News , Reviews and critiques of stop motion movies.

Simpson’s LEGO Episode

The Simpsons get the LEGO treatment in a special episode to be aired this May 2014. The Simpson's LEGO episode called "Brick Like Me" looks very cool at least from the trailer shown below. The plot involves Homer wake up and looking in the mirror only to discover he looks rather different. He discovers that Springfield has turned effectively in to LEGOLand. He does not refer to his environment as LEGo but rather calls it "made of bricks". It makes you wonder if the producers got the permission of LEGO to make the episode in the manner at all? The entire episode looks to be CGI rather than stop motion but nonetheless really worth the time to view it.

The Boxtrolls Stop Motion

The Boxtrolls Stop Motion animation due out in September 2014 is based on Alan Snow's "Here be Monsters". From the producers of Paranorman and Coraline comes these wonderful new animation entirely made in Stop motion animation. The Boxtrolls stop motion will no doubt have a wide appeal for all ages. Adults will appreciate the intricate work involved in bringing the characters to life while children will readily engage in what are very interesting scenes and storyline. The Boxtrolls stop motion This article gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of the The Boxtroll stop motion animation by looking at the making of the dolls and sets and more. The dolls use the well known armature shown below as a base for the structure of the characters. The armature is covered in clay as shown above and sculpted meticulously to create the characters. Box Trolls armature The Boxtrolls stop motion  characters seem to be mostly animated using the replacement method. At least when they are expressing or talking as seen by the below image for the "Fish" character. All the mouth replacements are carefully stored in cardboard boxes waiting to be swapped in as required. Box Trolls mouth replac The image below then shows the various expressions created with the mouth replacements. This approach saves alot of time when animating but requires dozens of dolls and faces be made for each expression. Box Trolls Replacement I am truly looking forward to the Boxtrolls stop motion movie when it comes out in September 2014.

How they made the LEGO Movie

Ever wondered How they made the LEGO Movie? The below video is I think the best description of how they went about making the LEGO Movie. I have transcribed the audio also so that you can understand how it was made step by step. Emmet: What is happening? Wyldstyle: You’re the special, and the prophecy states that you are the most important person in the universe. That’s you right? Emmet: Uh, yes! That’s me CG supervisor: So this is Emmet. We spent a long time working on Emmet being the lead character in this film. We went through quite a few different iterations on his hair, but we finally settled on this one. As you can see we try to be quite authentic with the actual Lego product itself. So, there is a lot detail put into the sticker work, the detail work, the mold lines, chips, chunks and scratches. We try to incorporate a lot of that. In fact, we put a lot of the mini figs underneath the microscope and have a good look at those details so we could actually get a lot of that fidelity into our models. Editor: This represents the storyboard phase of the film. Basically, you do a rough pass of drawing the script by hand and it’s the first thing that we do when we’re testing out an idea. And after that , once it gets approved, it goes through a process, which is called layout, where you kind of roughly put the characters and the cameras into the scene. That’s pretty neat. And then after layout, once you’ve locked your cameras in your sets and your characters in, you get to animate it. And then at

Stop Motion Action

Stop Motion Action Have you seen an Epic LEGO brickfilm called "The Wild Crunch" by Jack Gerald Baeumler.  If you are looking for stop motion action then you need go no further than this animation. Coming in at 37 minutes and 53 seconds long it is one of the longest stop motion action animations on YouTube. According to Gerald it took 9,274 photographs using his Canon 5D MII dslr camera. Additionally he has added 628 additional graphics images alongside some video footage where appropriate.  He has used a whole raft of animation and editing software including Adobe Final cut pro 7.03, soundbooth, Illustrator, Digital Juice, Luca VFX , Videopilot, Kinemac , Smartsound, Photoshop and more.  So this stop motion action animation is not a beginners endeavour by any means. Gerald is a German fully qualified film producer who likes to create LEGO animations on the side. The action is this animation is superb. Sound effects are used to great effect. Dialog is perfectly synchronized to minifgs. Atmospheric music and background sounds add to the feel and tension throughout. The storyline involves a bank robbery that is intercepted by SWAT. The result is a major battle of guns and firepower. Trucks , cars, helicoptors and buses are all used to bring the story to a climax of stop motion action madness. Muzzle flashes and lots of smoke, fire and flames litter the streets as the hero's leave the final scene. Gerald also gives us a view from  behind the scenes in his "The Making of ..The Wild Crunch" on YouTube. Here you can see the sets , lighting , and camera he used to make the animation. Note the use of clamps throughout the various sets

Special Movement effects in Stop Motion

Special Movement effects in Stop Motion Today I decided to research some special movement effects in stop motion. Did you know that a sheet of glass can come in very useful when shooting special movement effects in stop motion movies. For instance how did the penguin fall through the sky in in Nick Park’s Wrong Trousers? Did the animators use strings and change the position after each shot, which would have been very tedious  or did they use some other technique? Believe it or not they used a sheet of glass. In the movie the penguin is shot up into the air and then falls to earth against a background of blue sky and fluffy clouds. So what they did was quite ingenious. Instead of having the poor penguin falling against a fixed background, they photographed him on glass with a parallel sky positioned behind him. The penguin was then held still except for an occasional movement of his sack and the position of his feet. The illusion of falling comes from the sky which is moved slowly from side to side between frames. Peter Lord - Aardman This glass technique, an ingenious example of special movement effects in stop motion has also been used by Peter Lord in his filming of Adam, which was released in 1991.  Adam won Ardman an Oscar nomination and is another fantastic example of stop motion with clay or claymation as we like to call it. In this stop motion the character Adam ran around the circumference of the world without falling off. How did Peter Lord do this ? Well, he used a sheet of glass of course. They measured the circumference of the globe they

Stop Motion in Star Wars

Stop Motion in Star Wars Stop Motion in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Featurette: I came across a really interesting featurette of an interview with Dennis Murin talking about "How Walkers Walk with Dennis Murin using stop motion in Star Wars." I have transcribed the interview here for you. At one time, there was, like, no decisions how to do any of this stuff and all there were were these wonderful color artworks that Ralph had done of the big walking machines. So we had to figure out how we were going to do this and one of the thoughts was to make a robot. We were going to make a complete robotic one that would actually kind of move by itself – a walking machine maybe five feet tall or something like that. And in that scene, like, it could get very complicated and very expensive to do, but my background before Star Wars was really in stop motion animation and I’d seen King Kong when I was a kid and all. And, so I pushed to do it in stop motion because they’re machines anyway and if they move sort of, like, a little staccato-like, it would just make them look more like machines. So we did it in stop motion and we did it with models that were as big as a person could animate, which is about the size that a person can get their hands in to move it a frame at a time. And we did it in front of big paintings that were, instead of blue screens pausing, paintings that were done to look like sky, but painted so realistically, you thought they were actually outdoors. The

Ray Harryhausen Interview from 1989

I recently came a across a very informative Ray Harryhausen interview done by HTV West production for Channel 4 UK  – the stop motion animation genius of the forties and fifties. I have reproduced some of the Ray Harryhausen interview here for all to enjoy. “The skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonauts were quite an ambitious thing to bite off because I never animated multiple figures. And we wanted to have seven skeletons fighting three men. We had seven stuntmen each portraying one of the skeletons and the actors would rehearse with the stuntmen, so that would give them a chance to count their moves and see just where they had to stop their movements in order to give the impression that they were fighting with the skeleton. Jason and The Argonauts I had to take about four and a half months on that particular sequence which only lasted for five minutes. It took four and a half months in the front of the animation camera to animate seven skeletons because many times I would only average thirteen frames a day.” Ray goes on to talk about the history of stop motion and how he was inspired by Willis O Brien.. “The combination of live action and animation goes way back to the silent days. We use models of course unlike Roger rabbit and some of the other cartoons we see today. We used a dimensional model which blends much more closely with the live action than a flat drawing such as you saw in Mary poppins. Then of course Willis O’Brien on the last world combine of live action with animation. And King Kong was the really his highlight of the

Animation News – How to train your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon from Dreamworks animation will be in theaters March 26, 2010. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller are the voice actors in the film. It's directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. The trailer is below for your enjoyment. I hope they improve on the graphics for the main dragon, as it currently stands it looks out of place with the other characters and background. While it may well be worth going to see if only for the 3D experience it does not look as good as Pixar's recent offerings.

Bringing the F#*? Word to Stop Motion

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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