Danger! Time-sink ahead

I’m pretty good at finding on-line time-sinks, especially those that make you feel as though you are at least doing something vaguely creative.  And those are the most dangerous of all…

AniBoom Shape Shifter


The Shape Shifter is a free on-line animation machine for creating frame by frame animations.  The challenge is that you can use only  four basic geometric shapes.

You can use a square, a triangle, a circle and a half circle to build up your characters, and then animate them frame by frame.  You would be surprised what complex images you can create.  Its just difficult enough to be satisfying.  And you can always justify the hours spent fiddling with it, because you are honing your animation skills!

Play Film


Once you have exhausted yourself trying to create your own animations, you may wish to sit back and watch some of the classics.

The Film Board of Canada have created an on-line collection of animations for you to browse through at their “play film” site.



OK so I’m stretching the concept of a time-sink a bit, but I could not leave out this collection of animations by Jossie Malis.

Have a look at his Zumbakamera site, where you can see his latest work.  I particularly enjoyed the magnificent “Benditomachine” with its crisp silhouettes and crazy story, and the light hearted stop frame “Sopa”.



A true time-sink has the deadly combination  instant gratification and human contact.  Colourlovers has that, plus the chance to justify your time spent there as productive.  After all, you are  creating colour combinations and  palettes that you will be using in future projects, are you not?  At this site, you get to create your own colours, name them and combine them in colour palettes that your fellow colour lovers can vote for and comment on.  I’ve written a more extensive description here. Besides the allure of the colours themselves, this is by far the nicest on-line community out there.

This Is Sand


If you have spent sufficient time on ColourLovers honing your colour combination skills, maybe you are ready for the more free form version.

This is sand belongs to the strictly meditative school of time-sinks. You use your mouse pointer to “pour” different coloured streams of digital sand, and create your own sand painting.  It takes a very long time to complete one of these images, so play some appropriate chill out music.  To start, click on the little grey square at the top left of the site.



For pure visual inspiration, I have found nothing better than searching my “watch list” on Visualizeus.

This is like a delicious for images.  You can gather and organise your imges with tags, and what is better, search other people’s collections to discover new world of ideas. Visualizeus has helped me find many artists, photographers and illustrators that I had no idea existed.  I’ve written a more extensive post on Visualize us here

Multicolr Flicr Search


But what about searching images by colour, rather than by topic?

This little app lets you search through the Flickr image database by colour.  Its a lot better than the new Google colour search tools, as you can pick from a far wider variety of colours and colour combinations.  Its also quite mesmirizing to see which images turn up for which combinations of colours.

Watch the Titles


And if you are still feeling in need of killing an hour or so, sneak off to “Watch the Titles” for a huge collection of all the best title sequences.

I found new appreciation for the art of the title sequence, particularly the collection of animation based sequences.  You will find quite contemporary movies featured here, as well as the old classics.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Danger! Time-sink ahead
  2. qugrainne
    Apr 11, 2009 @ 20:50:52

    Like I needed more places to get into trouble. Thanks a lot!!

  3. mashadutoit
    Apr 12, 2009 @ 07:33:27


  4. Liz
    Apr 14, 2009 @ 04:36:46

    These are awesome! The only one I knew about already was This Is Sand.

  5. mashadutoit
    Apr 14, 2009 @ 05:18:09

    I know quite a few other ones, but I’ve sort of forgotten where to find them out of self defence

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: