Mad Teddy's website - animated surfaces

Mad Teddy's web-pages


Animated surfaces

Just for fun!

Rotating monkey saddle    Ripples (believe it or not)    Hyperactive flatworm

When I bought my first computer (a Commodore 64 ), I was fascinated by the idea of doing some graphics programming. I'd always liked 3D computer images of mathematical surfaces, and so it was with great relish that I made the first moves toward generating some of my own.

Unfortunately, as you'll know if you've ever been a C-64 owner, programming graphics on that machine involved quite a bit of "mucking about". You had to learn lots of PEEK's and POKE's, and you were limited as to what you could do with colour - unless you were a whiz programmer. Also, C-64 BASIC was S-L-O-W !

However, I persisted; and I produced some quite nice stuff, if I may say so. Of course, the C-64's 320200 resolution wasn't great, but it was adequate for a first-timer; never having had anything flashier, I was quite happy with what I was doing. I always thought, however, that... someday...

That day came. A PC with a decent version of BASIC running on it was a gateway to doing some quite respectable graphics. Then, with the coming of the internet and associated things like GIF's and GIF animators, the door was finally opened to a fairly easy way to produce animations.

It still involves a bit of "mucking about", but it's worth it. So what if animated GIF's are a bit "old hat" or "retro" now? I'm still a fan of them, in case you haven't already noticed!

Just a bit about the animations themselves:

1. Rotating monkey saddle

Ever since I first ran across this surface in an advanced calculus textbook at university, I was amused by the mental image of a monkey on horseback, using a special saddle with allowance made for a tail.

(Perhaps jockeys should grow tails. They could then thrash them from side to side and use them as whips, thus having both hands free to hang on for dear life! )

By the way - if we remove all but one of the closed curves which make up the monkey saddle, and move our vantage point so that we are looking at the rotating curve from the side, guess what we get? The rotating 1:3 Lissajous figure from the previous page - the old ABC logo!

2. Ripples (believe it or not)

A book on C-64 graphics programming, "Commodore 64 Graphics and Sound" by Steve Money (Granada, 1984), first turned me on to the idea of attempting this. Very soothing to watch, I find - although some people think that the pointy bit appearing in the middle every cycle looks a bit yucky! (You can see a scanned printout of the C64 graphic which inspired this animation on my Humpty Dumpty Book page.)

UPDATE, Saturday, 6th March 2010

A slightly scaled-down version of the "ripples" animation now appears within each of my "ZPE research" pages, to suggest the presence of the zero-point energy which is the subject of those pages. Click here to visit the menu page for this part of my site; you'll see two copies of the animation near the top - and similarly for all the ZPE-related pages whose links appear there.

UPDATE, Friday, 30th July 2010

If you'd like to see my original 640480 version of this animation (just over one megabyte) - which, as I write this, is currently gracing my Windows desktop as its wallpaper - click here. (I can't imagine why I've never posted this before - still, better late than never, I suppose! )

3. Hyperactive flatworm

If you've been to an aquarium, or watched aquatic wildlife programs on TV, you may have seen those weird creatures that get about by muscular contractions of their edges - though not, as a rule, quite as rapidly as suggested here! (The program I used was a modification of the one I used to create the frames for the monkey saddle.)

UPDATE, Saturday, 5th July 2008

Recently I noticed that the link just given no longer works. I sent an email to the creator of that page, who has informed me that the page has moved here. At the moment, the move is not yet complete, with some photographs not yet in place. The original page was beautiful, and I have no doubt that the new one will be also when it's finished - do check it out!

UPDATE, Friday, 30th July 2010

I've just tried to revisit that page, without success - so perhaps it's gone (I might try it again later). In the meantime, however, I've discovered another delightful website with some very attractive pictures of beasties of the type to which I'm referring, plus lots of other equally intiguing aquatic critters - click here to see it.

No quaternions were harmed or injured during
the production of these animations.

To close, here's a still photograph of a strange, mountainous little island...

(You can click on it to see the original 640480 version.)

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