WhatIsZoetropeA zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greek words zoe, “life” and tropos, “turn”. It may be taken to mean “live turning” or “animation”.

Traditionally, most zoetropes consist of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. On the inner surface of the cylinder is a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures across. The eye’s scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing the illusion of motion.

We at Stage Nine Design have taken this ancient concept into the 21st century and have designed a three-dimensional zoetrope based on similar principles. Rather than relying on a slits in a spinning cylinder, our zoetrope uses strobe lights to freeze the motion happening in front of the audience for split second. The viewers’ eyes essentially act like a camera and appear to take a picture each time the strobes fire, creating the illusion of movement.


About or ZoetropesStage Nine Design can custom fabricate your entire zoetrope experience! We are currently taking new orders for delivery in 2015 and 2016. You tell us the theme, building materials, and animation scheme and we’ll create a one of a kind, awe-inspiring creation for your business or event!

*Custom-designed 3D zoetrope to fit your branding and messaging needs.
*Completely customizable size, cabinet shape, wood selection, finish, platter size, animation scheme, animation tracks, soundtrack and voiceover work.
*New for 2014! Long-lasting 3D-printed polylactic acid (rugged and envirommentally friendly) characters and objects.
*Professional voice acting and soundtrack creation for your brand’s messaging.
*Our zoetropes can be designed with mobility in mind so you can take your zoetrope on the road using a pallet jack or forklift.