Thousands of Leaves Transition from Summer to Fall in a Hypnotic Stop-Motion Short
Bay Area-animator Brett Foxwell is drawn to the vast array of colors and textures within the natural world. His 2017 short film “WoodSwimmer” zeroed in on the unique grain of cross-cut trees, and his latest project similarly centers on organic diversity by highlighting thousands of leaves as they change from their summer to autumn hues.
In the mesmerizing stop-motion short, rapid flashes of foliage dance on the black backdrop and illuminate the unique bend of a stem, variances in veins, and the way verdant pigments drain from each specimen in inconsistent patterns. “While collecting leaves, I conceived that the leaf shape of every single plant type I could find would fit somewhere into a continuous animated sequence of leaves if that sequence were expansive enough. If I didn’t have the perfect shape, it meant I just had to collect more leaves,” he shares about the project.
“The Book of Leaves” accompanies Foxwell’s larger project “Leaf Presser,” a trippier animation of the same nature, which you can find along with his other works on Vimeo. (via The Kids Should See This)
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A Verdant Ecosystem Emerges from a Barren Landscape in the Animated Music Video for Moomin’s ‘For Willow’
In a psychedelic, otherworldly vista, colorful flora and fauna interact in a seamless series of events in the music video for Moomin’s “For Willow.” Illustrators and animators Alex Gamsu Jenkins and Joe Taylor collaborated on the three-minute short, which opens on a forlorn, stony figure standing in a barren landscape, who begins to metamorphose with signs of vitality and greenery. Incorporating speckles onto each frame to suggest the graininess of analog film, each scene unfolds continuously from the last as the environment gradually becomes lush and teems with life.
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Ride the Emotional Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship in Siqi Song’s Series of Stop-Motion Animations
Los Angeles-based animator and director Siqi Song has a knack for capturing the nuances of relationships and social situations. Her critically acclaimed animated shorts like “SISTER” and “THE COIN” tap into family histories and personal stories from the relatable perspective of stop-motion, felted wool characters. In a new series of shorts commissioned by It’s Nice That for Mailchimp Presents, Song dives into the world of entrepreneurship in All in a Day’s Work.
Song directed six of the series’ twelve episodes, which run between two to three minutes each and feature a cast of six small business owners who find themselves on an emotional, enterprising rollercoaster. A florist’s new employee struggles with hay fever in “First Hire,” a baker working through the night resists falling asleep in “Unstoppable Rise,” and a finely-tuned Zoom setup comes crashing down during an important call in “Silicon Valley Legends.”
To make the films as internationally relatable as possible, dialogue was removed entirely. “Without language, the characters can only express their emotion in the stories through body language and facial expressions,” Song explains. For anyone who has launched a product, grappled with time management, or stepped outside their comfort zone to pursue a dream, Song’s animations demonstrate the universal ups and downs of a courageous journey.
You can watch all of the films, including an additional six episodes by creative studio BUCK, on Mailchimp Presents. Find remarkable behind-the-scenes footage on Song’s website, and discover her painstakingly crafted miniature sets, storyboards, and characters.
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An Eerie Atmosphere Envelops the Post-Apocalyptic Universe of a New Animated Music Video for Woodkid’s ‘Reactor’
Ashy lava oozing over the landscape, flames ripping through piles of mechanical waste, and debris floating through a thick, smokey haze shroud an animated music video for Woodkid in an eerie, post-apocalyptic ambiguity. Directed by Saad Moosajee and produced by Reef Oldberg, “Reactor” descends into a world that’s been marred by an atomic meltdown. Children rise from fiery rubble, and their elegantly choreographed movements appear to control the machinery within the enveloping, dystopian environment.
In “Reactor” and the S16 album more broadly, Woodkid references the chemical properties of sulphur and Japanese classics like Akira and Ghost in The Shell as inspiration, and the animated component takes similar cues. “Our intention was to create something deeply personal that could communicate the feeling of being swallowed by the world around you. About trying to breathe in a place where no one and nothing can breathe anymore,” Moosajee shares in an interview.
Watch the unearthly CG-creation above, and check out Woodkid’s similarly elemental track titled “Iron” from a few years back.
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In ‘Home,’ Animator Anita Bruvere Weaves a Poetic Story of Immigration through Stop-Motion Scenes
19 Princelet Street in London’s East End boasts a richly diverse history that’s emblematic of the neighborhood. The modest brick building once housed Huguenot silk merchants, Irish weavers, and Jewish tailors who fled persecution and struggles within their home countries. Today, the Museum of Immigration and Diversity inhabits the space, securing its legacy as a welcoming, communal environment for people in need.
A profound, meditative short film by Anita Bruvere reflects on this history through intimately crafted stop-motion scenes. Aptly titled “Home,” the animation peers in on the families who occupied the Princelet Street rooms, portraying the two-dimensional figures on acetate. Weaving and sewing practices occupy much of their time and connect each group as the textiles seamlessly flow from one to the next, which Bruvere describes in an interview:
I was interested in how people of different times and generations, coming from different cultures and backgrounds, are connected through the places they occupy and the experiences they share. I wanted the film to be quite poetic, telling the story from the perspective of the house using fabric: the common trade shared by the area’s many immigrant communities.
An immigrant herself, Bruvere conveys a heartbreaking relevancy to such a historic narrative. “It was startling to discover that the public discourse around the issue of immigration hasn’t really changed that much over the last 300 years,” she says.
Watch the film above, and find more of Bruvere’s projects on Vimeo.
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Animation Art Design
Thousands of Structures Populate a Growing Whimsical Metropolis in Charles Young’s Miniature Cities
After picking up a copy of Japanese artist Sanzo Wada’s A Dictionary of Color Combinations a few years ago, Charles Young decided to divert the course of his otherwise monochromatic body of work. The Scottish artist, who is currently based in Edinburgh, has accumulated an extensive archive of tiny buildings, transportation, and public architecture all created in white paper. The stark structures number well into the thousands and together, sprawl into massive miniature metropolises. They’re now joined by similarly sized creations in full color.
Published around 1930, Wada’s reference manual groups pigments into complementary combinations of two, three, or four, and Young uses these pairings as the foundation for his latest models of office buildings, churches, factories, and stations. He finished all of the four-color studies back in 2021 and has since moved on to those with three, a set he plans to wrap up in the new year. “The whole project is like a journal or sketchbook, and not much planning goes into each piece before I start work,” he says. “The project is really about the process and the massing of individual parts rather than each individual building.”
After formulating a general idea of the intended piece, Young prints each hue onto a single sheet of watercolor paper. “I’ll choose one of the colours to be the main feature, used in the walls, and others as accents or for the roofs. It’s a kind of intuitive process where there just seems to be a right way to do it,” he shares. Once cut and assembled into their final three-dimensional shapes, the works are either left as standalone structures or animated in whimsical, stop-motion movements, like a train spinning on its platform or an excavator dipping its bucket.
As mentioned, Young’s three-color studies are ongoing, and you can follow his progress on those on Instagram.
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