claymation

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Animation

Tokri: A Lavish Stop-Motion Short Explores the Tender Relationship Between a Father and Daughter

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

Taking eight years to complete, a new stop-motion short by Suresh Eriyat and his production company Studio Eeksaurus tells a heartrending story about family, mistakes, and forgiveness. “Tokri” features a young girl’s attempts to remedy breaking a precious heirloom by weaving and selling baskets to passersby. Chronicling her travails, the claymation winds through the busy streets of Mumbai, featuring an impressively large band of characters.

Part class commentary, “Tokri” was inspired by Eriyat’s own experience in the Indian city, after he dismissed a child who approached him while stopped at a traffic light. “As he drove off, he was hit with guilt, wondering what circumstance made the little girl sell baskets, and what if his brashness had done little but drag her situation for longer,” a statement from the studio says.

A behind-the-scenes video chronicling the creation process reveals a massive set replete with constructed shops and buses, cars, and other vehicles lining the streets. It shows animators constantly moving the dozens of clay characters who walk down the sidewalk and ride on public transit. “For the details of the ambiance, we photographed various little shops on the streets for references, as well as interiors of slum houses,” the studio said. “We tried to get every detail right, from the props inside the house to the model and make of the automobiles on the road.” The result is a lively, crowded cityscape with incredibly particular elements, like the old family photograph, patterned textiles stacked in the home, and the stray animals and refuse occupying alleyways. Expansive shots capture the magnitude of the miniature scenes.

Studio Eeksaurus is headed by both Suresh and Nilima Eriyat, the company’s executive producer. The prolific animator has created hundreds of films that have garnered him an Annecy Cristal, in addition to recognition from Clios and Cannes Lions. To dive further into the making of “Tokri,” multiple videos showing the pre-production, music, and sound processes are available on Vimeo. Find more of Eriyat and the studio’s award-winning work on Instagram. (via Short of the Week)

 

 

 



Animation

Clay Faces Twist and Warp on Human Bodies in Mixed-Media Film by Sam Gainsborough

December 18, 2019

Grace Ebert

Animation director Sam Gainsborough’s new mixed-media film contorts and melts characters’ faces, altering and shaping both how they see and how they’re viewed. Facing It depicts a man struggling with relationships to his family and friends, his social anxiety, and his fear of being isolated from those around him. Throughout the film, dripping, swirling, and rippling clay faces mask those of the human bodies.

Gainsborough tells Directors Notes that he shot the characters’ claymation faces against a green screen before transferring them frame-by-frame to fit separate footage with actors, combining stop-motion and live-action techniques. Each face is roughly double life-size, and in total, the film’s creators used more than 1,100 pounds of plasticine. Adding human bodies to the work creates a “visible layer of reality” that stands in contrast to the feelings shown on the animated faces.

He feels that his parents are these emotionless rock-like characters so they’re animated to look like gargoyles. Whereas he sees everyone else in the world as being effortlessly happy so they’re animated fluidly with lots of colour. But at the end of the day the feelings he has are false, what lies underneath that is reality, real people (with painted hands for some reason!).

The goal of the work, the director says, is to push viewers to question whether they’re living how they want to. He and writer Louisa Wood wanted “a main character who would be seen to bottle up their emotions rather than living true to themselves. We wanted to make a film that celebrates everyone’s flaws and internal struggle, no one’s perfect after all.”

Facing It was produced in the same space that Nick Park first created Wallace and Gromit – A Grand Day Out, the director says. “It was really cool for me to be working in the same room that saw the creation of a film I found so inspiring as a child.”

Gainsborough is based in London and graduated from the National Film and Television School. His future plans, which you can follow on Instagram, include employing a similar technique but with stop-motion puppets.

 

 



Animation

Wide-Mouthed Heads Consume and Absorb a Range of Mutable Forms in the Short Film “Distortion”

February 4, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Swedish animator and sculptor Alexander Unger (previously here and here) creates stop motion animations and tutorials on his Youtube channel titled Guldies. His most recent claymation, Distortion, follows the transformation of eight dice-sized blue cubes into a series of limbs, puddles, and wide-mouthed heads that consume and absorb the previous clay form in rapid succession. Although captivating to watch, the sound effects add another dimension to the short film. Each metallic ting or watery bloop tricks the eye into believing the clay is harder or softer than it appears on screen. Watch out for a twist ending that ties the whole piece together as a beautiful looping narrative. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Animation

Abstract Claymation Videos by Romane Granger Capture the Small Details of Ocean Life

March 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In a pair of teaser videos for singer Stevanna Jackson, animator Romane Granger (previously) uses carefully modeled clay to suggest the complex ecosystem of life on the ocean’s floor. In Ocean Blues #1 and #2, the coils and folds of clay shift in tune with Jackson’s music as waves, flower-like designs and human characters emerge from the sea. Granger is an animation student at L’École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. You can see more of her work on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Art

A Mesmerizing Experimental Claymation Short by Romane Granger

September 15, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

In this captivating short animated work, Romane Granger, a student at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, weaves an abstract narrative from clay and sand. The work begins as a flat plane, showcasing a field of flowers in constant death and rebloom. Halfway through the piece, which is synced to Yasuaki Shimizu’s Utsukushiki Tennen, a large mountain erupts to consume the array of flora, throwing the film into three dimensions. The extremely unique piece was an official selection at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Festival du film de Savigny. You can look behind-the-scenes at Granger’s animated works on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 



Animation

A Fun Experimental Claymation Short by Alexander Unger

November 28, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Swedish animator and sculptor Alexander Unger runs a popular YouTube channel where he shares sculpting and animation tutorials. Sometimes he shares fun short films that link together ingenious little animation experiments like the ones you see here. Definitely turn up the volume a bit, the sound really adds a lot. You can see more of his work here. (via Sploid)

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