Animation

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Animation

Two Curious Rats Endure the Disastrous Effects of an Experiment Gone Haywire in an Animated Short

December 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

What happens when a pair of curious (and hungry) rats find themselves in a kitchen of potions, tonics, and jars of strange preservatives? “Experiment” is a short film by Zoé Berton-Bojko and Susana Covo Perez—they produced the piece as part of their graduation project at the School of New Images—that follows two dueling rodents as they spar over a single dried mushroom. Once they each finally take a bite of the magical fungi, glass-shattering, fiery chaos ensues in a manner that’s as graceful as it is humorously bizarre.

Watch the full animation above, and find more student projects on the Avignon-based school’s Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Craft

Winter In The Rainforest: Porcelain Characters Navigate the Amazon in a Surreal Stop-Motion Short

November 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

In Anu-Laura Tuttelberg’s stop-motion short “Winter In The Rainforest,” time passes at an unusual pace. The Estonian writer, director, and animator (previously) sets a cast of fragile, porcelain puppets within the lush rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico, and the Peruvian Amazon, a contrast of real and manufactured that grounds the surreal story. Throughout the film, carnivorous flowers trap their prey, an articulate grasshopper climbs a tree, and a miniature girl wakes from a stupor at a clip that’s wildly different from their timelapsed surroundings, which are evident through leaves shaking in the wind and shadows rolling across the landscape at a quickened tempo.

Shot with 16-millimeter film, the grainy short is years in the making—Tuttelberg details the process on her site—and blurs the boundaries between the imagined and real in both material and narrative. Rather than create an illusion of the characters occupying the tropical ecosystem in a lifelike manner, each element progresses at its own speed. She explains:

While moving the puppets frame by frame, I let the light and the nature in the background move naturally. In this way, the puppets are moving smoothly in their own pace and the nature around them is changing rapidly. This creates a new obscure reality of time and space in the film. It keeps the viewer aware of the stop motion technique in the film. I don’t want to hide the animation technique behind the scene but rather to bring it out and observe the new strange reality it creates.

“Winter In The Rainforest” has already won numerous festival awards, and Tuttelberg tells Colossal she’s working on a sequel titled “On Weary Wings Go By,” which brings the same cast to the frigid beaches of Estonia and Norway. You can keep an eye out for that project, and watch the animator’s previous works, on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation

Migrants: A Climate Disaster Forces a Polar Bear and Her Cub to Flee Their Home in a Harrowing Animation

November 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

A stunning work of both social commentary and technical dexterity, “Migrants” explores the heartbreaking aftermath of a climate disaster. The animation—which is an impressive collaboration between fifth-year animations students Zoé Devise, Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, and Lucas Lermytte, who are currently enrolled at the French Pôle 3D school—centers on a simple story: a mother polar bear and her cub flee their arctic habitat as styrofoam icebergs crumble into the water and their once-frozen home becomes unlivable. As they encounter insensitive brown bears in a lush, green climate, the duo struggles to survive.

Through knitted patchwork characters and sets digitally crafted to evoke stop-motion techniques, the poignant short expands on climate crisis narratives that explore only the immediate effects of a hurricane, fire, or in this case, an entire region of the planet that’s melting. Instead, “Migrants” includes the difficulty refugees face when they’re displaced by such events, and the adorable, plush cub’s scared expressions and fearful whimpers generate a dose of empathy often lacking from today’s conversations and debates. In an interview diving into their process, the directors said:

We knew we wanted to make a short film about society and current issues. In 2018, there was a controversy about the “Aquarius” boat, which had rescued migrants in the Mediterranean sea but no country wanted to allow the boat to land at its ports. We were touched by this, and we were inspired by this event as the subject for our movie. So we made a story about the issue of migration, but with the global warming theme layered on top of it. With polar bears as our main characters, as they are one of the species most affected by climate change.

According to Short of the Week, the moving film already has garnered multiple awards from festivals, and it’s likely in the running for an Oscar. Head to Pôle 3D’s Vimeo to watch more student creations.

 

 

 



Animation Food

An Emotional Stop-Motion Ad Follows a Family Revitalizing Their Organic Farm

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

Ten years after Irish animator and director Johnny Kelly (previously) brought us a charming stop-motion ad for Chipotle about a farmer’s return to organic methods, he’s back with an emotional sequel that revisits the now-aging protagonist. The new short film, titled “A Future Begins,” follows the same mustached rancher as he struggles to maintain his pesticide-free fields and natural techniques amidst weather catastrophes and other struggles. When his son returns from college and a busy life in the city, the reunited family implements a range of sustainable technologies like solar panels, greenhouses, polyculture, and companion planting that make the farm thrive.

Kelly and the team behind the new ad documented their meticulous process in an immersive making-of video, which dives into pre-production digital mockups, techniques for hand-sculpting innumerable trees and the bucolic landscape, and updates to the puppets themselves, which feature magnetic waists that allow them to pivot in various stances. Similar to its award-winning predecessor, “A Future Begins” is paired with a Coldplay cover, with this iteration featuring “Fix You” by Kasey Musgraves.

Find more of Kellly’s animated projects and collaborations on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Music

Abstract Shapes Respond to a Relaxing Melody in a New Animated Music Video for Janek Murd

November 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

Colorful shapeshifting animations dance across the screen in an experimental music video for a newly released single by Estonian musician and composer Janek Murd. Created by the design studio Tolm, a collection of floating orbs, speckled discs, and a mishmash of flexible rings follow the melody of “AVA,” a mellow tune dominated by a trumpet and xylophone. The lively, abstract shapes are transposed to primarily correspond to the brass track, with spheres bursting into the air with a crescendo and bubbles growing in dense clusters as a run builds in intensity. “‘Ava’ explores the constant cycle of life—be it a breath of air, passing of a day, (a) full turn of the year, or journey from one’s birth to death,” Murd says about the piece.

Watch the full music video above, and go behind the scenes with Tolm on Behance.

 

 

 



Animation Art

Artificial Organisms: Shimmering Digital Creatures Undulate and Pulse with Light in Maxim Zhetskov's New Film

November 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

In “Artificial Organisms,” Russian director Maxim Zhestkov (previously) enlivens machine intelligence to create palpitating marine organisms that radiate with vibrant bands of light. The hulking, life-like specimens, which are comprised of countless individual spheres, are presented floating in undulating masses or enveloping a stark white structure in groups evocative of a coral reef. Each piece fuses the artificial and organic, producing “a bizarre world of mesmerizing digital creatures,” Zhestkov says. “A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.” To watch more of the director’s projects, head to Vimeo, Instagram, and Behance.