17 Nov 2019, 15:19

Marble Track 3 in a post (on urbit)

Adapted from https://www.marbletrack3.com/about/ I am posting this on my urbit planet ~rabsef-linmyn.

Back in the day, my brother and I used to play with Legos. Over time, our Lego bag collected a few other small toys, including marbles.

We used to use the Lego roof pieces as ramps, down which marbles would roll. Getting them to roll down quickly was easy. How slowly could we get the marbles to roll? Flat planks and ramps allowed marbles to roll down slowly and interestingly.

One day we saw a huge billiard ball track in a science museum in Tennessee. Something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh3AG8Xlh_U

I started making small versions of those tracks during high school. Eventually I started making a track and didn’t stop until I moved to Japan from the US. I asked my friend Maggie to take care of that track until I got back…

After a few years, when it became apparent I would not come back anytime soon, I created Marble Track 2 as a thank you to Maggie. It was my intention to give her Marble Track 2 as a thank you for holding Marble Track 1 for so long.

After it was completed, I posted a video of Marble Track 2 online. http://mt2.robnugen.com/ Comments on the track fell in two main camps: “You wasted your time,” and “Wow that is amazing (how did you make it?)”

To answer both camps, I have embarked on an even more amazing time sink, creating a stop motion animation of pipe cleaner characters building Marble Track 3. The resulting stop-motion video will explain how to make a marble track, piece by piece by piece. The creation of the video has taken a lot of time, rendering baseless the claims that I wasted 8 months making Marble Track 2.

The latest animation can be seen as a YouTube playlist, available at https://mt3s.marbletrack3.com/

At this point, there is no audio in any of the videos in the above playlist. I am considering adding verbal narration to some of the videos. I do not yet know technically how to do it with the apps I have available, but I think it should be easy enough with Blender.

At the current rate, the final full video will be at least an hour long.

Marble Track 3 is a labor of love mishmash of two creative artforms:

kinetic sculpture The marble track itself is a kinetic sculpture for marbles to run down. It is about 10 cm tall at its highest point (as of 17 November 2019). By the time it’s finished, I plan for it to be at least 3x that height.

stop motion animation The construction of Marble Track 3 is being painstakingly documented through stop motion animation.

This answers the frequently asked question about Marble Track 2: “how do you make a marble track?“

but that’s not all Just in case someone asks “how do you make a stop motion animation of the construction of a marble track?” The creation of the animation is being livestreamed, with over 389 hours broadcast as of this writing. Viewers are welcome to watch and vote as we discover questions within the construction.

I usually stream creation of Marble Track 3 live on Youtube on Tuesday (and sometimes Friday) mornings, Tokyo time. https://channel.marbletrack3.com

Some of the previous streams are described at https://www.marbletrack3.com/episode/.

in the future Eventually I want to add audio to the animation… possibly music, dialogue, sound effects..

And I want to add CGI animation behind the animation by rendering something in place of the bluescreen background.