Apparent Movement

When one stationary object is replaced by another stationary object, the change between the two objects may be perceived as the movement of a single object. This creates apparent movement.

Film and video rely on this principle. When real world actual movement is photographed onto film or video, it's transformed into a series of still pictures. Film and video can play back these still pictures at 24 or 30 fps (frames per second), and the pictures appear to move, but the movement is apparent, not actual. To prove it, we can "freeze frame" or "step" through the film/video frames and see each still picture individually. Animation is made up of a series of individual drawings or pictures which, when shown at 24 or 30 fps, appear to move.

Apparent movement also occurs in the real world. Rows of lightbulbs on outdoor signs can blink in a specific sequence. When the rate of blinking is fast enough, the lights seems to "chase" or move along the row of bulbs.

A series of stationary neon arrows on a lighted sign can give the appearance of a single moving arrow. If each arrow is lit for a short time in rapid succession (indicated by the numbers 1 through 4), the arrow appears to move.

The movement is apparent, because there's no actual movement at all, only a series of rapidly changing stationary pictures.

+1 0


  • Amalda
    Why does an animated neon sign appear to move even though there is no actual movement?
    2 years ago

Post a comment