stop motion

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Animation

A Five-Part Stop Motion Anthology Tests the Limits of Short Film

June 6, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

This Magnificent Cake! is a new stop motion animation by Belgium-based filmmaker pair Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels (previously) which tests the physical limits of short film. The 44-minute, 5-chapter anthology is just over the cut for what can be considered a short film, yet is far more condensed then one that is a traditional longer format. Described as a “mid-length film,” the work follows five different characters through colonial Africa in the late 19th-century which include a “troubled king, a middle-aged Pygmy working in a luxury hotel, a failed businessman on an expedition, a lost porter, and a young army deserter.”

The film premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and will be screened at the upcoming Animafest Zagreb 2018, Annecy Festival 2018, and Anima Mundi Brazil 2018. You can see the trailer for the animation above, and more short films by de Swaef and Roels on Vimeo. (via Short of the Week)

 

 



Animation

A Stop-Motion Demo Turns Meta as the Characters Gradually Take Over in ‘Stems’ by Ainslie Henderson

May 11, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In this meta animation, animator and director Ainslie Henderson (previously) seamlessly transforms a demonstration of his stop motion practice into a film where his miniature puppets take over. The rag tag group of figures break off from Henderson’s narrative to form a slapdash electronic band, utilizing scraps from his workbench to construct instruments from the same electric detritus used to form their own hands, faces, and feet.

“Puppet making often begins by just gathering stuff, like materials that I find attractive like wood, sticks, wire, leaves, flowers, petals, and bits of broken electronics,” says Henderson in the film. “[I use] things that have already had a life are lovely to have as puppets. And then from there you just start improvising. It’s like making music, you just see where it leads you.”

During the process of animating Henderson’s voiceover gradually fades and the viewer realizes his voice is simply a tape recording on screen, and has suddenly been repurposed as an instrument by his animated creations.

Stems has picked up numerous awards since 2016 including a BAFTA in Scotland. You can watch more of Henderson’s work on his Vimeo Channel.

 

 



Art

Three Quirky New Stop Motion Shorts by ‘PES’

February 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Oscar-nominated stop motion animator PES (previously) has a few new short films out, including Gone Fishin’, Lens Smash, and Still Life. Gone Fishin’ engages PES’ ingenious use of found materials, like lace standing in for the ocean floor and antique skeleton keys swimming as a school of fish. Lens Smash and Still Life feature quirky visual puns captured in just a few short seconds. Watch the films here and find many more on the artist’s Instagram or his YouTube channel, which has garnered an impressive following of nearly one and a half million people.

 

 

 



Animation

Negative Space: A Short Film That Explores a Father-Son Relationship Through the Art of Packing

January 24, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Presented above is the trailer for the stop-motion film Negative Space, co-directed by Baltimore-based animators Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. The short film is an adaptation of the eponymous poem by Ron Koertge, which tells the story of a relationship between a father and son through the organized art of packing. Although both directors immediately connected with the message of the poem, the piece struck a personal chord with Kuwahata whose father had worked as an airline pilot.

“I remember my dad adjusting his watch precisely before leaving the house and I remember the packing list that he pinned to the wall of his study,” Kuwahata told Variety. “My most vivid childhood memories are connected with objects, textures, and ordinary routines.”

The directors wanted to highlight these specific textures and feelings associated with everyday objects and clothing, bringing a sense of believability to each ritualized scene. Over the course of three months Porter and Kuwahata’s team fabricated each tiny sock, shirt, and belt from the original material, ensuring an idealized portrayal of the main characters’ connection and bond over perfected packing.

The film was just nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. You can view a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the animated short in a video by IKKI Films below, and watch trailers for the rest of the nominees on Short of the Week.

 

 



Animation

A Stop Motion Fishing Excursion Filmed on a Bedroom Desk by Guldies

January 15, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Swedish animator Guldies (previously) just released his latest stop motion short titled Going Fishing. The entire clip was filmed in his bedroom on a desk requiring 2,500 photographs shot with a Canon EOS 600D. The attention to detail in giving weight to small objects like the bucket, wood, and bobber is extremely well done. See more of Guldies’ work on his YouTube channel. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Art Music

WoodSwimmer: A New Stop-Motion Short Made Entirely by Tediously Cutting Through Wood

June 15, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

WoodSwimmer is a new short film by engineer and stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, who has built armatures for films such as Boxtrolls and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Created in collaboration with musician and animator bedtimes, the work follows a piece of raw wood through a milling machine, capturing its unique growth rings, knots, and weathered spots through a series of cross-sectional photographic scans. Due the speed at which the images are animated, the log’s grains begin to flow like granules of sand—shifting, mixing, and flowing in a vibrant dance that seems completely removed from its rigid material.

“Fascinated with the shapes and textures found in both newly-cut and long-dead pieces of wood, I envisioned a world composed entirely of these forms,” Foxwell told Colossal. “As I began to engage with the material, I conceived a method using a milling machine and an animation camera setup to scan through a wood sample photographically and capture its entire structure. Although a difficult and tedious technique to refine, it yielded gorgeous imagery at once abstract and very real. Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot, I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

Heads up: watching this full-screen in HD with sound makes all the difference. You can see more of Foxwell’s works, like his 19-minute film Fabricated, on his Vimeo.

 

 



Animation Design

A Stop Motion Examination of Endless Loading Screens

February 17, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Director Rafael Vangelis transforms the unbearable task of watching an endlessly spinning wheel or loading bar into an entertaining and analogue study of self-produced loading mechanisms in his latest short film Analogue Loaders. Using stop motion techniques and traditional animation he turns clay, wood, 3D-printed objects, and even eggs into 3D loaders, dazzling the eye rather than enraging the mind.

Vangelis considers the short film an animated autobiography, as he spends a great chunk of his own life watching projects slowly load and computers crash. “The result,” says Vangelis, “is an homage to all the lost time we collectively spend in digital limbo in the hopes of sudden development on our screen.”

The video was just selected as a Staff Pick on Vimeo. You can see behind-the-scenes video of Analogue Loaders on Vangelis’s website.

 

 

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