stop motion

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Animation

Three Sisters Face an Impending Climate Disaster in an Existential Stop-Motion Short

October 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

What begins with a calm morning filled with stunningly bright sunlight quickly morphs into a short film of existential crises and the life-altering implications of climate disasters. Directed by Frédéric Even and Louise Mercadier with production by Papy3D and JPL Films, “Sororal” is a profound stop-motion animation that follows three sisters as they react to warnings about the sea submerging the land. The trio has incredibly varied and relatable responses, with Madeleine instantly consumed by panic, Emilie forming a mystical bond to the water, and Anna approaching the situation with extreme apathy.

“Sororal” presents the siblings’ reactions to the impending flood as physical manifestations: Because Madeleine and Anna resist accepting the news, their bodies become hard and brittle and form crusty, salt-laden scabs (these scenes are slightly graphic and use nude figures). Emilie, on the other hand, remains flexible and unscathed.

 

In a conversation with the animation publication Skwigly, Even and Mercadier share that they first digitally rendered the puppets before 3D printing them in resin. The sisters’ faces are inspired by French Gothic and Asian art forms of the 12th Century, and their bodies leave the black annealed wire armature visible, a decision the filmmakers explain:

We didn’t want to hide that they were puppets, to be realistic and give them the appearance of flesh and blood characters. We found that seeing the mouth replacement lines and the joints in their hands help make them fragile and touching and although the distance is established with a being of flesh and bone it creates more empathy than with more realistic representation. We feel that they can break. We feel the precariousness of their construction. They appear all the more disarmed in the face of the immense wave which threatens them.

“Sororal” features dialogue entirely in French, so be sure to click the CC button to turn on English captions. The animation follows Even and Mercadier’s first project titled “Metamorphosis,” a 2015 retelling of Kafka’s short story, and they’re now working on a film about a foolish angel lost in space and time. (via Short of the Week)

 

 

 



Animation

A Superstitious Cast Kicks Off Montréal's 13th Annual Stop-Motion Festival in a Carnivalesque Animation

September 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

To launch its 13th year, a bizarre animation for the 2021 Festival Stop Motion Montréal evokes eerie tropes and superstitions: a drooling pug morphs into an unfriendly black cat, a gardener reveals a sharp scissor hand, and a once-vibrant fire turns into clouds of soot. Set to a lively track by Nick Lavigne that quickly bends into a sinister tone, the claymation teaser by Rome-based animator Gianluca Maruotti opens the festival, which will show 93 short films from September 10 to 19. You can find the event’s lineup—which includes appearances by Andrea Love’s Tulip and the modest product-testing rabbit named Ralph—on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 



Animation

A Striking Stop-Motion Short Creates Uncanny Visual Effects Using Matches

August 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Digital effects are no match for Tokyo-based designer Tomohiro Okazaki, whose mesmerizing new animation is a striking feat of stop-motion techniques. Using squirts of paint, strips paper, and other household objects, Okazaki deftly manipulates matchsticks into dozens of individual studies that endlessly bend and buckle their basic structure. Each analog distortion sparks a host of others that become increasingly complex and speedy, spanning from simple tricks of the hand to more elaborate clips of exploding match heads and paper morphing into fully formed sticks.

Okazaki heads the graphic design and animation studio Swimming, and you can find more clips and glimpses into his painstaking process on YouTube and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Animation

A Kind Pine Cone Helps an Elderly Man Survive a Cold Winter in a Heartwarming Stop-Motion Animation

July 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources, especially when you need it most. That’s the central message behind a heartfelt stop-motion short written, directed, and animated by Dunedin, New Zealand-based Claire Campbell. “Winter’s Blight” follows an elderly man named Bill, who struggles to heat his home during a harsh cold spell. After he runs out of wood entirely, he’s forced to chop down the lone evergreen still standing in his yard, only to encounter an enthusiastic pine cone that begs him to stop.

Produced by Jon Wilson of Shine on Films with music by Hanan Townshend, the animation took more than five years to complete and is replete with meticulously crafted details, like Bill’s hand-knit sweaters and an elaborate set built true to scale. Watch this making-of video and check out Campbell’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together.

 

 

 



Animation Food Photography

A Rhythmic Stop-Motion Short Reveals the Juicy Insides of Tropical Fruit Slice by Slice

June 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

Toronto-based animator Kevin Parry peels back the layers of kiwi, mangoes, and other tropical fruits to unveil their colorful, fleshy insides from skin to core. Paired with a satisfying track of succulent, cracking sounds, the timelapse cycles through even, cross-section cuts that presents the juicy fare in a rhythmic progression. “Hidden Patterns Inside Tropical Fruit” also includes a making-of segment that shows how Parry painstakingly slices each layer with a standard sharp kitchen knife.

Watch more of his stop-motion shorts, including a similar vegetable-themed animation, on YouTube. You also might enjoy Andy Ellison’s MRI scans of produce and other plants.  (via Kottke)

 

 

 

 



Animation

Sand and Currency from Dozens of Countries Converge in an Endless Interchange of Culture and Economics

June 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Corrie Francis Parks’s absorbing stop-motion short “Foreign Exchange” is all about perspective. Through a continuously evolving landscape of minuscule stones and banknotes, mini-universes emerge that meld the two materials into culturally significant tableaus. “Between the dazzling layers of currency and sand lie connections that can be mined in infinite ways. Each person who views this film will unearth different associations filtered through their worldly experience and national background,” Parks says.

Although the sand shown is small in quantity—Parks can hold all of it in her two hands—it’s sourced from more than 50 countries just like the paper currency, and both materials converge in a perpetual juxtaposition of culture, economics, and nature. The rocks flow across the screen like water and animals, while the colorful collages of ripped money contrast distinct national figures and heritage against a universal economic backdrop. “Canada’s interstellar pride meshes with the gothic arches of Prague’s St. Salvator’s Church. Portugal’s colonial conquests intertwine with a Singapore’s nostalgic market economy. India’s signature animals wallow beneath a Chinese waterfall,” the Baltimore-based animator says in a statement.

Watch behind-the-scenes footage of Parks’s micro-sand process, which involves moving each grain with a toothpick or tweezers before photographing, along with a few of her other animated projects, on Vimeo.