When you start to play this video, you’ll see a line bouncing around the screen. But if you pause it, the line vanishes. Chris Long explores this strange persistence of vision effect, which occurs when a line of pixels changes state between black and white. The method can also be used to share hidden text that can only be seen when the video is playing.
Awesome Black And White
Here’s a different take on Disney’s Steamboat Willie now that it’s in the public domain. d o g took Ub Iwerks’ 1928 classic cartoon and converted it into retro pixel art animation. You can play the video now, or, of you’re feeling more ambitions, load up the DOSbox emulator and load this XDV file into XDC Play.
Do you like challenging jigsaw puzzles? This detailed monochrome image of gears should keep you busy for a while. The 1000-piece puzzle has precision-cut curved pieces that radiate out from its center. Unlike other circular puzzles we’ve seen, this one has no color coding or lettering on the back to ensure it remains difficult.
Fumi Games’ FPS combines the black-and-white, rubber hose animation style of 1930s cartoons with high-intensity action. Think Cuphead meets Serious Sam. It doesn’t drop until 2025, but this early gameplay footage is promising. Add it to your Steam wishlist today. In case you’re wondering, Mickey’s Steamboat Willie look loses copyright protection in 2024.
Tattoo artist Allan Graves created this awesome series of zines celebrating horror illustrations and advertising from the 1970s and 1980s. Each issue has 100 pages packed with gruesome and graphic imagery that is definitely not for kids. Monsterama #4 hits 8.30.2023, and you can grab the first three issues here.
Filmmaker Conner Griffith scanned more than 1400 vintage engravings to create this meditative short film. It tells a series of abstract stories by isolating objects into individual frames. Conner’s effective sound design helps drive it along. The entire library of public domain images is available for download here.
Nike offers a fresh take on its classic 1990s b-ball shoe, with a graphical treatment that looks like a rippling pool of monochrome liquid. Made from molded polyurethane for structure with an Air Zoom unit for responsive cushioning on the court. Drops 3.31.23 at 9am ET.
Filmmaker Jennie Williams takes us to the Northern reaches of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, to look at a New Year tradition of the Nunatsiavut, the region’s Inuit people. During the festival, locals emerge from the sea in tattered clothes and scary masks to bring gifts to the good children and chase down the bad kids.
Diatomic studio created and directed this compelling black-and-white short film which uses basic geometric shapes to create hypnotic visuals. By combining, rotating, moving, and scaling the individual objects, hypnotic patterns come to life. Watch it once from a distance, then watch it again, focusing on an specific point.
This fantastic short film by Fabrice Mathieu tells the tale of a shadow who finds himself frustrated with the actions of his wearer and decides to do something about it. Told using black-and-white footage from more than 60 films, the story unfolds much like a classic film noir, with plenty of action and intrigue.
Long before Dude Perfect was posting trick shot videos on YouTube, bowler Andy Varipapa was knocking down pins with such skill that he could target specific pins on two separate lanes at the same time, throw backward strikes, and even bowl with his foot. This vintage newsreel’s voiceover is as entertaining as the bowling.
Pop artist Mr. Doodle turned his entire house into a canvas. Between September 2020 and September 2022, he covered virtually every surface inside and out with his black and white doodles. Along the way, he used more than 900 liters of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint, and 286 bottles of black ink, and 2296 pen nibs.
Jake Wegesin of Ambient Press created this wonderful CG short film about the space race of the 1950s and 1960s, offering a playful reinterpretation of the competition between the USA and USSR. Benjamin Widawksi’s music and the accompanying narration perfectly complement the black-and-white animation.
Today’s movie VFX rely on green screen and CGI, but in silent movie times, neither of those existed. Pedro Cinemaxunga created this fascinating analysis of vintage moviemaking techniques that shows how in-camera effects managed to fake out audiences. We always thought Harold Lloyd was really hanging from that building.
DP Truong continues to show off his creative illustration techniques with a beautifully shaded black-and-white illustration of Black Panther’s Princess Shuri made from thousands of individual dots. While drawing with his right hand, he tapped out a count of each dot with his left using a smartphone app.
Revisit the early days of desktop computer graphics with BeyondLoom’s browser-based drawing tool. Like the original MacPaint, DitherPaint has just two colors – black and white. It includes a variety of brushes, and a number of patterns to add flair to your 1-bit masterpieces. It also has a handful of animated patterns.
Artist Thomas Blanchard has wowed us with his captivating and unsusual visuals. In the music video for Sébastien Guérive’s ambient track Omega II, Blanchard swaps his typically vibrant colors for the light, shadow, and detail of monochrome imagery, while telling an abstract story about the circle of life.
Artist Ben Vessey created this awesome set of icons that transform iOS devices into a classic Apple Macintosh. The set includes more than 110 monochrome pixel icons in dark and light themes and six wallpapers. While the set covers many popular apps, Ben also offers a premium edition that includes five custom app icons.
In 1951, Laurel & Hardy made their final movie, Atoll K (aka Utopia). The production was a disaster, and the finished film a disappointment. Film buff Joe Ramoni at Hats Off Entertainment worked tirelessly to re-cut the best footage and replaced the soundtrack, resulting in a fun slapstick comedy reminiscent of the duo’s classics.
Graphic designer Sean Tejaratchi creates books densely packed with black-and-white images scrounged from vintage catalogs, advertising, and obscure books. They’re reminiscent of old clip-art books but cleverly incorporate social commentary. Can’t decide which one to get? Go for the 544-page Big Book of Unhappiness.