July 22, 2014
This is a cool revelation, thanks to The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation … After about 76 years we are finally able to examine a detailed photo of one of Ray Harryhausen’s early armatures used when he was just a young 17-18 years of age. The youthful Ray at that time, teaching himself stop motion and undertook an ambitious Evolution of the World stop motion animation project which was never completed and only some unfinished scenes remained. In the scenes, there was a triceratops, an allosaurus (I think), and a brontosaurus.
For Stop motion geeks into the technical minutiae: It is known that Ray’s parents were very supportive of Ray’s pursuit in model animation. His father, Frederick, was a machinist metal-worker. He assisted his son, Ray with the design & fabrication of stop motion skeletal armatures. Interesting to see Frederick using the principle of ‘Universal Joints’ with the ball/socket, which is not as common and a little more advanced than the standard sandwich-style ball & socket joints. So, herewith enclosed is a pristine photo of the Bronto armature used (click on photo below for super large size) by Ray.
Here are the brief scenes of the never completed ‘Evolution of the World’. Remember, this is a very young Ray Harryhausen who was just beginning to grasp stop motion but you can see glimpses of his signature dynamic character animation style starting to develop. NO digital-schmigitidal, mouse-clicking computers, frame grabbers in 1938-40 … the model miniatures & puppets, & other elements, composited (combined) & executed IN the camera ….
July 13, 2014
This is from Adam Savage’s website – blog (one of Mythbusters host- USA program) spotlighting an animator, Marty Cooper. I thought it was fresh & unique what this artist-animator is creating. It is kind of free form having spontaneous quality. No mouse clicked CGI or involved post-production. Take a look at his inventive & resourceful creative process, all shot directly on his smartphone.
June 16, 2014
Here is a cool video reminiscing and spotlighting Phil Tippett and his association with the original Star Wars trilogy. IMO, Phil created or contributed to a unique creature character signature choreography style. Thereafter in so many subsequent other genre movies, a plethora of & countless other animation CGI’ists & studios have now copied the Tippett’esque creature motion style.
As a side note … while watching the video, I was very surprised to see that Phil still has in his possession and sitting in his studio office, one of my armature creations used for pre-production on Starship Troopers (1997) The Warrior insect armature sits next to the full size Rancor creature maquette (Return of the Jedi – 1983) . Take a look of screen image capture from the video.
Tippett Studio office …
From Stop Motion Works website …
June 9, 2014
In any field of endeavor, art, work, discipline, etc … there is a ‘beginning‘. The iconic Gumby may have had the perception that it’s just for kids, however the production of the Green clay character spawned many artists & creatives who re-vitalized stop motion in the commercial market in its stop motion hey-day some years ago. Some went into other areas of visual effects.
For those of you you lucky ones living in Southern California, specifically Los Angeles area (nice place to visit, but living there? … just JOKING ), there is going to be an event called ‘Gumby Fest‘, on June 14, 2014, 10am to 4pm, in Glendora, California. Some guests will be Rick Baker, Harry Walton, Doug Beswick, Stoopid Buddy Studios (Robot Chicken), and others not as well know to public, but behind the scenes, were contributors to the renaissance of stop motion.
Go here for information & scheduled guests ….
June 3, 2014
How’s that for a ’sordid’ headline?
An article upcoming in Cinefex magazine about Willis O’Brien and Herbert M. Dawley. This magazine has been around since 1980. Years ago, ever since Cinefex covered mostly mainstream movies and the predominate CGI special effects, I unsubscribed to it many, many moons ago. I still have early original hardcopy Cinefex issues when special effects were done classic, practical, real, tactile and hands-on … but I digress … here is the brief story ….
So, Stephen Czerkas a dinosaur aficionado with interest in stop motion animation years ago who also actually worked a little bit in special effects, long ago. In Stephen’s research, he claims to have discovered a feud and/or rivalry between Willis O’Brien and Herbert M. Dawley. Most special effects & film historians know Willis O’Brien and his association with the classic 1933 King Kong, however, mostly no one was aware of Herbert M. Dawley, which appears, he was just as capable & skilled as O’Brien, in the early pioneering days of stop motion special effects.
If you want to read about O’Brien vs. Dawley, Cinefex says you need to purchase or pre-order entire issue #138 (Spiderman cover), to get the ’special historical article’ about the feud between the two artists ….