stop motion

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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)

 

 



Animation

Next-Level Cardistry is Showcased in a Clever New Stop Motion Animation by Omozoc

October 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Stop motion animator omozoc (previously) evokes the astonishing cardistry of poker dealers in a new short film. Aptly titled “Legendary Poker Dealer,” the short starts off with classic suave moves to deal and sort cards. As the animation continues, omozoc’s tricks become more and more intricate, and eventually start to veer towards the unbelievable. Watch through til the end for a fun surprise, and be sure to have the sound on to enjoy the audio effects. See more from the anonymous animator on YouTube.

 

 



Animation

Natural History Museum: A Snarky Celebration of Anthropology and Chicken Wings by Kirsten Lepore

October 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Using stop motion animation and her signature blend of the banal and bizarre, animator Kirsten Lepore (previously) plays with universal human traits in her new short, “Natural History Museum.” The animated film highlights the readiness with which we condescend to cultures from the past, as well as the deliciousness of chicken wings, through the lens of two characters whose identities shift over time. See more from Lepore on Vimeo and pick up swag inspired by her animations in her Society6 store.

 

 

 



Art

Stop-Motion Animation Shows a Bird’s POV of the Exotic Pet Industry

August 18, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Animator and director Evan DeRushie‘s recent short film “Birdlime” is about an exotic breed that escapes capture just to find itself injured and caged anyway. Birdlime features handcrafted and stop-motion animated human hands, tropical trees, other birds, and gibberish sounds in place of dialogue. The colorful kid-friendly film shows the versatility of the medium for fun, engaging, and artful storytelling.

Inspired by a trip to Thailand and his introduction to the exotic pet industry, DeRushie had the idea to the tell the story from the bird’s point of view. The characters are made from dyed and painted cushion foam. Working alone, the animator designed everything so that it would last long shoots with limited camera angles and edits.

“Thinking about the way that animals are represented in animation, and the effects in the real world (like how clown fish populations were decimated directly after Finding Nemo), I started seeing animation as a powerful and scary tool,” DeRushie said in a statement. “With this in mind, I tried to portray a respectful relationship between human and animal, and to treat the bird without too much anthropomorphism. I also wanted the film to feel like you were in the cage with the main character, and to be a bit confused by the world.”

DeRushie is the co-owner of the Toronto-based animation studio Stop Motion Department Inc.. Prior to “Birdlime” he animated and set-supervised 2015’s The Little Prince and was a part of the team that animated the short film “The Fox and the Chickadee,” which played in numerous festivals around the world. To see more of his work, click through to his official website.

Images via Short of the Week