The Art of Illusion: How Heather Lowe Crafted Motion Magic with the Silent Firgelli Actuator

Creating Motion in Art: The Silent Firgelli Actuator's Role in Lenticular Masterpieces

Lenticular artwork

The journey of an artist is one of innovation, resilience, and a continuous search for perfection. For Heather Lowe, a visual artist working in lenticular, the road to achieving the desired animation in her artwork was paved with challenges. But every setback was a setup for the extraordinary masterpiece she eventually created.

Understanding Lenticular Art

Lenticular art employs an intriguing optical effect. It consists of an interlace print laminated to the back of a ribbed lens. As a viewer walks by, this assembly creates an illusion of animation. Heather, however, observed a heightened animated effect when the print moved freely across the lens as opposed to being fixed. That observation birthed an idea: Why not integrate movement into the artwork?

Initial Experiments and Challenges

Starting with a basic setup, Heather glued a wood block to the back of a mounted print and attached a linear actuator. While this was a step in the right direction, the actuator was oversized for the frame and didn't provide the desired effect. Collaborating with Martin Van Diest, they sought a more compact and efficient solution. Their experimentation led them to a smaller actuator with specific parameters.

Lenticular Art using a gear motor that was too larger for the frame

Their new design included a custom wooden drawer with a channel that facilitated the print's smooth back-and-forth movement. An Arduino board was incorporated to control this movement. However, they faced issues. The motion was jittery, and worse, the actuator was noisy, disrupting the tranquil art viewing experience.

using a micro actuator thats too noisy

The Silent Firgelli Revolution

Determined to overcome these challenges, Heather's research led her to the Silent Firgelli Micro Linear Actuator. It was a game-changer. Not only did it provide the silent and smooth motion she desired, but the Firgelli website offered invaluable resources, from controlling the actuator's movement to coding and schematics.

using a FIRGELLI Silent actuator is the perfect solution

With Martin's expertise, they enhanced the system further, integrating a motion sensor at the top of the frame. This brilliant addition meant the artwork would activate upon detecting a gallery visitor, making the experience interactive and mesmerizing.

Final Masterpiece

After numerous iterations and refinements, Heather's vision came to life. The result was “Silent Firgelli,” a stunning 26” x 12” x 3” lenticular piece from 2023 that effortlessly moved to create a captivating illusion of animation. A testament to innovation, perseverance, and the transformative power of the right tools, Heather's piece stands as a beacon for all artists seeking to push the boundaries of their craft.

To truly grasp the beauty and intricacy of “Silent Firgelli,” you must see it in action. Check out the two videos linked below - the noisy beginnings and the silent, enchanting end.

From challenges to triumphs, from noisy motors to silent actuators, Heather Lowe's journey with “Silent Firgelli” reminds us all: with persistence, collaboration, and the right tools, art can move, not just our hearts but quite literally before our eyes.

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