Archive for the ‘Stop Motion News’ Category
Wallace and Gromit ( Nick Park ) are supporting the National Trust Charity in the UK with a short stop motion animation.
Its a summer of celebration ( Queen Elizabeth 60 years reign )to bring an exclusive new mini animation, A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon.
The animation shows the much-loved duo preparing for their Jubilee celebrations and we’ll be showing it on big screens at our tea party events this summer.
Visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallaceandgromit to find out more.
Here is a short interview with Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham about the mini animation…..
Merlin Crossingham: Hello! Welcome to Aardman! This is where we’re making our film.
Nick Park: I think it’s a great marriage for Wallace and Gromit in the National Trust to get together like this because they’re both very British institutions. It’s a great privilege and honor for Wallace and Gromit to be chosen to be involved in all the things British this year because they are often described as a British institution.
Merlin Crossingham: We take the script and we create a story board, a graphic representation, a little bit like a comic strip of the action that then leads us up into the production where we get the sets built, we start bringing the puppets in. Everything in Wallace and Gromit’s world is handmade. So for production of this size, the run up in preparation to shooting was about 6 weeks. That’s really quite tight for us. Once everything is ready, the animation crew steps on to the floor to complete a minute of film, we have 3 animators working flat out for 3 weeks. Wallace and Gromit are a challenge. Gromit because he doesn’t have any dialogue to hide behind, his performance needs to be surprisingly subtle. And with Wallace, he’s pretty bald and he’s pretty hammy in the way that he delivers his performance and that’s largely a lot of his comedy comes from. So, once the animation is finished, we go into post production and then it’s the stage really where all the final parts come together to make a lovely coherent film.
Nick Park: I’ve always loved visiting National Trust puppeteers. One of my favourite place is that I’ve visited, in fact, I took a team of people to visit for doing research for Curse of The Were-Rabbit, was Montague house. We did kind of vaguely base Tottington Hall on Montague house. I think the National Trust would have more than its fresh air of jobs Wallace could get up to. Gromit loves the British countryside. He’d love the heritage, British heritage.
Merlin Crossingham: We fit together so very well Wallace and Gromit in the National Trust. We kind of have the same values and a great sense of humor.
Stop Motion and LEGO have been synonymous for years now. So many Brickfilms or LEGO Animations out there to choose from. I came across a really interesting interview with three creative artists working with LEGO. Sean Kenney,Alex Kobbs and Nathan Sawaya.
I have transcribed the video narrative here for your enjoyment. All rights to the producers here.
Sean Kenney: There’s something just natural about the way two Lego pieces click together. It just feels right for that moment those two things are perfect and they’re meant for each other.
With the Lego, you can create art. You can create films. You can create models. You can make something functional. You can make something that you can wear.
Nathan Sawaya: Everyone has snapped together a Lego brick at one time or another. It’s such a great feeling just hear that click.
Sean Kenney: Lego has always been a big part of my life. It’s something very tangible. It’s less austere than an oil painting or a bronze sculpture. And because of that, it connects with people in a way that I think art is supposed to. If you look at a computer screen, it’s just a bunch of colored squares if you zoom all the way in. And so I thought, “Well, you can do that with Lego bricks. You can create a mosaic.” So I decided that I was going to take this to another level. I’ve done portraits of a mother and a child together or a father and a child together. They’re so powerful because you can see the bond between parent and child. I need to make it special to you. I need this to reflect what’s inside of you and then somehow get that onto the canvas. I suppose an artist working in any medium has this challenge but then I only have 13 colors to do it with.
Sean Kenney: Recently, I put together an exhibit that’s now touring botanical gardens around the United States that’s showing kids, plants, insects, birds in a new way, and I created 27 larger than life sculptures that use almost half a million Lego pieces. It took my team and I 5,000 hours to put all these sculptures together, some of which are as huge as an 8 foot tall hummingbird all the way through to a life size polar bear. Now you’ve got kids wandering around botanical gardens that would otherwise never be in a botanical garden which is also a really great thing. Whether it’s the message of what my particular piece is saying to you or simply the connection that you have with the piece because of your connection with Lego suddenly you’ve bonded with this in a way but you may not have if it was perhaps the same story told in a different medium. That is really special. It helps bring people out who otherwise might not be looking at art and then speaking to them in a special way.
Alex Kobbs: Every little thing you can think of, Lego has a means or way or shape and a color to create that if you so desire. I went to college for film but I realized there were a lot of limitations to shooting live action film. So the Lego’s are just a medium for me to get what I want to create across. I really, really love the video game culture and I made a stop motion film called Bricks of War based on Gears of War. So I made a two minute stop motion video basically emulating what it was like to play Gears of War, the behind the shoulder view, the camera zoom in. So, whenever I’m setting up a shot, I look at every little aspect of it, the lighting, the camera movement and I build custom dollies to move the camera. When I saw Call of Duty 3 coming out, I took their launch trailer and I said, “Hey, let me try to recreate this.” It was a lot of fun because it gave me so many things to work with. They have a train car rolling in a subway system and I had to represent different countries. Right now I’ve been using cotton balls to make explosion effects and things. And, the little characters, they have pivots, they have joints and you can really get across, not only movement but motion too with a Lego stop motion. It’s almost perfectly made for stop motion animation. There are films where I make it up beforehand or there are even sometimes where I make it up as I go. So every film is different and it will take anywhere between 6 weeks, sometimes it’ll take 3 months. Lego opens up all possibilities. I can literally create anything I want and I love everything about it.
Nathan Sawaya: People can relate to Lego because they have this connection to it. They have it at home. I think there’s something about that. I really wanted to create sculptures that hadn’t been seen before, you know almost take the Lego element out of it. There’s a sculpture called My Boy where it’s a figure holding a small child figure in its arms. When they debut this culture at a museum, a woman started crying. She was not seeing this as a toy. She was just seeing it as art. When I get to follow my passion and create art for myself, it is a lot of art that’s about metamorphosis. It’s about transition. It’s about liberation. There’s a piece called Yellow where this figure is tearing his chest open and Lego bricks are spilling out all over. And, people have said, is this about agony, what is this piece about? For me, it’s about opening one’s self up to the world. Red was a piece I did about transition. You see this figure and it’s emerging from this pile of bricks and is he reaching to the sky or is he sinking into the bricks. I actually don’t really reveal. I want the viewer to have a role when they’re looking at the art. I was trying to put my emotion into my work. Really create these sculptures that really had something to say. The fact that it’s made out of Lego it opens the art world up to this whole new audience that may never even think about taking a Saturday and go into an art museum. And yet because it’s made out of Lego, they’re drawn.
Sean Kenney: There’s nothing you can’t create with Lego toys and so every day is something new, something different, something fun.
Alex Kobbs: How many toys can you really say that you can say – “I can create anything.” It just has that broad span of all spectrums.
Nathan Sawaya: We’re really seeing a Lego art movement that’s emerging. More and more artists are using Lego as a traditional medium and I think it’s amazing.
End of interview.
I hope you enjoyed this transcript of the very cool video from PBS about LEGO, LEGO Art and LEGO and Stop Motion.
Stop Motion software is made all the more powerful with the addition of chromakey which is sometimes called Greenscreen. What is chromakey? Well think of the weatherman or even superman. A character in front of a blue or green screen in a studio is seen by the viewer with weather maps behind him in the case of the weatherman. Were in fact he only sees a blue / green screen, we see images of maps of states, clouds etc etc. And in the case of superman we see a sky and clouds moving in the background ..the cameraman in the studio sees an actor dangling from support wires in front of a green screen. So now with Stop Motion software such as iKITMovie you too can change the background.
Changing a background with stop motion software used to be difficult. In fact a lot of the stop motion software available does not have even have chromakey. So you would have to export your finished movie to another application that has chromakey in order to add backgrounds. And the stop motion software out there that does have chromakey is tricky to use at the best of times. Not only does iKITMovie stop motion software make it easier to use chromakey it also includes a library of still images and video images ready to use for backgrounds. When we reviewed stop motion software with chromakey the two areas which we felt that let them down were “A” only a single color could be chromakeyed out and “B” they did not give you any video or still images to work with. You had to search for appropriate images/video yourself either online or offline, resize them and import them in to your stop motion software. We felt that this slowed down they creative animation process. So we set about addressing these two issues. After over 14 months of development we believe we have addressed both these issues and more.
iKIT allows you to chromakey out up to 3 colors. This is really useful if you have any shading in your backdrop. While to the naked eye you may think that your blue / green backdrop looks all the same color throughout it invariably will have slight differences in shading of the blue/green ( whichever color you are using ). iKIT allows you to click on up to three different shades of your backdrop. This will ensure that all your blue or green is chromakeyed out correctly so that the background image or video can show up. So if you are looking for stop motion software that gives a great result without spending too much time on lighting etc then iKIT is for you. Its perfect for what you would expect from good stop motion software.
President Barack Obama or should that be Barack O’Bama landed here in Ireland today on the 23rd of May 2011. He was welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Mary McAleese.
US President Barack Obama’s 24-hour visit to Ireland began with a meeting with President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.
He also held talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Farmleigh, visited the US Embassy in Ballsbridge and is now en route to Moneygall in Co Offaly.
President Obama will return to Dublin this afternoon for a rally on College Green.
Mr Obama said it is ‘heartwarming’ to be in Ireland.
‘We are glad to see progress is being made in stabilising the economic situation here.’
‘The friendship and the bond between Ireland and the US could not be stronger.
‘Obviously it is not just a matter of strategic interests. It’s not just a matter of foreign policy, for the United States and Ireland carries a blood lineage.
‘For millions of Irish-Americans this continues to symbolise the homeland and the extraordinary traditions of an extraordinary people.’
The current US President’s Irish roots have been traced back to a great-great-great-great grandfather named Joseph Kearney who was a shoemaker in Moneygall, a small village in central Ireland. Obama’s great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney left for America aged 19 during the potato famine in 1850.
Moneygall, population 300, is now on the map for American tourists, especially Irish Americans and the Presidential visit will swell numbers to a country still reeling from an economic crisis.
American Presidents visit Ireland for a number of reasons and these include looking ahead to their re-election campaigns and 40 million or so Americans who trace their roots back to Ireland.
Their voting power is sometimes overstated given the geographical spread of the Irish Catholics in America, but it still counts, and with this visit to the ancestral homeland, Barack Obama can count on most of what is traditionally a Democratic Party leaning community.
I came across this stop motion animation on YouTube of an episode of Star Trek ( The original series ) :
|Episode 10||“The Corbomite Maneuver“||1512.2||Joseph Sargent||Jerry Sohl||November 10, 1966|
It was created by man called “John”. I will let the description speak for itself as follows:
“My brother created this project in 1978 when he was 18 years old . He built the model of the Starship Enterprise bridge. He made all the clothes ect. for the dolls and spent tedious hours animating the characters. He dubbed in the audio after he copied the super 8 footage on to a beta tape The animation was done from his memory of the episode because VCRs were not invented when he did this project. My hope is that this gets the recognition it deserves. RIP John.”
The puppets were made from 1970′s GI Joe action figures. John made all the costumes and the set himself. Some of the comments on the video are justifiably complimentary.
stoneman127 What’s so fantastic about this is that the dolls/figures of the characters move so smoothly, lively, not stiff. You can tell a lot of work went into this. This is really top class stuff. And this was done before all the high tech camera equipment and special effects were available. It’s truly an amazing piece of work. A perfect fusion of creativity and stop motion software in use.This is really great!
grandehillusion Very impressive !!!
your brother had a lot of talent, worthy of Ray Harryhausen.
It is a very beautiful tribute has its work that to diffused it on YouTube.
Thanks for sharing.
I have started watching the original series again recently having received a gift of the Complete Blue Ray DVD box set. They have enhanced some of the original special effects and cleaned up the images. It has been done with sensitivity and does not spoil the overall feel. Recommened as is John’s fine work above. It has given me new enthusiasm in our development of our stop motion software.
NEWS : The UK’s famous art gallery, the Tate and Aardman studios have teamed up for an ambitious project to create a feature movie made entirely by children. Aardman will spearhead this 3Million pounds sterling project by organising contributions from children in the UK to create a movie which will be launched as part of the 2012 Olympics celebrations. Aardman will hold workshops around the UK hoping to directly involve thousands of children’s hand drawn animation cutout backdrops and characters as well as recording sound effects , voices and ideas.
“In this age of the creative economy where ideas are the driving force, discovering and nurturing creative ideas in children is of vital importance,” said Aardman Chairman Dave Sproxton.
“We want children to be involved at every level and believe that the spontaneity and creativity of the children will create a film that is as inspiring as it is entertaining.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of Tate, said: “We’re giving children the opportunity to work at the coalface and really use their own creativity. This is about stimulating creativity among young people. It is a natural way of extending the education work that we do and capturing the interest of young people in the visual.”
The first trailer for the Classic story the “The Princess and the Frog” and just been released on Youtube.
While I am more a fan of stop motion animation I have a soft spot for this story. It is an enduring favourite of mine since I was young. This version according to Disney’s Press releases for the movie takes a more modern look at the classic and extends it’s basic concept to examine what happened after the princess kissed the frog Prince. So in that sense it is loosely based on E.D. Baker’s version of The Frog Prince.
The movie will be in cinemas on December 24th, 2009. Disney describe it as an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. The prince named Naveen from Maldonia has been turned in to a frog by a voodoo magician, Dr Facilier. The frog mistakes Tiana for a princess and asks for a kiss to break the spell.
As I mentioned the story surrounds a beautiful girl named Tiana and her interactions with a frog who wants to be human again. However after that fateful kiss ,Tiana finds herself turned in to a frog! In another twist the princess for the first time in history in this story .. is black (about time!).
The animators behind The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, the famous team of John Musker and Ron Clements return to the hand-drawn animation form in this movie. As a result it definitely has the look and feel of the original Disney animations.
The music is composed by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman. Worth a visit to the cinema for the nostalgia alone.
Cuppa Coffee studios the company behind the stop motion series, Glenn Martin DDS, Life’s a Zoo, Rick And Steve, Celebrity Deathmatch and a number of other very amusing series has struck a deal with foul mouthed celebrity Gordon Ramsay to create a series called “At Your Service”. Adam Shaheen ,executive producer and president of Cuppa Coffee believes Gordon Ramsay’s larger than life personality will be a recipe for success when combined with stop motion animation and it’s classical characterization. They are in the process of finding writers for the proposed show at the moment. The show will be touted to distributors and channels at Mipcoms International TV Sales expo in October. While exact details are not available yet, the show is likely to be 30 minutes per episode and will focus on the wilder side of Ramsay’s outrageous outburst on his shows such as “Hells Kitchen”. It will be interesting to see what characters they bring in to the series to put up against Ramsays outrageous tongue.
Toronto based Cuppa Coffee animation studios houses 42 shooting stages and employs over 200 artists. In house facilities include prop and sets wardrobe, animation and post-production. They produce roughly 145,000 seconds of animation per year.
They have won over 150 international animation awards.
So whether you are a fan of Gordon Ramsay or not Cuppa will no doubt come up with another very funny stop motion series. We hope they don’t take too long to get it up and running on our TV screens.
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