Overload, Filmmaking Freebies Tips, Stop Mo in Ireland .... You may have already seen
it, but this is first time I seen this posted online; excerpt of a Stop
Motion creature Link 2, executed by the Tippett'ster
Meister, years ago when he worked at ILM on Howard the Duck.
IMDb, the supposed online bible of
the dry facts about movies, actors, or anyone who
may have received some credit in the most
obscure or biggest films.
They have 'something' that may be of instructive value, Ask a Filmmaker Link 2. If you do not know already,
Live action filmmaking methods can apply
zoned out? At stop motion message board someone posted notification
about a position. Nobody bothered to click through their site? Some undiscovered
entertaining Stop Motion at Flicker Pix (Flash heavy site). At bottom
of their home page, click on the link that says Reel
and especially the link Old Stuff. Here
is Message Board post from them.
me out this month. As I mentioned in a comment last
time; I wonder if you pay
to any of this, or, am I just doing keyboarding exercises for an office
job? No thumbnail
images to spice up this blog installment. Got to bounce
out of here; my internet connection has been glitchy for a few days. ' Hasta
Stop Motion you may have not seen ....
YouTube is sure getting interesting to find unique postings of clips.
Kind of weird, how we
endure the small puny player window video
(Tip: wear reading/magnification glasses; it somewhat helps view it). I
am trying to keep this blog/news short
this time and also with less embedded thumbnail images within
the text (takes more work), because last blog 3.17.07,
I wrote a dissertation-thesis and it Fried
my brain. Writing does not fluidly come
out of me (many re-edits to get it, sort-of right). I wonder if you
read or get any value from all this texting verbosity.
Anyway, some juicy stuff only
for the hardcore Stop Motionist obsessed.
Pete Peterson, known for assisting Ray Harryhausen on the 1949, Stop
Mo epic, Mighty Joe Young. Pete continued with some stop
motion after MJY .... The Black Scorpion (1957), The Giant Behemoth (1959); and these I never saw
before, clips of Peterson's Stop Motion test reel
for never realized projects, Beetlmen & Las Vegas Monster Link 2 (in the 1950's).
more? I always heard about Beast from Hollow Mountain (1956) but never seen it. The
end climax is posted online (almost 10 minutes). It's a strange one.
Somewhat good cinematography for live action, but the Stop Motion, not
the greatest, but interesting & ambitious.
* Other, not as
well known Stop Motionists .... but nevertheless,
creative & talented and also members of the
forum. Richard Svensson, mostly does not
post at messageboard (What's up with that?). He has had a website for a
few years, called The Lone Animator. He has a banner at top of
this page, for awhile (Geez ... you never noticed?). He lives in Sweden
and it seems, he was into
Lord of the Ring'ish style before it was
popularized by Peter Jackson's Trilogy. Richard has much inspiration
from Ray harryhausen. Rich posted some of his work
online at YouTube. It appears, he shot it with Video Camcorder (live
action & animation); and may not meet your elitist mega-schmega
resolution standards; HOWEVER, most important; lots of
energy, fun, imaginative and creative storytelling.
Check out Rich's work .... Jabberwocky and Pirate Babe vs Evil Toys. This does not appear recent
but projects that took him a few years. If you wish, give him feedback.
Dan "The Man" Anderson
coming back to LIFE. Also, a member of the Stop
Mo message board. He does not say too much but I am assuming, he is
busy working on gigs to pay the rent, and also, a family man ("Kids"
more important than Stop Motion?). Dan is more than just an animator,
but eclectic too; graphic
designer, illustration, creative & art director, sculptor,
modelmaker, puppet maker, home brewer of armatures, etc..
He has an unoffical animation handle .... known as Animation
Daddy. They, or actually Dan, has been working on an ambitious
Stop Motion project; looks Cool.
Check it out, The Magic Candles. Okay, I got a little bit of
energy and I will post a thumbnail image for Dan here. Will later post
another link, elsewhere at Stop Motion Works, to attract interest
Stop Motion and Technology ..... In the historical
beginnings of Stop Motion, it appeared to be somewhat primitive,
especially when you compare it to 2D drawn
animation (aka cartoons), which started around early 1900
circa. With 2D animation,
one draws a frame at a time; but using a lightbox
(or thin tracing paper), you are able to see
through some of the layers of paper
and compare the previous drawings to the
most recent drawing. A very simple
element/principle but it was the core-root
foundation of making drawn animation creatively
controllable by the artist.
In this regard, 2D animation was more
advanced than Stop Motion,
in the area of production methods.
Motion is usually referred to, as using the straight ahead animation method. As done in the old
days; you pose/move the puppet each
frame, with no solid reference to the previous
frames. It is actually, animating
BLINDLY. You have to strongly rely
on your memory's ability to
internally visualize the animation
choreography. Astounding how Willis
O'Brien, Ray Harryhausen, Jim
Danforth and many Stop Motionists,
mastered this animation method. Much trial
& error to learn it.
Also, the animator had to endure the awkwardness
& tediousness of using surface
guages, which was your primary visual
for estimating the general incremental
frame-by-frame puppet movements. Watch Phil Tippett using surface
guages. I look back and think,"Geez!"
It certainly was not easy for me and fried
my brains, focusing very intensely when
working on stop motion shots. Today
.... Stop Motion Software (aka Frame Grabbers) is
essentially, a very simple technology
(compared to complex CGI programs) but has had profound
positive impact on the quality
of Stop Motion and has maybe helped it stay
competitive & marketable with other
animation methods, now. The software
allows you to see the previous
frames and also preview
the progress of the animation AS
you are animating; it gives you instant feedback
and accelerates the animation
learning; the software gives the Stop Motionist much control
& predictability of the finished
animation product. In the ol' school days,
using movie 'film'
cameras, you would have to wait
the next day or longer (for film to be
processed), to see the results
of the stop motion shots, and if you "Fugged-Up";
you start over. It is, or was, a masochistic
& tortuous method to create your 'Art'.
ways might technology help Stop
Motion? In the early days, there was an attempt by ILM using their proprietary Go-Motion methods. An early form of Go
Motion was actually used on 'Empire Strikes
Back' (some of the TaunTaun striding scenes). Go Motion
made its big splash premier on Dragonslayer feature. Later, Go
Mo was used on Howard the Duck, Golden Child, and maybe Willow (I am not sure). In hindsight,
very technically complex via mechanical device
& stepper motors and seemed
slower than traditional stop motion;
all just to supposedly smooth out the
animation. Back then, from what I read (e.g., Cinefex), ILM seemed
obsesssed with excess details and IMO, the general audience would
probably not even have noticed.
evolved today, that has replaced the antiquated mechanical Go-Motion
(which only ILM used, many years ago, their complex method), are Blurring
programs or software plugins
that can be added to the Stop Motion after animation is completed (in
post-production). This artificially creates the illusion of smooth or
fast action in Stop Motion, by creating what is known as, Motion Blurs which is a phenomenon that
results in image smearing when
photographing or filming fast moving objects, people, creatures, etc..
Here is an old article (or directly to PDF link) which is dated but gives you
an understanding of blurs as related to Stop
Stop Motionist & Special Effect Artist, Jim Danforth used Go
Motion-type Blurring effects
for Stop Motion, well before
ILM, using less complex methods. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, you can see examples of it.
now, for the cartoon-style
puppet animation, especially for Stop Motion TV series,
seems to be the use of CGI mouths-lips that
are motion tracked onto the faces of the puppets.
After the animation is done, using software in post production,
animated mouths-lips are added. I have some misgivings about the look
of it and perhaps somewhat contrary to the pure
style of Stop Motion. It is not
applicable for all puppet character designs, but it seems to work for
'some' puppet styles & looks. I suppose, from the "Suits" point
of view, it maybe speeds up production of
Stop Motion. I believe Cuppa Coffee Studio (in Canada) has been using CGI
lip-mouth animation for some of their Stop Motion. Here is a QuickTime
At the Stop Motion board, a number of years ago, some
topics came up about some kind of software that will add "inbetween"
frames. So theoretically, you only stop
mo animate, half the number of frames,
then the software is suppose to add
the remaining inbetween frames. Much too long to explain
, but let us enter our time machine and return to these topics from the past and
refresh your memory: Stop Motion Synth Program & "In-Between" software for stop
Did you read it? Nick Hilligoss did not just speculate
& talk, but he sat his butt down and actually
did do tests with the software. Conclusion for now: It
does not seem to work for Stop Motion. He
posted a video clip and summary of the inbetween tests at StopMoShorts. Basically, the software cannot
deal with complex backgrounds
and appendages crossing in front of each other.
You get strange pixel image artifacts, warping and
tearing. I suggested in one of those topics, perhaps the
inbetween software can be used for more specific
shots and you would need to shoot
the puppets green/bluescreen to avoid the
background distortion issue. Lets fast
forward to today. It looks like, some thinking-out-of
the-box creatives at Lumenas Studios (in Utah) are attempting to do
some pioneering & trailblazing
with Stop Motion. They are working on a Stop Motion project and will be using a proprietary
inbetweening software. They have a test online, but the
clip size is too small, and too
short . Maybe as their project progresses
they might be generous to allow us to have a better
sneak peek. Here it is Behind the Scene. It appears that they are
using their inbetween software with the puppet animated
against a solid color or bluescreen
background. Just as I previously predicted, eliminating the background,
then compositing it in later.. MotionPerfect is the software Nick tested
and it is the lowest priced, with so-so results. However, there is Twixtor & ReTimer Pro which are high
priced (& perhaps better results) and out of the
range, of the budgetly challenged. These time/speed
changing programs are not
specifically designed for Stop Motion but could possibly be adapted.
You probably have to hire a Software writer/author to custom design an
'Inbetweening' application that is very specific to Stop
Motion (as Lumenas did).
is primarily tactile, hands-on, real-world puppets
& environment (minimal CGI use);
and this is what gives it, its own very unique aesthetics,
style, & surreal quality. 'Technology'
can help Stop
Motion but it will always
be somewhat resistant to being taken
over by 'Puters. There
will be Hybrid forms of Stop
Motion with the aid of technology,
however, Stop Mo will essentially remain
an Art form, mostly using old
world skills, crafts, &
knowledge. One can write a few Bible-sized
manuals, about armature fabrication,
machining, brazing, sculpting, molding & casting, puppet
making, building miniatures, etc. etc.. Edit
* Laika Studio /
Campus Starting to Roll ..... Phil Knight (Nike
Athletic Footwear King) just approved the
architects who will design
the all new Laika. One of the press release quotes, "A
state-of-the-art feature film animation campus". On the
surface, this does not seem like unusual news. You saying to yourself, "Oh, another all CGI
Studio. Do we not already have a glut of 'puter animation &
digital special effect studios?" IMO, what is
very unique, is, that Phil
is not dumping Stop Motion
but wholly embracing it. They are
actually going to include
Stop Motion production capabilities into
the new campus studio. This is fugg'n rare
for a USA based mainstream-type studio.
Most of the typical, larger studios are obsessed
in CGI only and would
never, ever, never, consider Stop Motion.
In their myopic short term vision, most
Tinsel Town 'Suits' would flush Stop Motion down the toilet.
Although, outside the USA,
on a bigger studio scale, Stop Motion,
seems to 'somewhat' survive. You have Aardman (the UK), Cuppa Coffee (Canada), Se-Ma-For (Poland), and a few other
overseas Stop Motion studios (the large studio category).
THUMBS UP to
"Walking the Talk" in fully supporting Stop Motion. One
of the few in the upper echelon that has the forward
vision to see that VARIETY
is what the public is looking
for (people will tire of Copy-cat CGI).
Stop Motion is still
a most viable & marketable animation
medium. Read LAIKA Owner Phil Knight Selects
End Stop Motion in the Outbacks of Utah? Yes indeed. You have the larger
professional Stop Motion production
house, like Laika, but then we seem to
have another trend; the small boutique
Stop Motion studios popping up in strange
places in the USA, so far away
from the mainstream entertainment centers on the West & East
A couple of brothers, Nathan
& Chris Smith run a low key, not well publicized
yet, Stop Motion studio, called Ageless Animation,
in Lehi, Utah USA (near & south
of Salt Lake City). They originally partnered with Lumenas
Studio (see last month's news) who are also in Utah; and the
Smith brothers & crew handled the Stop Motion for Davie & Golimyr.
Chris are now working on their own projects, including
distribution, under the banner of Candleman Films;
a series of holiday themed stories via the
magic of Stop Motion. They recently
released, The Light Before Christmas and another one called, Jonah: A Great Fish Story. Take a look at their teasers.
IMO, high production values. Also, as
needed, they judiciously sprinkle just a little CGI
digital effects, to only enhance the Stop Motion.
They seem to be creating new Holiday Stop Motion Classics
for a new generation. Both, Jonah
& the Christmas tale, are slick
& finessed. They seem to have captured a look
& style exclusive to themselves. Even only
seeing the brief trailers; it projects much warmth
& nostalgic feelings similar to
those now retro, Rankin-Bass Stop Motion, when you and I
watch as kids. In these hectic & insane
times, a refreshing antidote to escape;
for kids & adults
alike. Nathan & Chris are stepping
up to the plate to fill that need.
Both animated tales are about 1/2 hour long each and can be affordably purchased online. P.S. Here is their other website,
primarily for investors, Evergreen Holiday Classics, giving more info about the
business side. Some more reads here too, Jonah article & Ageless Animation
McVey's: Ann Darrow attacked by Dino Birds (pterodactyls)
can go back to earlier blog/news and refresh your memory, Meister Tony McVey slowly emerging. I stated back then, "....
but wait until you see what Tony does with this singular &
small (pterodactyl) puppet in the animated scenes". You
know how the lemming-like CGI special effects practioners are sometimes
obsessed with digitally
cloning to produce large crowds, herds,
animals, birds, creatures or whatever numerous
quantities of characters (recent one was the all CGI & motion
captured, Happy Feet) ..... simply because "they
can", but these plethora
of cloned characters does not necessarily
make a better story. IMO, many times,
just eye candy to show off
the special effects studio's technical ability
(yawn). Whoaaa .... going off topic.
can be done in a Harryhausen-esque Stop
Motion product or what I like to call, Hyper-Harryhausen.
No, not thousands of Stop Mo characters, but nevertheless effective, if
you need to do a few or some
multiples of similar looking
puppet characters in a single
scene/shot, with some assistance of digital post
production tools. Something I am planning on doing in my tests but Tony
beat me to it . Turn up
the speaker volume & enjoy Skull Island
Harryhausen's Jason Greek Mythology Classic .... Found a 4 part article, originally
published for Cinescape Magazine back in 2000.
There are no photos with the articles, but very detailed and well
written about the production of "Jason and the Argonauts".
The information in these articles is almost as revealing as the Animated Life book. As I said, no pictures with
the article but the author effectively uses the written word. It is a
good read that you can stretch over a few days, if you like, JASON and THE ARGONAUTS: A Retrospective by Ted Newsom, Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
Analog TV Broadcasts Ending February 17, '09 ..... Mark your calendar,
TWO years from now; that is what they are saying. Big Brother interfering
and further impacting your lives by
making you unecessarily spend more $$$
on unecessary crap and what a half
ass job they are doing publicizing this enforced change. If you do
nothing, after the above date,
your existing or
recent TV of only a few years ago, may not
be able to receive over-the-air
TV signals. This is not
about HD image resolution on your TV, but
has to do with the digital
signal transmission replacing analog;
of television signal being transmitted
over the airwaves.
Many of us have perfectly
working older TVs. They can last
for many years. Typical of planned
obsolescence & waste;
happening at hyper fast rate and now
mandated upon us by order
of the FCC powers (via our elected politicians). All you, Pro
Eco-Green, Global Warmists; what do you have to say
about this obscene product waste of functional
& working Analog TVs, Dvd
recorders, VCRs, etc.?? I left out details about this Fed
Government law, shutting down Analog TV signal broadcasting.
Google for yourself and
prepare for more fugg'n hassle
in a few years. There should be OUTRAGE
but as usual, apathetic lazy public who only complain & whine,
only when it is too late. Something to
get you started, Analog TV - Ladies & Gentlemen,
Start your Tuners - Planned obsolescence becoming
built into culture Edit 03.04.07