Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity
Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity

I am reposting this work to improve the response and the annotation.


What I have done this week?

For this week’s response of advanced play design of Play and Body, I have worked and created a hand shadow puppet show. The hand shadows in this show portray various sorts of animals speaking funny things just like humans. I have tried to portray how animals talk to each other. I searched for funny things that people have spoken and collected various audio. Furthermore, I compiled them to create one audio and then I did the hand shadow animal puppet show with my own hands to give the illusion that it is the animals who are talking and having a conversation with one another.

Why I have done it this week?

As this week’s response was play and body and I wanted to use body in this week’s theme in a playful way, I used my own hands to depict the body of an animal trying to speak something and have a conversation to another animal. I felt this was a playful idea to use my own hands to create something which looked like another creature’s body and then show some conversation between them.


For inspiration for this project, I researched on the internet and thought about multiple directions on what to do for this topic. As I iterated and refined my concept, I arrived at a concept of a hand shadow show. My inspirations for this project are:

  • Prahlad Acharya, who is a magician, illusionist and a stunt performer, from Karnataka, India. He has done multiple works of hand shadow puppets and he performs a lot of shadow play. He has performed on multiple platforms and received many awards too for his work in the field.
  • Works of Albert Almoznino, who is a hand shadow artist from Israel. He is a very famous artist and has performed on multiple big platforms across the world in front of thousands of people. He has also released a book of his own, known as ‘The Art of Hand Shadows’. The book illustrated how to make various shadow characters like the ones he makes himself. He only works with a single source of light and a white wall or a screen and performs excellent hand shadow works.
  • Works of Raymond Crowe, who is an Australian entertainer. He is also a mime artist and a magician. He does a lot of work of shadow play using his hands and arms.
  • Hand shadow works by Felicien Trewey, who is a French magician, mime artist, dancer, musician and a shadow artist. His works include a lot of shadow art works and he has performed across huge platforms


In order to create this hand shadow puppet show, I researched online and learnt how shadow animals can be made with hands. I have not done this before, so I had to see some videos and pictures on the internet in order to learn how to do it. I further searched for funny human and animal conversations on the internet and came across many, so I downloaded them and combined the audio in order to create a full one minute audio. When the audio was finalised, I decided what sort of animal needs to be depicted in what type and conversation in terms of background audio. I used my hands to create hand animal shadows and give an illusion of the animals speaking as per my selected audio. I did not have a camera or a tripod to shoot these hand shadows and I was alone, so I used my phone’s camera and some boxes as tripod in order to shoot these hand animal shadows speaking. I took these videos to Adobe After Affects and Adobe Premiere Pro in order to edit them. I also worked on a zoo border for this video to give an illusion that these animals are in a zoo. I searched for various vector sources online and compiled them to create the border and apply it to the video.


As I worked on this project and I researched, I came to a realisation that this work is a part of the Surplus energy theory, as proposed by Spencer and Schiller in the year 1873. As per this theory, when people find measures and ways to discharge their energy through play, it becomes a part of this theory. Working on this project has helped me to portray how a puppet animation works. Through this animation, I was able to use and depict my hands in a playful and an entertaining way and I was also able to learn a new kind of art by working on this project. This was a really fun process and I had lots of fun doing this. Thus this project can constitute a part of this theory, as I used my own energy to play and respond to this week’s topic.

I read about animal play and I came across a quotation from Robert Fagen’s who has also written a book on animal play called, ‘Animal Play Behaviour’ in the year 1981:

“Play occurs in only a small minority of Earth’s million or more species. Animal play is easy to recognise. Specific movement qualities and signal patterns characterise the familiar play behaviour of cats, dogs and human children as well as the play of the other animals. Mammals and birds, and perhaps a few fishes and reptiles are the only kinds of animals known to play”

This quote from Robert Fagen made me feel that this project is an idea of play because, I have been playing with my hands in order to portray animal interaction and I have experimenting in various ways In order to create this video.

This project helped me work technically, as I did not have a lot of equipment to shoot this, but I learnt how to use available things to make something good out of it. This project also helped me think conceptually as I had been thinking on how to use body as a response and I thought that our own hands and its shadow are a part of our own body. Furthermore, using my own body to depict another creature’s body and mouth and create a conversation was a fun challenge, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This allowed me to understand that as per the thirteen categories of pleasure, as proposed by Karl Groos, Roger Callois, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Peirre Garneau and Marc LeBlanc, this work belongs to the creation, exploration and discovery categories, as it has allowed me to explore, discover and work creatively. I also feel that this project also sits in the Relaxation and recreation theory, as proposed by Lazarus in the year 1883 and Patrick in the year 1916, as the purpose of this project is only to bring relaxation and peace to the person.

This project has been really fun and interesting for me to make. In the future, I can also plan to iterate and develop this project further and work on it I could also compile various sorts of found sounds in order to work on this and create hand shadow puppet shows.


  • Brian Sutton Smith, 1997, ‘The ambiguity Of play’, second edn, Harvard university press, London England
  • Brigid Costello, Ernest Edmonds, 2007, A study in play, pleasure and interaction design, Helsinki, Finland

About This Work

By Samridhi Handa
Email Samridhi Handa
Published On: 26/10/2020