Built in the late 1880s, Holland Island House was the last surviving structure on an rapidly eroding island in the Chesapeake Bay. The island’s inhabitants were forced from the island in the 1920s, but this one Victorian structure stood for decades as the land around it disappeared. After numerous attempts to save it, the house finally collapsed into the ocean in October of 2010.
In her stop-motion short The Ballad of Holland Island House, animator Lynn Tomlinson shares the story of the house through an innovative clay-on-glass animation technique. Every single frame was painted by hand with clay and photographed, a medium that lends itself perfectly to depicting ocean currents, memory, and the passage of time. Music by Anna & Elizabeth.
It’s not often that a student film gets nominated for an Oscar, but such was the case with Head Over Heels, the graduate film of animator Timothy Reckart that went on to pickup awards and nominations around the world when it was released two years ago. The film tells the story of a crumbling relationship depicted by the visual metaphor of a couple who are pulled by gravity in opposite directions; one lives on the ceiling and the other on the floor. Reckart just made the film viewable online for the first time along with a number of extras including a director’s commentary. (via Colossal Submissions)
Watch as Lego enthusiast Jon Rolph deftly recreates a Piet Mondrian using stop-motion animation. While it may seem like a pretty straightforward idea, the attention to detail here is astounding, even PES was impressed. (via Stellar)
First off: language warning for the kiddos. Stop-motion animator Dillon Markey works on projects for animation powerhouses like Robot Chicken and PES. While on set three years ago Markey tired of moving back and forth between the set, camera, and computers for each shot and conceived of a numerical keypad he could use to help control some, if not all, of the devices he uses for animating.
In a stroke of nostalgic brilliance, he realized Nintendo’s failed 1980 Power Glove—a wearable device that was supposed to offer novel ways of controlling video games—possessed the form factor he needed. While the Power Glove itself was a commercial flop because of imprecise and awkward controls (not to mention crummy games), Markey teamed up with an electrical engineer to completely rewire the device so it could interact with his stop-motion software via Bluetooth. In a move that would make Inspector Gadget proud, he further modified the glove to incorporate animation tools like retractable tweezers and special sensors that emit the perfect phrase when you use the glove for a fist-bump.
One would think such modifications would be interesting for the purpose of making a quick concept video like this, but that in practical application it might not really work. Not the case: he’s now used it for over 1.5 years on projects like this. It makes you wonder what other outmoded technology had the right form factor but wrong application? Film by Ava Benjamin.
One of the most gratifying aspects of watching stop-motion films is the knowledge that every bit of motion seen on screen is created by human hands, frame by frame, millimeter by millimeter. While an animator might tell you it takes an entire day just to film a 3-second sequence, it’s still difficult to imagine how much physical labor is involved to accomplish it. Lucky for us, the animators behind Laika’s Boxtrolls snuck in a short post-credits timelapse that reveals a brief glimpse of what happens behind the scenes to make two characters come to life.
I first saw Boxtrolls in the theater last September with my son, and this single scene caused a more vocal response from the audience than any other moment in the entire movie. People were literally gasping, myself included. Over the holidays, Focus Features finally made it available online through their YouTube channel.
Director and stop-motion animator PES just released his latest animation titled Submarine Sandwich, the third short film in his cooking trilogy which also includes Western Spaghetti and Fresh Guacamole, the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. This latest film takes us into a retro deli where we witness the creation of, yes, a submarine sandwich using vintage sports memorabilia and other sliced objects that resemble food. PES has an uncanny ability to not only identify the perfect props for his films, but also sets them in motion in the most unexpected ways. Submarine Sandwich was funded through Kickstarter earlier this year. If you’re interested in some sweet stop motion animation merch, PES now has a shop where prints and props from many of his films are available for purchase.
Animator Marty Cooper just released a sequel to his wildly popular Aug(De)Mented Reality video that blends stop motion with hand-illustrated cels that he holds in front of his iPhone while shooting. Whimsical characters interact with both foreground and background elements like clouds, buildings, animals, and even real people. Earlier this summer, Cooper was invited to stop by Adam Savage’s legendary workshop where he discussed his process and animated a short piece incorporating Savage.
Update: Cooper posts many of his animated clips to Instagram.