Travels of Code Monkey

Travels of Code Monkey comprises 600 photos of a stuffed monkey, traveling across the world at 12 frames per second, to the tune of Jonathan Coulton‘s song, Code Monkey.

This project has been almost two years in the making, all starting with this forum comment from Colleenky:

OK, this might be a crazy idea. What if I mailed a stuffed monkey to one of you, and you mailed it to another JoCo fan, and so on, until it finally reached JoCo one year from now on JoCo Day 2008? We could set up a Picasa site for pictures of the monkey in every location.

Over the course of the project, Mr. Monkey visited JoCo fans all over the U.S., including Bon and myself in Pittsburgh, and even ventured across the pond to visit fans in Sweden and the U.K. The fans were good enough to document Mr. Monkey’s travels, and upload them to a shared Picasa album. I had the idea almost immediately to put together an animation where Mr. Monkey stays in one place, with a flickering background, à la “Paris Hilton’s Face Never Changes”. I pretty quickly realized though, that most of the pictures being uploaded did not feature Mr. Monkey in the same pose; the distance and viewing angle from the camera varied pretty drastically. This made the problem more difficult, but also much more interesting. Instead of just making a simple gimmick animation where Mr. Monkey stays in one place, I got to create a complex gimmick animation where Mr. Monkey is semi-smoothly animated monkeying his way around the screen!

Development details:

More updates to come. In particular, stay tuned for the release of the monkey animation software, which you can use to animate Mr. Monkey, or any other object you happen to have a lot of pictures of.

Get the code

The monkey animation software is now available on github: EepEepMotion. It’s not incredibly easy to use in its current form, but I’ll continue cleaning it up when time permits.

  1. Jocelyn Vilter
    November 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    So, so wonderful!

  2. manstraw
    November 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I’m almost speechless. This is one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen. To every single person who participated, thank you. This is creative commons at it’s finest.

  3. Rena
    November 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    This video was terrific!

  4. November 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Great work!

  5. sporksmith
    November 24, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Thanks everyone! And yes, creative commons rocks 🙂

  6. November 24, 2009 at 2:16 am

    This is a whole lot of awesome.

    I approve of this video.

  7. Erin
    November 24, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Thanks for putting that together. Fun to watch.

  8. Jon
    November 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Just watched the video and proceeded to devour your posts on the process. As a software developer I have to say I am in awe and yet also inspired. Feel like going away and coding something fun now…

    You sir, are fantastic. Keep it up, and thanks!

    • sporksmith
      December 5, 2009 at 1:12 am

      Thanks! Glad to have inspired someone to go make something 🙂

  9. March 28, 2010 at 2:02 am


    This is really amazing, I’m interested in doing this with my cat! (probably wont be round the world though!)

    I sent you a message to your Youtube account, let me know what you think.


  10. February 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!

  1. November 27, 2009 at 5:47 am
  2. May 16, 2012 at 1:53 am
  3. March 28, 2020 at 4:30 pm

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