Animation

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Animation

A Kayak Trip Sends a Father on Anxiety-Provoking Adventures in an Adorable Animated Short

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

Multiple scenarios that would give any parent nightmares actualize in the adventurous animation “Kayak.” What begins as a peaceful trip down the river for a father and baby becomes an endless slew of anxiety-inducing incidents as the child trips, ends up upside down in the water, launches into the air several times, and is even preyed upon by a hungry eagle. The short film, which teeters on the terrifying, is a graduation project by students at the French animation school École des Nouvelles Images.

 

 

 



Animation Colossal Design

Interview: Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe of ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

August 16, 2022

Christopher Jobson

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is famous for quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. In a new interview supported by Colossal Members, production designer Liz Toonkel discusses building the universe the adorable character occupies in the feature-length mockumentary released this summer from A24.

All of those little details that you wouldn’t think about, when you watch it they give it an inherent truth because everything feels like it does in our real world. Same thing with the garden. Those are real plants. That’s so rare in stop motion that you have real organic materials. It’s pretty much impossible to stop-motion animate with them because they decompose. There was a lot of thought put into how to bring organic, real life to the things around Marcel.

Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson recently sat down with Toonkel to discuss building a realistic micro world within a macro setting, the challenges of blending live-action with stop-motion animation, and why the tennis ball scenes are as impressive as the internet thinks. Read the full interview here.

 

 

 



Animation

Animator Anna Samo Scripts a Love Letter to Artists in Her Short Film ‘Conversations With a Whale’

August 3, 2022

Kate Mothes

Artists know this story well: an opportunity opens for an exhibition or a festival and in goes the application, but all that comes back is a rejection letter. While one or two letters of this kind might be easy to dismiss, they weigh heavily on one’s mind if they start to pile up. Animator Anna Samo taps into the unique emotional and mental fatigue endured by creatives who keep hitting roadblocks. In her stop-motion film “Conversations with a Whale,” she turns the prospect of a “no” into a fresh perspective on growth.

Created directly under the camera lens using a variety of analog filming techniques, the short follows a filmmaker who grapples with one rejection letter after another. Samo wrote in a director’s note that the piece “grew out of the necessity to reinvent my own creative process. It is based on my experience of rejection and failure. Why do I make films? Is it the success I long for and depend on? Does anyone need what I am doing? And if no one needs it, do I still have the right to do it?” While navigating the ups and downs of the creative process, the protagonist plumbs the depths of dreams and ideas for a concept that finally blossoms and bears fruit. Samo continues, “If you are a fig tree, you have to bear fruits. If you are an artist, you have to make art.”

You can find more information about the film on its website and see more work from Samo on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Design

A Satisfying Stop-Motion Tutorial by omozoc Effortlessly Slices and Assembles a Wooden Box Entirely by Hand

July 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

omozoc (previously) gives new meaning to handcrafted in one of his latest stop-motion tutorials. With a simple touch of his fingertip or nail zipping along the edge of a piece of wood, the animator appears to cut, bevel, and construct a tissue box without any outside tools or fasteners. Comprised of 791 individual photos, the seamless video took 22 days to complete and is part of omozoc’s growing archive of woodworking lessons, which you can find more of (make sure you turn your volume up to hear the incredibly satisfying audio) on YouTube.

 

 

 



Animation

Kinetic Actions Trigger Mesmerizing Tessellations and Patterns in an Absorbing Short Film

June 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

Basic geometric forms like circles, triangles, and lines alchemize into a hypnotic study of patterns in a new short film from the Barcelona-based Diatomic Studio. Part of their Tiles series, the animation applies kinetic principles to minimal, black-and-white renderings. The actions, which include transaction, rotation, and trajectory, transform the otherwise static shapes into mesmerizing tessellations and increasingly complex and dizzying motifs. For more of Diatomic Studio’s experiments in geometry and physics, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Animation History Illustration

An Exhibition Unearths Rare Production Drawings from the Futuristic Neo Tokyo of the Anime Classic ‘Akira’

June 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

Akira, cut #1, Final production background detail, Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 93 x 53 centimeters. All photos from AKIRA (Movie), based on the graphic novel AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo. First published by Young Magazine, Kodansha Ltd. © MASH • ROOM / AKIRA COMMITTEE, shared with permission

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi classic Akira has had an unparalleled influence on anime and film, and an exhibition at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin showcases the original drawings that brought its futuristic cyberpunk setting to life. Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo features 59 production backdrops, layouts, concepts, and image boards, many of which have never been shown publicly. The collection includes now-iconic works by art director Toshiharu Mizutani and collaborators Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida, and Takashi Watabe.

Otomo first released the dystopian story as a manga series in 1982 before turning it into the highly influential action film a few years later. The narrative follows characters Shōtarō Kaneda, the telekinetic Tetsuo Shim, and their friends, who navigate the imagined Japanese metropolis of Neo Tokyo with its neon streetlights, crumbling infrastructure, and unrelenting post-apocalyptic vibe.

Ahead of the exhibition, curator Stefan Riekeles also released the book Anime Architecture: Imagined Worlds and Endless Megacities. The volume contains fantastic scenes from various animated classics including Ghost in the Shell and Metropolis. You can see Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo through September 4, and according to It’s Nice That, the show might travel to London next.

 

Akira, pattern no. 182, final production background, Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 55 x 42 centimeters

Akira, pattern no. 2211, final production background, Hiroshi Ohno, poster color on paper, 50 x 36 centimeters

Akira, pattern no. 2204, picture board, Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 25 x 35 centimeters

Akira, pattern no. 700, final production background Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 26 x 37 centimeters

Akira, pattern no. 214, final production background, Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 25.5 x 37 centimeters