I'm trying to replicate the visual effect of this product box:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

How is this created? What type of materials should I use?

  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not related to GD field
    – Ilan
    Jun 27 '14 at 8:33
  • 2
    Cemetarywind, do you know what chocolate company made the package? Would be nice to edit and include in the question... and I do think this is on topic.
    – Ryan
    Jun 27 '14 at 11:48
  • 3
    ?? Packaging design is 100% a legit branch of graphic design. Good question Jun 27 '14 at 12:43
  • I somewhat agree with @Ilan, this effect is created trough certain use of materials. Still, in my opinion, interesting enough to keep it on here.
    – paddotk
    Jul 1 '14 at 21:47

This is a simple application of the moiré effect. Here's one way to recreate it:

  1. Create a pattern consisting of regular black stripes. For an optimal result, the stripes should be a little bit wider than the transparent gaps between them; here, I used 6px stripes with 4px gaps:

    Stripe mask (60% width black on transparent)

    This pattern will be what you'll print on the transparent screen in front of the package.

  2. Make a copy of the mask, shifted by 50% of the stripe + gap width, and stretch it very slightly. Here, I stretched the mask horizontally by 2px.

    Stretched stripe mask

    When you overlay the two masks, they should be fully opaque, but shifting one of them slightly should cause the gaps to align and the background to show through. The slight stretching ensures that the gaps will align sooner at one end of the mask than at the other, creating the "wave" effect in your examples.

  3. Make some white text on a black background, and overlay the stretched mask on it:

    White text on black background

    Masked text

    This will be what you'll print on the card behind the screen.

  4. With the masked text and the foreground screen aligned, the black stripes in the screen cover the white stripes in the text, causing it to be hidden. Moving the text (or the screen) slightly, however, the white stripes will show through the gaps; because the stripe spacing is slightly different, this will not happen at the same time everywhere:


Ps. For this quick online demo, I used GIMP, but for an actual printed product you'll almost certainly want to use a vector graphics editor, which will give you more precise control over the mask width and placement.

You can also experiment with variations of this technique, such as varying the stripe / gap widths, or with shifting the text mask slightly for each letter in the text instead of just scaling it, which should cause each letter to appear at a different time (and may well be what's actually done in the examples you show above).

Of course, the tricky part, if you want to make this into an actual physical product, will be getting the card and screen properly aligned, so that the text will be initially hidden.


Funny that you ask this - I just saw this for the first time last week myself in book form at a toy store. I searched around for that online and found this:

About Scanimation. In case that page goes away, here's a link to the YouTube video in there.

Not sure if Scanimation is just a brand name or not, but here's their description:

Scanimation is a state-of-the-art six-phase animation process that combines the “persistence of vision” principle with a striped acetate overlay to give the illusion of movement.

The video gives some very brief insight into the process. If someone here has experience with this sort of thing they'll be able to give you a better answer, but hopefully this will point you in the right direction until then.

EDIT: Props to @Ilan for his comment, where he references a tutorial on how to recreate the effect.

P.S. The page I link to above also says "It harkens back to the old magical days of the kinetoscope" - that might be worth looking into as well. People had some innovative ways of animating things before traditional film happened.

  • 1
    great! here is a tute for that animation-tutorials.wonderhowto.com/how-to/…
    – Ilan
    Jun 27 '14 at 12:21
  • @Ilan - Great find! I added the link into my answer. If you (or anyone else) does get the time to write a summary of the tutorial or recreate it - definitely do so and post as a separate answer!
    – Brendan
    Jun 27 '14 at 13:03

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