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Previous News

APRIL 2005

Thank Goodness It's Friday Edition - 04.29.05
* Update ....Only a few people seem to have reacted to the Coraline news I posted below. I did not originally post it as fact that Coraline was supposedly going to be done as CGI. I was questioning the article. One of the die-hard Stop Motionists out here, just contacted me and gave me detailed analysis and says that Coraline-CGI article is DATED-OLD News and remembers reading that article back in 2002. Here is a newer article 09.04 This is even more recent Interview with Henry 12.04. On last page of article, he talks about Coraline. My source also presented recent inside info that suggests Coraline will be Stop Motion. I cannot reveal the details, but the evidence provided looks pretty good to me. So my journalistic instincts were right! I did post that AWN Henry Selick article in previous news last year and I should have remembered but I forgot. Hey Marc .... you better send your staff back to journalism school!

* Internet is Insanity. You have to approach it with high degree of objectivity. Rumors, gossip appearing to be fact and people addicted to the net .... feeding the frenzy of misinformation. Okay .... I just had to say that. Unfortunately, this could be true ..... Aardman Studio's (the clay animation king) "Flushed Away", has been reported through various online sources that it will now be all Computer Animated. It was brought to my attention with this posting at SMA.com message board. It has always been reported previously, that Flushed Away was going to be done in Stop Motion Clay Animation. I posted at board my keenful intuitive observations as to why the change to CGI. DO NOT believe the studio line that because Flushed Away was going to be a "complex movie" and that's why they went CGI. What a bunch of BS. I think Aardman SOLD OUT but they probably had no choice as Dreamworks is paying for it and they are the ones really calling the shots. I respectively disagree with this comment someone made at the message board, saying that Aardman perhaps "wanted" to do it CGI. Aardman .... you are great studio that had a unique product, but soooo disappointed that you gave in to CGI. It is going to look the same as the plethoric cornucopia of all the CGI animated homogenized products.

* HOT off Marc Spess' News page: According to Marc's interpretation, this article supposedly confirms than Henry Selick , now at the new Vinton Studios, will be doing "Coraline" as CGI? Here is quote that possibly Marc is referring to ....
" DE: Is it going to be a mixture of animation and live action like Monkeybone?
HS: It is going to be live action with some CG effects but unlike Monkeybone I will write the screenplay. I want to take charge of the story. It is stylized. I can't really compare it to anything else. It's not like any other story."
I do not know how old the article is. Maybe last year? There is no date. Marc posted print version of article. Here is
Html version of same article .... still no date on article. I do remember that Coraline was supposedly going to be done All Stop Motion. Now it's "live action with some CG effects"? Well if it's true .... that ROYALLY SUCKS. Another CGI homogenized product. Short-cuts to quickly pump it out on the market.. Now we know the true direction of the new Vinton Studios. New is not necessarily Better.I am sorry Henry .... I am not pissed-off at you. We know you have to work under the "Powers that Be". Shaking my head in utter disappointment IF this is true. We don't know yet. You, reading this .... maybe post it on the SMA board for discussion. DarkStrider .... another Lone Stop Mo voice crying out in the wilderness .... I wonder what you think? We should all be screaming about this. If my hair was not completely shaven off, I would pull it out, in frusration

Weekend edition -
* Collectables ..... unbelievable what people will pay. I am not knocking it. I am just not much into "collecting" as it sure can be $Financially$ intensive. Hey ..... whatever floats your boat, if you have the cash to burn. Ebay of course is one outlet where selling & buying collectables is rampant. I am just talking in general and not just Stop Motion, however I found this at Amazon Marketplace ..... an old Stop Motion book by Steven S. Wilson, Puppets & People They want about $200. to over $300. for it! Sheeeesh ..... years ago, I only paid $12. for it! In those days .... this Stop Motion book was kind of unique. It is just a general overview and not a How-To manual. In this digital age, the techniques described in book might be considered by many, as very dated. I could probably attempt the Collectable thing and entertained a thought long time ago of offering signed copies of my original schematics-blueprints of the Stop Motion armatures I fabricated for the background puppets used on "The Nightmare Before Christmas" ..... but that quickly faded, as probably not an interest and would only be a small monetary return.

* What kind of student grading systems do they use in USA schools today? It has been so long since I attended those institutions. Are they still using grades A to F? Here is, what could have been a nice tutorial on making Aluminum Wire Armatures. I give it an A grade for good information, but also, an F grade because the images shown, are merely just a little bigger than thumbnails and he does not provide a link to larger photos. In his about page, the article writer implies that he knows how to design websites? At the end of article, he says the "photos are crap". IMO, they are actually pretty good and if larger pics were available, it could have been a much better tutorial. Soooo ..... A for effort and F for pics being way too small. Does that average to about a final C- grade?

Hump Wednesday Edition -
* Isn't one suppose to mellow out with time as one matures & gains wisdom? Well ... I thought that my rant-tirade periods would gradually diminish, BUT, good ol' Strider (aka Mike Brent) posted a topic at SMA Message Board which momentarily got me going! Wanna see it? LIO's Brief Rant Just minor elaboration here .... All you Studios, "Suits", Ad Agencies, Producers, etc. .... it is getting conjested out there with all CGI content and CGI infused special effects .... audience getting jaded .... your products do not last as long in the market. Soooo .... you supposedly admire Ray Harryhausen and all all his inspiring work? Come on, you big name people in the Biz....Why don't you "Walk the Talk"? $Support$ Stop Motion and give green lights to some projects or more Stop Mo content TV commericals. Tim Burton 1 & Mel Gibson 2 have done it (just a microscopic minority in mainstream). Instead of automatically doing it CGI, say to yourself, "Let's do it Stop Motion & Classic Special FX!" RETRO always has an appeal to audiences! Look at these Cup-O-Noodles TV commercials that were done over 10 years ago using hands-on Stop Motion, enhanced with classic special effects methods and also tweaked with a little bit of special FX Hi-Tech. Fresh, entertaining, and especially stands-out from the crowd .... compared to current plethora of homogenized CGI.

* Speaking of Uncle Ray ..... I posted this about a month ago but that was only a brief sound byte. I found this article and it is a little more elaboration .... Ray Harryhausen Enters "Hall of Fame"

Weekend edition -
* I just don't know about the Stop Motion Message Board. Like I said before ..... high membership but very micro-scopic number post any messages. Of course, the "regulars" kind of there keeping it going. I may give up with any extensive posting, in my vain efforts to encourage discussion. No more rants or rambles .... because it's like I am talking just to myself at the message board. After I post, many times I seem to hear the chirping sound of crickets! I might as well save those mind streaming thoughts for my own page here. I will not completely abandon the message board. Anthony Scott put his heart and own personal time and money into it and it is the major Stop Motion board on the net ..... in spite of the lesser activity there in more recent times. Also, there are already plenty of archived treasures of Stop Motion discussion, tips, advice, etc. there .... so the site serves as an indespensible resource. Yeah ... the internet kind-of cold & impersonal. There are good things about it but it can sure be a time waster and addictive for many. It was only about 5-1/2 years ago I started using computers and then hooking up on the internet. Before then, I got along fine without it. No email too! Now, the 'puter seems so much involved in my life. . I know .... maybe I'll have kids and that will force me to get off this machine!? Hmmmm .... I first have to find someone to have kids with ..... I could adopt too but that is a task that seems too daunting ... a single parent I am rambling & thoughts wandering.

* I don't know if any of you heard of Rachel Johnson. Just saw something online where she offers Animation workshops for Kids in New York. I am glad she puts a good value on her expertise and charges a reasonable amount for a 10 week course which is possibly more in depth than any university! Hopefully, that gig is working for her with parents/clients in NY that are happy to pay for her unique knowledge. I thought about workshops or being guest lecturer but I am guessing, there is not much in that since my area is more specialized than Rachel's. From the few inquires I receive sometimes, the $reimbursement$ was minimal. If you want gig as regular teacher, they want that piece of paper called a Degree. I bet, I can take a few months course about teaching techniques and I would do just as good as a so-called degreed person. Academe and their rigid & dumb rules and jumping through their hoops. About Rachel ..... apparently she has had a short film out for a few years called The Toll Collector. Stylized and interesting proportions of some of the puppets. It seems that the Jiri Trnka Studio supported her with that project. Probably Michael Brent of DarkStrider.net may already know about her. Okay .... seems dead & quiet everywhere.

Monday Blues Edition -
* Geeeez .... you would figure with gasoline prices being high at this time, more of us might not be driving around as much and instead, we would be hanging-out and enjoying the cozy comforts of our homes, apartments, shacks, shops, studios, garages, etc. .... and perhaps indulging in the wonders of our computer-internet communcation medium? But ... noooooooo! Quiet or subdued, the SMA Message Board seems to be more often.There are probably only a few Stop Motion message boards-forums on the entire internet! It is revealing to me, after a number of years online, how we do not seem to be that social or mostly non-communicative? Maybe that is why Stop Motion will always remain kind of ... Underground, Renegade-like, or Non-Mainstream? If you look at 2D and CGI .... just tons of that online .... and also message boards up the wah-zoo. Anthony Scott created SMA for all of you .... a community thing. About 2000 SMA members but mostly lurking, I guess. Okay ... so you just do not talk much .... that is your preference & choice. Even if you were a past regular SMA member or have been absent or busy for awhile ... it only takes a few minutes to post a message, say "Hi" or update us ocassionally? I do know that our very micro-scopic hardcore dedicated SMA members, do participate. You will be blessed and be assured you will be going to Stop Motion Heaven

* Addendum: Maybe I should not whine and I am generalizing. Perhaps many of you are working on your projects or at your regular pay-the-rent straight jobs. I understand Life can get in the way of the Fun Stuff.... or maybe you are catharting & venting through your Website Blogs? Hey, that's cool! Okay .... Strider, Tennessee, and MishMash .... I am using some Stop Motion Works real estate here and trying out some direct links to your Blogs (scroll to bottom of this page). Do not let me down! It is not expected that you post to your Blog everyday .... but whenever you can .... about anything (even Stop Motion too!) that is percolating within your brain cells. It is good therapy for "you all". Do not hold it in .... release baby .... release! Dr. LIO

* Just a reminder again, to bookmark Tennessee Reid Norton's Private Dick Plog (for mature audiences). Very much infused with earthiness & realness ..... a dude sharing his thoughts & experiences and also spices it up with some technical tips that he is using on his Stop Mo project. He even tells you when he screws up a shot! Right now there are some cool little tips he posted. You should visit regularly or at least once a week. Tennessee also inspired a Stop Mo Bro known as UltraMK (at the message board) and he has just created his own blog page Notes from the Box Not sure what it's about .... he also goes by the name of Mishmash. Hmmmm ..... something ethereal and enigmatic about him

* Recently received contact from a colleague of mine Paul Moldovanos aka The Clayman! They do sculptural caricatures, dimensional stylized & cartoon illustrations. They have been branching out in the area of animation. The ClayMan & Associates has been venturing into CGI but Paul has told me in the past, Stop Motion is something they want to offer .... because Stop Mo is merely a further extension of what The Clayman already does in creating real material tactile dimensional sculpture works. In the past, Paul and I have attempted to work together but projects have not happened or our schedules did not permit it. I am very happy to say that The ClayMan & Associates are working on a current Stop Mo project. It is kind-of interesting ..... the client is ManHaters.com? I do not know exactly what that website is about but the title may give you a clue? Anyway, check-out a few small pics of what they are working on "0069"

* Hey guess what?! A regular StopMo Forum member, Jason Gottlieb, has entered in this month's Slamdance Anarchy Film Festival. His entry is called ILLUME. What a prestigious thing .... Slamdance! All you out there, do not be afraid to enter ..... maybe a project you are working on now. To enter, there is a small fee, so choose your best work. I am not sure, but I think this Anarchy Festival is monthly or most of the year. Here is their FAQ. On the message board, Jason goes by the handle as Teabgs. I always wondered whatever happened to the "a" .... as in Tea-bags? Perhaps just some unique thing or quirk about Jason, that we will never know about and it possibly just further contributes to his celebrity mystique?

Weekend edition -
* If you did not notice on this page on the left column here, is a new link Animation for Kids Wendy Jackson Hall appears to be an experienced educator in the arts with regards to implementing animation for children in a school environment. She gives her observational overview about general animation as applied to children. IMO, this is how we are going to keep Stop Motion alive & kicking, through the introduction of it, to the young. They are now assaulted & bombarded with hi-tech mind numbing video gaming, toys, gadgets, etc which I think are somewhat sterile and non-tactile interactive activities (mostly staring & reacting to computer monitor). Animation in general, of the more traditional variety (not just Stop Motion) would re-vitalize that basic nature of children and just people in general to explore the real world, with handling real materials as a means of creative outlet through animation .... stimulating Mind Nutrition. If you are especially an educator-teacher, parent or guardian, read what Wendy has to say. She is available for consultation.

* Looks like this weekend is Stop Motion Software Carnival Celebration? Our friends at
Stop MotionMaker have just released Version 1.3. Guess what? Some existing features refined and now includes Chroma Keying. It can be tricky to use and patience is required with proper lighting & using keying background color. For pros .... maybe useful for test composite shots or previsualization aid. For newbies, beginners, young & all ages .... chroma keying can certainly help in reducing some of miniature set construction. If you cannot afford to buy Stop MotionMaker.... then you are really tight arse cheeeeeeep! (update news will soon be listed in Stop Motion Software link)

* Also debuting this weekend .... a very simple Stop Motion program offered for free use, called StopMoJo. It is open source and with time, might have other features added. It is written based on Java program language, which will allow it to be used on cross platforms (Macs & Linux) but only has been tested on Windows XP. Here is the author's description:
"It is a simple video capture program that captures to jpg, png, or bmp files and supports overlay of previous frames and export to AVI or QUICKTIME movie files."
LIO here .... There are good Stop Motion programs that are very reasonably priced, however, if one cannot afford even the low cost of those programs or you just do not wish to purchase software, StopMoJo might serve your verrrrrrry economical lifestyle needs. (will soon be listed in
Stop Motion Software link)

* Last month we reported here a new Stop Motion Program called StopMotioner Beta 3 for Macs only. I have updated the Stop Motion Software page and have made my overview comments about it. When you go to the page you will have to scroll down to about middle of page.



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