Exploring the World of Stop Motion Animation
With this post I really wanted to show a variety of stop motion styles that I enjoy and are found everywhere. From feature films, cereal advertisements to museum installations, I selected some pieces that utilize a plethora of materials and techniques. Here you will find floating people, origami, claymation, time lapse, cloth, sand and even food used to tell stories, amaze and communicate at the cutting edge of creativity. Enjoy…
We begin with the work of Sumo Science, a creative partnership by Will Studd and Ed Patterson are an award winning directing duo specializing in different forms of animation. Together they are Sumo Science, their aim is to create a fresh mix of styles using elements of stop-motion, puppetry, 2D and live-action.
One of their biggest successes to date is for Nokia with the films ‘Dot’ and ‘Gulp’. The spots went on to win over 15 major advertising awards as well as claiming Guinness World Records for the smallest stop-motion character in a film and largest animation set respectively.
“Nokia Gulp” by Sumo Science
‘Gulp’ is a short film created by Sumo Science at Aardman, depicting a fisherman going about his daily catch. Shot on location at Pendine Beach in South Wales, every frame of this stop-motion animation was shot using a Nokia N8, with its 12 megapixel camera and Carl Zeiss optics. The film has broken a world record for the ‘largest stop-motion animation set’, with the largest scene stretching over 11,000 square feet. I love this piece for a couple of reasons but mostly because of the scale and that it proves you can create quality work with almost any camera. I was shocked when it revealed the rigging and the vantage point. It must have been challenging, timing the shots with the currents.
The animators: Sumo Science on behalf of Aardman Advertising http://www.aardman.com
The sand artists: http://sandinyoureye.co.uk
The phone: http://www.nokia.com/n8
“Nokia Dot” by Sumo Science
The world’s tiniest stop-motion animation film, “Dot” follows a little girl as she tries to outrun a looming textile disaster. Oddly enough, the whimsical film was shot using a Nokia cellphone’s 12-megapixel camera tricked out with a microscope attachment that allowed directors Ed Patterson and Will Studd to capture Dot, the story’s nine millimeter-tall protagonist. They couldn’t move the character’s limbs due to its tiny size, so they actually created dozens on 3-D printed miniatures and swapped them out for the shots. Just brilliant. Below is a behind the scenes. You can really see the evolution of Sumo Science’s work on their Vimeo channel, I highly recommend seeing their archives here.
Behind the scenes: The making of “Dot”
“Gameover” by PES
Adam Pesapane, aka PES, is my personal favorite stop motion animator. He has been creating stop motion films for years and is known for creating animated stories using all sorts of random objects. Western Spaghetti has been PES’ largest viral video hit, coming in at over 4.3 million views on YouTube. I LOVE this piece because it uses simple objects but captures the sound and movement of all these classic video games perfectly. What you are viewing is immediately self evident.
Amélia & Duarte by Alice G. e Mónica S.
In this archive of remembrances, we are guided through the story of Amélia and Duarte, two people that felt out of love and are trying to cope with the feelings that come after a relationship has ended. Their lost was so deep that they tried to divide, wrap, cut, torn and ultimately erase all recollections of each other…
Alice Eça Guimarães studied digital arts at the Portuguese Catholic University’s School of Arts. Since then, she has taken a special interest in animation. Through the years she has made short animated films for various brands such as Sonae, the Intermarché or the publisher Leya, as well as educational films, such as the award-winning A incrível História das Linhas de Torres Vedras. You can learn more about Alice here
“ParaNorman” by LAIKA
Learn more about the film at https://www.laika.com/our-films/paranorman
If you saw my Halloween project this year, you know I am a sucker for all things spooky. This story is so engrossing that you actually forget that was done in stop motion. The production quality is outstanding, the lighting, cinematography and composition are just well crafted and precise. There is so much to digest technically in this movie, I can watch it over and over.
Laika, officially Laika Entertainment, LLC, an American stop-motion animation studio specializing in feature films, commercial content for all media, music videos and short films. The studio is best known for its stop-motion feature films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings, all co-produced in partnership with Universal Pictures through its Focus Features label. It is owned by Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and is located in Hillsboro, Oregon, part of the Portland metropolitan area. Knight’s son, Travis, acts as Laika’s president and CEO.
The White Stripes “The Hardest Button to Button”, Directed by Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry is a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is noted for his inventive visual style and distinctive manipulation of backgrounds, environments and materials in his storytelling. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as one of the writers of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His other films include the surrealistic science fantasy comedy The Science of Sleep (2006), the comedy Be Kind Rewind (2008), the drama The We and the I (2012), and the romantic science fantasy tragedy Mood Indigo (2013).
For me, this is a “oldie but goodie” in the tradition of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” The music syncs with the beats of the images as the drums accumulate and travel throughout the scenes.
The White Stripes “Fell In Love With A Girl”, Directed by Michel Gondry
Lego mania before the Lego movie! The energy of this piece is amazing and the visuals border on impossible. My eyes can follow the action through a precision use of color and contrast. We run, we jump, we sing. First time I saw this I was blown away. Last time I saw this I was blown away.
“History of Typography” by Ben Barrett-Forrest
Hundreds of cut-out paper letters tell the history of typefaces in this stop-motion animation by Canadian graphic designer Ben Barrett-Forrest. Originally from Whitehorse in the northern Canadian territory of Yukon, Barrett-Forrest is currently studying multimedia at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He also runs Forrest Media, a graphic design and media production company.
“T-Shirt War!!” by Rhett & Link
A creative viral stop-motion music video that uses more than 200 custom-printed shirts like an old-school flip book. Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, the duo wear a series of shirts with specially designed images in the video. A behind the scenes can be found here. Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal, III , are an American comedy duo. Self-styled as “Internetainers” they are known for their online viral videos, comedy songs, ten-episode TV series Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings for the Independent Film Channel, their daily morning talk-show titled Good Mythical Morning (GMM), their YouTube Red series Buddy System, and more recently, their YouTube channel “Mythical” and new series “Let’s Talk About That.”
This is a graphic designers dream. The use of the same color t-shirt to keep consistency is excellent. This imaginative and playful type of stop motion makes you think about the possibilities when inanimate objects have relationships and interactions with each other. There are no laws, physics and the rules of reality go out the window.
Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie
This music video, which was shot in 2096 frames. It was really one-of-a-kind and special. It has had nearly 12 million YouTube views in just over a year. This mind-bending piece puts you in a dream state (literally).
Behind the scenes: Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie
“GOING FISHING”. A Stop motion Animation by Guldies
A short stop-motion film by Swedish animator Alexander Unger, a.k.a. Guldies on YouTube. He created it in his bedroom on his desk from 2,500 still pictures and shared some behind-the-scenes work in this video from May 2017. It is a stop motion animation about making stop motion animation. The interactions with the set are magical. I also prefer the higher frame rate stop motion that makes the transformations smoother.
Max Martin: Stop Motion Character Animation Reel (Aardman/NFTS)
In late 2014 Max Martin graduated an intensive 3 month Stop Motion/Character Animation course taught at the Aardman studio in Bristol, UK and run by the prestigious National Film And Television School. I included these two videos by Max Martin because they truly capture the “puppeteer” character driven branch of stop motion animation. The figures expressions, body movements and other actions mimic human behavior so well you almost forget that you are watching thousands of still frames. The piece below, represents a wide variety of subjects and styles.
Max Martin – Stop Motion Show Reel 2014
A montage of Max Martin’s work over the past few years of working as a freelance stop motion animator. On each of these projects he performed the role of animator, sometimes within a team and other times on his own, often taking the role of director/producer. This features work for clients.
So, we find that stop motion animation is ubiquitous and quite flexible. It can vary in tone and can be used for everything from intense rock videos to slow and thoughtful romantic pieces. In my next few posts, I am going to try my hand at creating a few of my own. It will be a lot of work and doubt any of my stop motion “scribbles” will even be close to the shadow of one these masterpieces, but am excited by the thought of experimenting in this medium.
Stop Motion Animation inspiration and references….
Best to Worst: Stop-Motion Animation/Claymation. (2018, November 08). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/list/ls063147631
O’Neill, M. (2010). Top 10 Viral Stop Motion Videos. Adweek. Retrieved from https://www.adweek.com/digital/stop-motion-videos
The 10 Coolest Stop-Motion Shorts We’ve Ever Seen. (2011, November 18). Retrieved from http://flavorwire.com/232406/the-10-coolest-stop-motion-shorts-weve-ever-seen
Stop motion. (2018, November 08). Retrieved from https://www.acmi.net.au/ideas/all/stop-motion
The 27 Greatest Stop Motion Movies of All Time. (2018, November 09). Retrieved from https://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/kubo-and-the-two-strings/258506/the-27-greatest-stop-motion-movies-of-all-time
Behind the scenes: https://youtu.be/dBQtptMDxcQ
Shawn is an Information Technology manager in Washington D.C. and a graduate student at Quinnipiac University pursuing his masters in Interactive Media and Communications.
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