Animation

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Animation

Freeze Frame: A Meditative Stop-Motion Short Explores Preservation and Decay Through a Tedious Ice Harvest

December 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Brussels-based director Soetkin Verstegen bills her methodical and nostalgic animation “Freeze Frame” as a “miniature cinema inside an ice cube.” Produced in a grainy, vintage style, the black-and-white short loosely follows workers as they harvest and attempt to preserve the frozen blocks. Amidst scenes of the monotonous, assembly-line efforts are insects, frogs, and various creatures swimming across the frames and eventually, crystallizing into skeletal ice sculptures.

In a conversation with Short of the Week, Verstegen spoke to the difficulty of using such a transient material, calling it “the most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image.” The tedious nature of stop-motion further matches the repetitive movements of the film’s subjects, forming “a playful puzzle with formal ideas around early cinema, decay, and preservation.”

You can find more of Verstegen’s short films that experiment with animation techniques on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Music

Abstract Shapes Flow Like Water in Ho Tsz Wing's Psychedelic Animation

December 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

In the hypnotic realm of “Catgot,” bubbles explode into kaleidoscopic droplets, and beads of water bounce across the screen. Created by Ho Tsz Wing using Photoshop, the two-dimensional drawings mimic the look of a hand-painted animation. They’re set to an electronic track by ISAN and gracefully follow a series of fluid, synchronized movements. Downbeats correspond with abstract shapes that flow from one scene to the next in a psychedelic fashion.

The Hong Kong-based animator and illustrator writes that the textured drawings highlight “the beauty of the colors, composition, and transformations of the objects in the scene” and are inspired in part by artists Masanobu Hiraoka and Matt Abbiss. To watch more of Ho Tsz Wing’s mesmerizing animations, check out Behance, Instagram, and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation

SMILE: Ride an Emotional Rollercoaster with These Perpetually Grinning Characters

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

The googly-eyed cast in Lucas Zanotto’s new looped animation is all of us this year: Beaming one moment, bummed the next. “SMILE” follows an array of pastel characters as they quickly twist from one mood to another. Whether spurred by a downward spiral or rollercoaster ride, each movement turns the pastel creature topsy-turvy, leaving it with a perpetual grin.

Watch more light-hearted projects from the Helsinki-based director (previously) on Vimeo and Instagram, where he also shares tutorials and behind-the-scenes shots. Check out his recent collaboration with KAWS encouraging folks to vote in the U.S. election, too.

 

 

 



Animation Food

THE COIN: A Moving Stop-Motion Short Reveals the Power of a Family's Cooking Traditions

December 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

Siqi Song reminds us that the simple traditions of home stick with us no matter how far we travel. The Los Angeles-based director and writer, who created the highly regarded animation “SISTER” about China’s one-child policy, released a new stop-motion short about a girl who struggles to hold on to the remnants of a prized holiday ritual.

THE COIN” opens with a felt character hand-making dumplings to celebrate the Chinese New Year. A silver dollar is hidden inside one of the pork-filled pockets, and according to tradition, “whoever eats the dumpling with the coin would have a blessed year ahead.” The fiber-based animation then follows the little girl as she grows up and leaves home for Los Angeles, where she loses her cherished coin collection and desperately searches for a new one.

Song shares behind-the-scenes shots on Instagram, in addition to making-of videos and full animations on Vimeo. “THE COIN” also has a dedicated account that shares updates on the short film’s awards.

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Series of Animated Paper Video Games Evokes Digital Nostalgia

November 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Perhaps no video game has evidenced the necessity of escapism in modern life more than Animal Crossing at the beginning of the pandemic. Players worldwide dove into the fictional universe to avoid the anxiety of daily life, a coping mechanism that a new animation by Austin-based creator Eric Power beautifully encapsulates. Set to a new song by Mixtape for the Milky Way, the short history is an ode to the charming simulation and a slew of its predecessors and contemporaries. The nostalgic video chronicles the evolution of video games—from Pacman and Asteroid to Cuphead, Limbo, and GRIS’s surreal watercolor landscapes—through a series of vintage television sets and classic simulations recreated entirely from paper.

For more of Power’s animated works, visit Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Dance Music

Digital Dancers Groove Through the Streets of Istanbul in Shape-Shifting Costumes

November 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Directed and animated by Istanbul-based Gökalp Gönen, a camouflaged cast grooves to Ilhan Ersahin’s jazzy new track, “Hurri-Mitanni (Good News),” in a mesmerizing series of transformations. The anonymous characters don amorphous, animated costumes as they dance throughout the streets and in empty pockets of the city, morphing from a floral ensemble to an oversized figure covered in kaleidoscopic spirals to another trapped in string.

Keep up with Gönen’s lively projects on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this hypnotic animation by Universal Everything.