Pin Screen Animation – Jacques Drouin

I’ve been meaning to write some posts on some of the lovely animations available on-line.  I’ll start with one of the lesser known techniques – “pin screen” animation.


detail from Mindscape by Jacques Drouin

Pin screen animation is made using a screen pierced by thousands of headless pins.  The animator creates images on the screen by pushing the pins into the screen.  When the screen is lit from the side, each pin casts a shadow – the deeper the pin is pushed, the smaller the shadow, which made it possible to create images with the subtlest of tones, rather like a delicate charcoal drawing.  This techniques was invented by Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker in the 1930’s.


detail from Mindscape by Jacques Drouin

As you can imagine, this is a very time consuming process and Alexeief and Parker made only a handful of films – and they are worth watching. But the animation I want to show you is by a contemporary animator – Jacques Drouin.

The first one is called “Mindscape” and shows the journey of an artist who climbs into one of his own pictures:

And my favourite pin screen animation incorporates puppet animation – Jaques Drouin and Bretislav Pojar’s “Night Angel”, the story of a young man who loses his sight.  This is a very evocative visual representations of blindness:

The copy I found on youtube is in two pieces.  Part One –

Here is Part Two:

And here is a documentary showing the making of a pin screen animation:

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rishabh
    Dec 03, 2009 @ 08:26:09

    i am very thankful of your site because i need this information for my project

  2. Charles Pitts
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 00:36:58

    My curiosity remains unslaked, because some pencil-necks think they own the information and would rather the public be left ignorant than violate an embargo on truth.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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: