motion parallax


Hey folks, Paul here for MOTION MONDAY! Last week I showed some making-of footage on the film, and I said this week I’d show parallax, which refers to the interplay between distance and perception.

In today’s GIFs, parallax scrolling creates a depth illusion by making foreground elements move faster than background elements.

To illustrate how this adds depth to moving imagery, here are some more GIFs…

With parallax:

Without parallax:

It’s subtle, but the bottom GIF looks more like a flat image scrolling sideways, while the top has more layered depth. This is thanks to parallax.

Contrast between fast and slow motion is a big factor I stress in my animation classes. Here we’ve used that contrast to suggest depth; next week, we’ll show how it can be used to suggest gravity and weight.

I hope you like these GIFs! And if you do, then come back for more… on the next MOTION MONDAY!

How well do rats see the world?

The short answer: Not very well at all

The long answer, is as follows.

To set the scene, human and rat retinas have two types of light receptors: cones are sensitive to bright light and color, and rods are sensitive to dim light and cannot see color.
Us humans have three types of color cones in our retinas. We have “trichromatic” vision, consisting of short-wavelength “blue” cones, middle-wavelength “green” cones and long-wavelength “red” cones.
Rats however, only have two types of cones (called “dichromatic” vision): a short “blue-UV” and the middle “green” cones.

This means the rat’s world is black and white, with hints of green and ultraviolet thrown in there for good measure.

From top to bottom: Human, rat.

As for their depth perception, an experiment in 1970 by Schiffman, discovered that at very short distances, rats switched over to their whiskers more than their eyes. In one test, rats were placed on a sheet of glass. Half the glass was over a platform, and the other half was over a void. This is called a visual cliff experiment. Animals that rely on visual information to perceive depth, like human children, choose to step onto the glass above the platform instead of the glass over the dropoff. Rats, however, chose the deep and shallow side of the glass in equal amounts: they walked fearlessly on the glass suspended over a dropoff. Their whiskers told them there was a solid surface to walk on. In contrast, rats with clipped whiskers stayed away from the dropoff and chose the shallow side, indicating that without their whiskers they were forced to rely on vision to perceive depth.

Rats use relative motion parallax to estimate depth. Whilst humans use binocular vision, rats lack this ability. The method behind motion parallax, is when one moves one’s head from side to side, objects seem to change position relative to each other. Close objects seem to move more than objects that are far away. They do this by bobbing or swaying their heads, much like how a pigeon does.

This allows them to estimate distances and gaps between objects of up to 30cm or more, and leap with relative confidence once their bearings are calculated. The bigger the gap, the bigger the head bobs.

This is also why your fluffy companion wont stray too far away from you into unfamiliar territory, and why you never see wild rats out in the open.

Rats eyes are located on the side of their skulls, with a slight upward tilt. Birds of prey and medium sized mammals, like ferrets and foxes, are their main adversary in the wilderness, so having eyes to the sky and to the side are a huge advantage. Because their vision peters out into nothing but blurry shapes at 51cm, any large moving objects beyond that range can trigger a flight or freeze response - think about how you must look to a rat!

To conclude, rats rely less on vision and more on smell and hearing than we do. They navigate extensively by whisker touch. Having poor vision is not as great a handicap for the rat as it is for a human. Rats live in a rich world of sound smell and touch that enables then to navigate effectively in their world.


Top 10 Albums of 2014

  1. Language by The Contortionist
  2. Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium by Between The Buried And Me
  3. Sun Eater by Job For A Cowboy
  4. The Flesh Prevails by Fallujah
  5. How We Both Wondrously Perish by Being As An Ocean
  6. Muse by Polyphia
  7. Phenomena by Within The Ruins
  8. The Joy of Motion by Animals As Leaders
  9. The Satanist by Behemoth
  10. The Night God Slept by Silent Planet
An excerpt from the zoological text The Hunter’s Encyclopedia of Animals (First Edition).

CHAPTER III: An overview of the desert barroth

The desert barroth (Aratrum limus) is one of two extant species found in the genus Aratrum. This bipedal entomophage measures at 14 meters in length, and weighs 7.3 metric tons. Like many theropods that inhabit the Sandy Plains the barroth is specialized for living in a savanna-desert mosaic, demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting arthropods and its heat-avoidance behavior. It is distinguished from other praesidiosaurs by its prominent crown structure, which houses five redundant nasal passages. Currently, the desert barroth is labeled vulnerable in its conservation status. Its species is confined to a single region, and has become increasingly susceptible to human activities such as defaunation and anthropogenic desertification. In the last decade, efforts from the International Hunters’ Guild have mitigated population decline.

The average lifespan of the barroth is 29 to 34 years, with no distinction in longevity between the sexes. Individuals tend to inhabit areas with ephemeral wetlands and depressions flooded by seasonal rains. When foraging for food, barroths will venture more than five miles from their wallowing sites into the surrounding xeric scrubland and savanna. The barroth is a solitary animal with little tolerance for encroaching predators or conspecifics, charging intruders at speeds of 25 mi/h and flinging projectile mud to encumber them. Ecologically, the barroth is an important organism—as an allogenic engineer, it helps shape the landscape through soil nutrient recycling and foliage trampling. Subterranean insects (like the altaroth) constitute the bulk of its diet. The barroth is a cathemeral animal, although its activity spikes significantly at dusk and dawn when the oppressive temperature has cooled.

Historical interactions with the barroth were predominantly seen by aboriginal peoples of the Sandy Plains, and caravans passing through the area en route to Loc Lac. The bulk of these attacks were the result of people attempting to gather water or bathe near its wallowing site. Territoriality is the sole provocation for all barroth attacks, hence the moderately high fatality rates in human and lynian populations. The constant churning of silt, water, and detritus caused by the barroth’s movements helps enrich and disperse mud. Early peoples revered the barroth because of the versatility of this resource, with its applications ranging from adobe housing to fertilizer. Today, it is still widely regarded as a pillar of desert culture, and this reputation has helped endorse conservation efforts. Historians attribute the rise of the hunting horn as a weapon to the sandpipe, a traditional woodwind instrument fashioned from the barroth’s crown.

Keep reading

Time at the Studio, Chapter One.

Hey Maksyl fam! This is my AU fic where… Well, read on to find out!

I will be introducing Preteen!Charlie the next chapter.

I really really hope you all like this one!

Sending you all my love forever and always!
UPDATE: Chapter two can be found here ! Thank you so much for all the amazing feedback. You all are the best! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meryl had started dancing when she was just three years old.

She’d done various styles of dance through the years of her young life, ranging from hip-hop to ballet to jazz.

Meryl was always taught at the same studio, but every time she’d report to a different room for a new class, she took her time to observe the room. She looked for visual clues as to how far or close things were to her. Looking in the rooms helped with her depth perception problems; she took the time to study what was in front of her so she wouldn’t embarrass herself later in front of her classes.

Meryl hadn’t told anyone about her depth perception problems, save for her kind and understanding dance teachers (and of course, her parents and doctors).

Every time she had a new teacher, they had to be alerted so that they could make the environment ‘safer’ for her. They kept throwing around huge words that she grew to understand as she grew older; monocular cues, motion parallax, binocular clues, etc., and the list went on until it was a laundry list of issues dealing with her eyesight.

She hated feeling as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. She hated feeling like a little kid; “making the environment safe for her” made her feel insignificant.

Meryl just hated feeling weak in general, and she couldn’t stand how some people who knew about her condition treated her.

She made herself strong.

Personality-wise, at least.

No person had ever seen Meryl Davis cry. (Maybe her parents had, but they didn’t quite count on the list because they were her parents.)

No one had ever seen Meryl Davis without an upbeat smile on her face, or without a cheery disposition.

No one had ever seen Meryl Davis fragile and hurting and alone, because she locked that Meryl away for a time where people wouldn’t be watching her.


The first time she noticed him was the second time they were in that particular dance class.

He, apparently, hadn’t shown up for class last time.

(Neither had she, though; she had to get her annual physical for school.)

All the girls her age stared in amazement at the young boy tying his jazz shoes in the corner of the room.

He couldn’t be much older than them; 15, at absolute most.

But a boy taking a dance class? It was almost unheard of in Meryl’s town. It brought a lot of teasing the boy’s way a few weeks ago, Meryl heard from the gossiping group next to her, but somehow the boy managed to be tough enough to deter his bullies completely.

She wondered how he felt to be the object of speculation everywhere. Surely, he knew that everyone in town was probably discussing him. She wondered if he felt lonely.

She wanted to go say something to the quiet boy, but then another, younger boy entered the room and plopped right down next to the first one.

The girls’ whispers intensified.

They look similar, Meryl noted.

Brothers, maybe?

This new, younger boy seemed friendlier than the first.

Just as the thought entered her head, the younger boy caught Meryl staring at him and his quiet companion. He shot her a quick grin.

She smiled back, albeit feeling incredibly awkward about being caught staring.

This new, seemingly-social boy (who Meryl decided she was going to call Smiley) elbowed the quiet one next to him.

Meryl was within earshot to just make out what they were saying to each other.

“Hey, bro,” Smiley said, and once he got the attention of his ‘bro’, pointed his finger directly at Meryl.

She turned her face away immediately, mortified at the fact that Smiley couldn’t keep the whole staring ordeal to himself.

She saw her friends chatting a few feet away and made a break for it.

Anything to get her out of that potentially uncomfortable situation.

“Hey! Zendaya! Jenna! Allie! What’s up, guys?”

The girls were, predictably, talking about the two new arrivals.

Zendaya thought Smiley was “really cute.” Jenna agreed immediately.

Allie wasn’t too impressed with either of the boys.

Meryl just nodded and went along with the conversation, her mind continually drifting back to the quieter boy who she may or may not have begun to feel an attraction towards.

Before long, their dance teacher walked into the room.

Her attitude was bubbly, as it always was, and her loud voice lilted with a sweet Australian accent.

“Good morning, everyone,” she greeted, and the students responded in kind.

“Good morning, Miss Sharna.”

“We have two new students today,” Miss Sharna turned her head, kindly indicating the two boys to the class full of girls as if they hadn’t already noticed.

“Boys, would you like to introduce yourselves? Maybe you could also share a fact or two about yourselves, after you’ve said your names?”

There was no demand hidden in the question, and it was said with a smile.

This was simply a standard ‘teacher’ test of hers to see what these new arrivals were like—to see what they’d add to the class besides testosterone.

Smiley stood up first. Meryl had a feeling he would be the first one up; it seemed like he was all for socializing with the class, which, of course, Meryl agreed with.

“Hi, I’m Valentin,” he began, and Meryl realized with a dull sense of disappointment that she’d now have to call him by his real name. No more Smiley.

“I like the name ‘Val’ better, though, so you all can call me ‘Val’ if you want! This boy here is my brother, but I’ll let him introduce himself. It’s really nice to meet you all!”

He ended the introduction with an award-winning smile.

Meryl was surprised the rest of the girls hadn’t fainted.

They were all definitely enamored with him.

A chorus of “It’s nice to meet you too, Val,”-s echoed through the room, only causing his grin to grow wider.

He tugged Quiet Brother’s elbow so he was standing, while Smiley (okay, fine, Meryl would start to call him Val,) took a seat.

With a breath, Quiet-And-Vaguely-Intimidating Boy began his introduction.

“Hi, everybody; I’m Maks. Val and I are from Ukraine. We just moved here a few months ago, but we can speak English pretty well. It’s, um, nice to meet you all,” the boy spoke quietly, seemingly shy in front of the company he was keeping.

He got silence in return.

No ‘welcome’-s, or anything of that nature.

Are all my friends suddenly shy because he’s older or something?

The boy—Maks—looked a bit downtrodden, but it was like he had been expecting the class’ reaction. His eyes lowered downward, and he was about to sit back down when Meryl decided she’d had enough.

Maybe his introduction hadn’t been as friendly as Val’s had been, but that doesn’t give my friends the right to freeze this boy out just because he seems a bit intimidating.

Meryl couldn’t take the silence.

“It’s nice to meet you, Maks,” she chirped politely, ignoring the looks of surprise from the other girls.

Maks’ head whipped up at the sound of her voice. The beginnings of a genuine smile began to develop on his face.

Wait, what’s that feeling in the pit of my stomach?

I’m probably just hungry or something. I haven’t eaten in, like, two hours.

Yeah, Meryl, that’s it.

“Yeah, it’s nice to meet you too,” he spoke gently, maintaining eye contact.

She willed herself not to blush at the warm tone in his voice, nor at the way his eyes remained on hers.

The other girls blushed enough for her, charmed at his reaction to Meryl’s kindness, and suddenly all the girls spoke up at once.

They began saying their warmest “Welcome, Maks”-s in the hopes of getting a response like he had just given her.

She understood why they had.

What could she say?

All the boys at the girls’ school were jerks, and suddenly, on the weekend, two attractive boys with accents show up at a dance class they all took for fun.

Of course the girls would be eager to flirt with them.

Maks, however, just gave the girls a noncommittal “thank you, everyone.”

His eyes never left Meryl.

Unlike his brothers’, Val’s eyes darted swiftly between Meryl and Maks.

Yet another smile began growing on his face as he watched the interaction between the pair.

Meryl couldn’t figure out why.

Yeah, Val, you’re definitely Smiley to me.

Miss Sharna spoke up, and the class turned to give her their attention.

“Alright, ladies and gents. Let’s get jazzy,” she clapped her hands together as she finished the statement.


Today’s routine was interesting, Meryl reflected on her walk home from dance class that evening. Miss Sharna had the boys doing different choreography whenever the girls had to do pirouettes or chest-popping.

It all looked good together, of course—Miss Sharna was a genius at choreography—but Meryl was a little bit off her game that day. She was more focused on the new arrivals than on the routine.

Are they comfortable? Are they okay with the routine so far? What if they’re too shy to admit they have a problem with the routine? What if they don’t know how to do a certain step? Do they know how to walk home from here? Is it even possible for them to walk home from here? I don’t want them to get lost. Should I offer to walk them home, maybe?

The thoughts plagued her until she reached the front door of the studio.

Staring out the glass, she saw the retreating figures of Maks and Val walking down the same street she had to walk down.

They were maybe a block ahead of her. At most.

Should I yell for them to wait up? Probably not. They don’t know me. They might not want to walk with me anyway.

She began walking, occupying herself instead with the way the bright autumn leaves sprinkled on the sidewalk.

She loved the way they crunched beneath her feet with every step she took.

She swung her dance bag back and forth in her hand, humming a made-up tune to herself.

It wasn’t long before a loud voice broke her from her nature-induced reverie.

“Hey, Ponytail,” a voice had called from up ahead of her, and she blinked, confused.

Sure enough, Val had waved her over to them. He and Maks were waiting at a street corner for her.

“Hey Maks! Hey, Smiley,” she greeted, eliciting a full-blown chuckle from Maks and a huff of mock-hurt from Val.

Well, he had called her Ponytail. It was fair.

“Really? Smiley? I never thought I’d endure name-calling on the first day of dance class. Damn, America is rough.” Val dramatically clasped his hand over his heart.

“You started it. And hey, it’s true! Are you ever not in a good mood?” Meryl joked.

“She’s got a point, bro. You’re smiling 24 freaking 7,” Maks joined in, and Val swatted his brother’s arm.

Meryl almost wished she hadn’t seen the wink Maks shot her after his agreement.

It made her turn 50 Shades of Bright Red and look away quickly.

But it also did strange things to her heart.

Luckily, Val was too into his little soliloquy to notice the flirty exchange.

“My own flesh and blood turned against me! How will my twelve-year-old heart go on after this betrayal?”

Maks snorted. “I think you’ll live.”

“Wait, you’re twelve?” Meryl couldn’t hold back her disbelief.

“Yeah,” he dropped the antics for a minute, explaining, “I am! Maks is fourteen, though, and he thinks he’s better than I am because he’s one and a half years older.”

“Val,” Maks gave a martyred sigh, “you are not twelve ‘and a half.’ There’s no such thing as being half a year old. You’re twelve.”

Val’s eyes implored Meryl for support, but she just had to laugh.
“Sorry, Val, I’m with Maks on this one. I’m thirteen, not thirteen and a half.”

“I should’ve known better than to turn to one of you Americans,” Val pretend-scoffed, clearly joking with her, “always so cold-hearted.”

“I should have known better than to talk with you Ukrainians,” Meryl laughed, “always so difficult to understand.”

Maks got a mischievous glint in his eye.

“Вона щойно сказала, що ми важко зрозуміти?” Maks spoke in rapid-fire Ukrainian.
Did she just say we’re hard to understand?

“Я можу зрозуміти, нам дуже добре!” Val retorted, just as swiftly.
I can understand us just fine!

Meryl was way out of her realm of knowledge here.

“Ця дівчина, здається дійсно здорово, Макс. Вона мені подобається.” Val continued.
This one seems really cool, Maks. I like her.

“Я повністю згоден, Вел. Це не тільки Меріл смішно, але Меріл красиво, занадто! Вона також знає, як мати справу з вами, чого мені ще потрібно вчитися. Любиш нас, Меріл?”
I agree, Val. Not only is Meryl funny, but she’s also beautiful! And she knows how to put up with you, which is something even I need to learn how to do. Do you like us, Meryl?

She realized the question was directed at her when she heard what sounded like the Ukrainian equivalent of her name.

She decided liked it when Maks said her name like that. Actually, she decided she liked it when he (and Val) spoke Ukrainian in general. It had a nice feel to it.

But the boys were expecting a reply. She knew they were doing it to push her buttons, because she couldn’t speak their native language, but she wished she could stun them with some random Ukrainian language skills.

Where was Rosetta Stone when you needed it?

She tried her best to repeat the question in an affirmative tone.

It made the boys laugh even harder.

Oh, no, what had she said?

“Meryl,” Maks was calming down from his laughter. “We asked if you liked hanging out with us.”

“What did I say back?”

“I—it didn’t make sense,” Val interrupted, still laughing.

“You just sound adorable when you’re trying,” Maks explained further, making Meryl blush again.

Eventually, the trio had reached Meryl’s block, and Meryl said her goodbyes to the boys.

She hugged each boy (and maybe she latched on a bit tighter to Maks) and made them promise them to teach her some Ukrainian. Once they agreed, she said she’d see them soon.

Especially, she’d teased, because the Chmerkovskiy boys lived a block away from her.

They agreed immediately.

Walking into her house, she yelled up a greeting to her parents. She was still grinning.

These boys made her feel important.

She couldn’t wait until she’d see them next.