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Animation Colossal Design

Interview: Production Designer Liz Toonkel Describes Creating the Adorable Universe of ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’

August 16, 2022

Christopher Jobson

A tiny mollusk with a big personality, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is famous for quirky antics and endlessly entertaining use of human-sized objects. In a new interview supported by Colossal Members, production designer Liz Toonkel discusses building the universe the adorable character occupies in the feature-length mockumentary released this summer from A24.

All of those little details that you wouldn’t think about, when you watch it they give it an inherent truth because everything feels like it does in our real world. Same thing with the garden. Those are real plants. That’s so rare in stop motion that you have real organic materials. It’s pretty much impossible to stop-motion animate with them because they decompose. There was a lot of thought put into how to bring organic, real life to the things around Marcel.

Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson recently sat down with Toonkel to discuss building a realistic micro world within a macro setting, the challenges of blending live-action with stop-motion animation, and why the tennis ball scenes are as impressive as the internet thinks. Read the full interview here.

 

 

 



Art

A Playfully Grotesque Monster Peeks Out of Danaé Brissonnet’s Ravenous Mural in Montréal

August 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Thierry du Bois, © Danaé Brissonnet, shared with permission

A grotesquely beautiful monster with monarch wings, long feathered lashes, and a curiously large mouth has taken over a corner building in Montréal. The cheeky puppet mural is by French-Canadian artist Danaé Brissonnet in collaboration with Poncili Creacion and stands at the intersection of Boulevard Saint Laurent and Rue Marie Anne. Centered around the theme of digestion, the massive public work is a playful, metaphorical interpretation of the bodily process. “These days I’m intrigued with exploring the ways in which I nourish myself… the who and what I let inside,” Brissonnet writes on Instagram. “On the outside, he seems cute and inviting, but he will ferociously protect himself, deciding just who may enter his house.”

A boxy character with outstretched arms swivels atop the roof, and a rainbow chute evocative of a digestive track emerges from one side. Flora and fauna surround the anatomical parts, which the artist explains:

His yellow eyes are positioned in the center of his face and crowned by an echinacea flower, a really special flower for the immune system, a symbol of hope and strength. The arms transform into roosters, (which honors) the Portuguese park and the neighborhood’s delicious Portuguese roast chicken… The long crane holding a house is a little message to myself to find a home somewhere that I can set roots!

Brissonnet, who’s based in Guadeloupe, is currently working on a mural in Québec before she travels to Detroit for City Walls. Find more of her projects that blend puppetry and public art on her site.

 

 

 



Science

The First Video of an Extremely Rare Jellyfish Captures Its Striped Tentacles and Spotted, Pulsing Body

August 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

There have been only two documented sightings of the elusive Chirodectes maculatus, a large, soccer ball-sized jellyfish with distinct spotted markings, the second of which was captured late last year by divers from Scuba Kavieng. In what is believed to be the first recording, the video shows the extremely rare animal, which has four clusters of striped tentacles, rings covering its body, and a pulsing patch of red on its bell that’s likely a digestive cavity, as it swims near the coast of Papua New Guinea.

Researchers first encountered the specimen in 1997, although they didn’t officially designate it as a unique genus until 2005. According to Vice, most jellyfish of this kind are recognizable for their boxy bodies and venom, although the Chirodectes maculatus seems to be lacking that poisonous characteristic.

 

 

 



Animation Design

A Satisfying Stop-Motion Tutorial by omozoc Effortlessly Slices and Assembles a Wooden Box Entirely by Hand

July 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

omozoc (previously) gives new meaning to handcrafted in one of his latest stop-motion tutorials. With a simple touch of his fingertip or nail zipping along the edge of a piece of wood, the animator appears to cut, bevel, and construct a tissue box without any outside tools or fasteners. Comprised of 791 individual photos, the seamless video took 22 days to complete and is part of omozoc’s growing archive of woodworking lessons, which you can find more of (make sure you turn your volume up to hear the incredibly satisfying audio) on YouTube.

 

 

 



Photography Science

An Elegant Timelapse Captures an Oak from Acorn to Tree in 196 Days

July 18, 2022

Christopher Jobson

In this brief timelapse, a single acorn germinates from seed to sapling during a period of 196 days, transferred carefully from vessel to vessel as it sprouts. The simple yet wondrous clip is just one of many plant-growing timelapses produced by the Youtube channel Boxlapse (also on Instagram) where you’ll find a new release almost every weekday. The videos include all manner of plants and fungi captured in interesting ways, including the growth of a mango tree during a yearlong period or the first 113 days of a dragon fruit cactus, seen below.

 

 

 



Design Science

Invisible Forces Vibrate and Quiver within Elaborately Constructed Fields of Magnets

July 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

Elaborately configured grids and systems capitalize on the immense power of neodymium magnets to visualize the invisible. A new collaborative video from Magnet Tricks and Magnetic Games demonstrates how shifting a single element can set an entire design in motion, prompting each component to shake and vibrate in response. A visually mesmerizing example of basic physics, the project is also a study of sound and its manipulable patterns, so make sure you turn your volume up. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 

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