Single Panel Sprint
Using Speed Echoes or similar in a single image to show quick movement
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-10 19:35:14 sponsor: Bisected8 (last reply: 2012-06-27 06:40:55)

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[[caption-width-right:350:The Flash: Quick enough to run down streets in a single panel!]]

A Single Panel Sprint is when a Comic Book artist (this can be used in other sorts of static image, but comics tend to be where they crop up the most often) shows a character moving rapidly by drawing a wide shot of a scene and adding multiple images of a moving person or object to show them travelling across it quickly. Speed Echoes are a popular way to do this (since they also have the advantage of making it clear that it's showing movement and not spontaneous cloning) but perfectly good examples which use solid drawings for every position also exist.

This is a very useful technique, as comics inhabit an odd medium (pun unintended) between animation and prose. Unlike the former they can't show actual movement to the viewer, but unlike the later they can't describe it and leave it all up to the reader's imagination either. This means that the artist (and the writer, to a lesser extent) has to take care to make sure that characters (and objects) move naturally between panels. This trope allows a character to be shown moving from A to B without having to either slow things down by showing them moving across multiple panels or not showing it at all (which might work in some cases, but usually ends up being jarring and might be mistaken for a continuity error).

A subtrope of Speed Echoes. For other ways of showing movement in static images see Speed Lines.
Examples:

  • Seen It a Million Times, but I'm drawing a blank and the only ones I can find are from how-to-draw sites and books rather than actual comics.

Comics

Manga
  • Extremely common in shonen series because of their emphasis on action.
  • In Bleach, this trope is used several times. Some to such an extent that the images can move more or less at the same time, acting as copies.

Non-sequential image based media examples
  • Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: when the guys all get invited to Penny's Halloween party they all end up dressing like The Flash. Raj suggests they stay together all evening one behind the other in order to simulate the Flash's Speed Echoes. Leonard says that's stupid.
  • The book Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up calls this a "strobe shot" (and includes a picture of a Shaolin Monk running across a room to kick off a Mecha-Mook's head as an example).
  • In photography, this sort of image is called a "sequence shot". They're typically made using apps on a smartphone (or special camera settings) or by simply editing several photos which were taken in rapid succession together (so that the moving object is the only difference between them).
    • Diagrams of this type are sometimes called "strobe diagrams" since such photographs can also be made by taking a photo with a strobe flash (which exposes moving objects multiple times on the film, leaving ghost images).

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