Make: Projects

The Pizzoetrope

How to recreate an animated GIF on a pizza.

The Pizzoetrope

Pizza: Baked, flat, round bread, with tomato sauce, cheese, and various other toppings.

Zoetrope: A device that creates the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static images.

Animated GIF: A digital image file popular on the world wide web for displaying short, repetitive animations.

"The Pizzoetrope" is a project that developed from my interest in the popularity of pizza on the internet and the way that popular culture is celebrated, especially on social networking sites like tumblr, by converting moving images into animated GIFs (including moving images of pizza; cowabunga!).

The Pizzoetrope presents the potential opportunity to experience your favorite GIF animations from the internets on a pizza in real life and in your stomach.

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Steps

Step #1:

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The Pizzoetrope

Materials: Record player, strobe light (with an adjustable flash speed), record (that you don't mind ruining), a piece of soft foam tile, all-purpose glue, cutting board, a sharp knife, pizza pan, pizza (I used frozen pizza because it was perfectly round and fit on the pan), toppings, cookie cutters (optional)

Step #2:

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The Pizzoetrope

When the pizza comes out of the oven the pan is going to be hot! Cut the soft foam tile into pieces and glue it to the record (that you don't mind ruining). The soft foam tile can tolerate a lot of heat and will grip the bottom of the pan so that you can place the hot pan directly onto the record player when it comes out of the oven and the record player will be able to spin without the pan slipping.

Step #3:

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  • Once you find an animated GIF that you'd like to recreate on a pizza, open the GIF in an editing program (there are some online if you don't have one on your computer). Separate the GIF into frames that you can make into toppings on the pizza. You can make a mock-up of the pizza by printing out the frames and gluing them to a piece of cardboard, which you can put onto the record player to make sure that your animation will work when you put it on the pizza.
  • If you want to make your own animations you can also try cutting out shapes (maybe using a cookie cutter) and positioning each shape at a slightly different angle around the edge of the pizza.

Step #4:

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Cut our all the images you'll need for your animation. You can make a pattern to cut out around or try using a cookie cutter to make your shapes.

Step #5:

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Put the pizza in the oven and let the cheese melt a little bit so that it is evenly distributed over the surface of the pizza. Place the toppings around the edge of the pizza keeping the spacing as even as possible to ensure that the animation will be smooth.

Step #6:

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The Pizzoetrope

When the pizza is done baking, take it out and put it directly onto the record that you've prepared on the record player and turn the record player on (you can experiment to find out what rotation speed will work best for your animation). Turn the lights out and turn on the strobe light. Sync up the speed of the strobe light with the speed that the pizza is rotating to find the timing that makes the animation look best. Enjoy watching an animated GIF on a pizza!

Step #7:

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The Pizzoetrope

Eat the pizzoetrope.

Conclusion

There are physical limitations to what kind of imagery it is possible to recreate on a pizza. It will probably take a little bit of experimentation to figure out what kinds of animations will work on your pizza. As if you needed an excuse to eat more pizza.


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