Happy Birthday Wallace and Gromit!

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wallace and gromit googleToday marks the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit’s “Grand Day Out”, one of the main inspirations that got me into stop-motion animation. I remember back when “The Wrong Trousers” came out and I received a plasticine kit at Christmas which included a guide on how to make the characters. I spent numerous hours recreating Wallace, Gromit, and the evil little Penguin.

I have been a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit over the years and hope Aardman continue to make many more adventures for them.

Coraline

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coraline

I finally got around to seeing the film Coraline! Whilst I wanted to see it at the cinema, I somehow missed the opportunity. I managed to get a copy on DVD with both the 2D and 3D versions included (along with 4 pairs of 3D glasses), but I have only sat down to watch it in “2D” so far.

Coraline is a visually stunning stop-motion film. I could not believe how fluid and beautifully animated the characters were. The visuals were quite similar to the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but thankfully it isn’t another stop-motion musical! (Phew! I hate those). Whilst the look is quite similar, it does feel a lot less exaggerated and a little more refined. Coraline definitely has it’s own look.

The story is about a young girl (Coraline) who doesn’t get enough attention from her parents. As they had just recently moved into a new home (an old house), she stumbles across a hidden door which leads to an alternate universe. Everything is suddenly “better”. Her parents give her undivided attention and come across a lot more loving and caring than her “real” Mum and Dad. The only weird thing is that everyone there seems to have buttons for eyes. Obviously, something isn’t quite right and we are treated to a very dark, yet incredibly imaginative story.

I highly recommend you check out this film, not only if you are a stop-motion loving nut like me. Coraline is a great film which is beautifully animated and definitely worth anyone’s time. Go see it, and let me know what you think :)

Balance

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Whilst not actually animating myself, I like to spend my time looking at stop-motion videos created by others. It helps inspire new ideas and styles for creating my own.

Whilst visiting a few blogs earlier this week I stumbled across this video named Balance. It is just over 7 minutes long, but is definitely worth your time. It features a concept which is brilliantly executed in quite a dark and surreal way. I love the fact that there is no dialogue and that each person displays a range of emotions and characteristics.

I really hope I can make something this good myself one day.

Let me know what you think :)

EDIT: The video keeps getting removed and re-uploaded due to copyright issues. You will now need to search for it yourself. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I bought a book!

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Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model AnimationI had originally planned to start animating this week. However, I have spent most of my time sketching out ideas, reading tutorials, and watching videos for some inspiration. As all of my previous animation has been purely experimental, I really wanted to make my next stop-motion video a little more meaningful or entertaining.

As part of my research, I’ve decided to buy a book. I used to think that all the information you could ever want was freely available on the Internet, but it seems that claymation and stop-motion animation might be a bit of a small niche, even for the word wide web. Sites like animateclay.com are good, but they just don’t seem to go into enough depth, or suggest alternative ways of doing things beyond the scope of products they sell in their e-shops.

The book I purchased (and will be eagerly awaiting for in the post) is called Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation. There are a few others that I’d like to get my hands on, but I’ll try reading this one first and pass on any good tips I find.

The Green Blob

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An unimaginative title I know. The video below is an “experiment” I carried out over the weekend. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at stop-motion animation (or claymation.. I don’t really know the correct term), but until recently I’ve never really had the right “tools”.

It’s a fairly short clip bulked out a little by credits and stuff to help bring site traffic and turn off potential media thieves. The animation sequence is about 6-8 seconds which required over 70 separate photographs and took about 30 minutes to make. The software used to create the final result was Windows Movie Maker (bundled with Windows Vista).

For my next claymation video I will be looking at adding more fluid animation, adding sound, and experimenting with Stop Motion Pro to see if it offers much in the way to justify it’s hefty price tag. I have several story and character ideas for when I get a little bit better at this, so be sure to check back at the site often for more videos.