stop motion

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Animation

Kukuschka: An Ambitious Bird Passionately Follows the Sun in a Windy Stop-Motion Short by Dina Velikovskaya

April 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

For Kukuschka, motherhood is a hindrance. In a stop-motion film bearing her name, the avian character dreams of reaching the sun. She travels the beige dunes each day and braves the wind gusts that blow her gauzy clothing. When her similarly dressed baby breaks out of its shell, she tries to continue on her journey to follow the glowing orb, before slowing to a lope to find care for her child.

Created by Russian animator and director Dina Velikovskaya, the stop-motion film is an effort to complicate traditional notions of parenthood. Velikovskaya told Short of the Week that “Kukuschka” represents “women who ha(ve) dreams and how motherhood can be an obstacle to them.” Throughout the emotional production, the mother-baby duo struggle to coexist in their sand-filled world.

Since it was released in 2016, “Kukuschka” has garnered worldwide attention, winning Best Animated Comedy from the EACG Animation Festival in San Francisco and Best Director at the New Horizon Film Festival and National Animation Premium “IKARUS.” For more Kukuschka and the other avian puppets, check out the animator’s Instagram, where the characters periodically visit coffee shops and parks.

 

 



Animation

Animated Characters Perform Mundane Tasks in Stop-Motion Shorts by Stefano Colferai

March 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

Stefano Colferai’s animated characters may be made of plasticine, but they certainly understand the very human struggles that come along with sending a text while walking, stepping outside on a hot day, and managing a freelance life. The Milan-based animator sculpts miniature scenes for his figures—who sometimes bear a likeness to Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction or performance artist Marina Abramović—in his wildly relatable stop-motion shorts that expertly reveal his characters’ personalities. For more of Colferai’s humorous, and even life-affirming, projects, follow him on Instagram and Behance. (via Tina Roth Eisenberg)

 

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Animation Design

Product Breakdowns Expose the Wasteful Side of Industrial Design in Stop Motion Animation by Dina Amin

February 23, 2020

Andrew LaSane

Industrial designer Dina Amin takes discarded consumer products apart to see exactly what makes them tick. The hobby also exposes just how many resources and materials consumers throw away. A new stop-motion animation titled What’s Inside is a supercut of Amin’s breakdowns of familiar items, each splayed in perfect grids of plastic, metal, and rubber.

The exploding electronics featured in the animation are a blowdryer, a stereo cassette recorder, a point-and-shoot camera, and an old cellphone. Dropped by an invisible hand, each item becomes a schematic of itself as it hits the table. Screws, wires, and miscellaneous components are neatly and instantly sorted into piles on the empty surface. The pieces then reassemble to form the finished product.

“On Fridays I pick a random product, I disassemble it, examine it and make a stop motion story with its parts,” Amin shares on her website. Of the deeper theme of the work, the designer writes that “we consume too many things to the point that we forgot the amount of work that was put into bringing even the tiniest pieces of things! We rarely see what’s inside each product thus treat it as one whole part; not as a plastic cover, with buttons, vibrator motor, mic and so on. This makes it easier to throw things away, one thing goes to waste, and not many.”

To see more of Amin’s work, follow her on Instagram and check her out on Patreon, where this project was funded. (via Core77)

 

 



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

Geometric Volumes and Humanoid Figures Shape-Shift in a New Animation by Guldies

December 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Malleable sculptures formed from plasticine topple, bounce, and shape-shift between geometric volumes and humanoid figures in UTOPIA, a new stop motion animation. The minimalist short film is set on a plain aqua-toned background with a restricted clay color palette of white, pink, orange, and burgundy. UTOPIA’s tightly controlled aesthetic centers the viewer’s attention on the fast-moving shapes as they transform and interact with each other. The short was created by Alexander Unger, a Swedish animator who goes by Guldies (previously). Watch more animations from Unger on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Food

Felted Bacon Sizzles and Wooly Bread is Sliced in Breakfast-Themed Fiber Animations by Andrea Love

December 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

 

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We’ve all heard that we should incorporate more fiber into our diets. But did our doctors mean… wool? Andrea Love is on the front lines of nutritionally dense animation with her fiber-based short films centered around breakfast foods. Minuscule pots of coffee pour into green mugs, spirals of yarn turn from black to red as stove-top heating elements, and succulent lemons squirt out felted juice when squeezed. The Washington-based artist works from her basement studio crafting both client-commissioned and personal work. Watch more of Love’s felt-fueled animations on Instagram, where she generously shares behind-the-scenes knowledge in responses to questions from her 100,000+ followers. (via Laughing Squid)

 

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Animation

SISTER: An Intimate Stop-Motion Short About a Family During China’s One-Child Policy

November 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Animator Siqi Song explores the deeply personal implications of China’s One Child Policy in her powerful animated short, SISTER. The film uses felt stop-motion animation to tell the story of a family that conceived two children during the years—1979 to 2015—that the Chinese government controlled the number of children families could raise. An adult man, the film’s protagonist, looks back on his youth and the complicated family dynamics among siblings and parents.

“Growing up with my brother has been a privilege and a bittersweet experience for me,” Song explains. She shares that, being an exception to the rule, she has been the subject of many questions from friends about the experience of growing up with a sibling. “I also want to tell the stories of my friends, who would’ve had a different life if their siblings were born,” says Song. “This film is dedicated to this group memory.”

The Los Angeles-based director and animator has worked on several of her own highly lauded shorts, as well as on the feature film Missing Link. Watch more of Song’s films on her website (where she also shares behind-the-scenes shots), and follow along with new projects on Instagram. (via Short of the Week)