AnimationWood Stop Motion AnimationWood Stop Motion AnimationBrett Foxwell: Website | Instagram | Facebook
WoodSwimmer: Vimeo

h/t: [Colossal]

All images, GIFs, and video via Brett Foxwell.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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