What kind of pens do animators use

Pinscreen animation

The Pinscreen animation (also: 'nail board animation') is a technique that is certainly one of the most impressive, but also most complex, that stop motion has to offer. With the Pinscreen animation but you can also achieve magical and unique effects that no other animation technique can achieve.

The pinscreen is a kind of screen that is perforated with thousands of small pens. A lamp casts a light on one side of the screen. The animator now pushes out the nails according to his ideas. Depending on how far they are pushed out, they give off shadows that ultimately result in the picture. So by pushing the pens out, they create different shades of black, white, and gray that result in a figurative or abstract image that is captured.

The nails have a slight resistance to prevent any unintentional changes. Now parts of the pens are carefully advanced, another picture is taken ... This procedure is repeated countless times. This rather lengthy production creates a sequence of images that can represent an organic process.

While the white screen that is illuminated gets darker with more pens pushed out, conversely it gets darker again. The animator then plays with these fine tones and produces picture by picture. This is very complex, but thanks to all these accentuated shading effects, it is possible to create a drama and poetry that is characteristic of pinscreen animation.

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