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October 2009


* Forced Perspective Effects Orgasma-Rama ..... Ol' school classic special effects can STILL be applicable in this current 'mouse clicking' generation that sit on their butts, staring at monitors and 'click-synthesizing' digital imagery. Real Men .... build stuff, sweat, get bruised & cuts, drink beer, light-up cigars/pipes, and pig-out on cheese & pepperoni pizza . No 'girly man' munching of raw carrots or leaves (salads). To survive, we are designed to consume just about anything (omnivore).

Those who mouse click synthesized 'Puter imagery and/or animation, IMO, I sometimes sense they have an ego inflated sense as being superior to the ol' school real artists & craftsmen who create via the TACTILE REAL with their hands. I notice at times, the CG'ist can get thin skinned sensitive if you criticize their biased view: When they claim that 'their mouse-clicked work' is BETTER than the Craftsperson Artists who design & create Special Effects via  Real Objects & Things. I already know their worn-out talking point arguement,The 'Computer' is merely a 'Tool' . I have witnessed & sometimes partaken in heated debates at messageboards about Ol' School vs. 'Puter Mouse Clicking School. When the visual effects is based on the REAL (or most of it 'real'), I intuitively always sensed that the public can subconsciously accept ol' school special effects (if done well) as maybe more believable depending on context of story (the foundation of quality flicks). A past article that SMW News posted is related The Yoda Factor: CG or Puppet? and validates what I have suspected for years.

Anyway, REAL aka practical effects, forced perspective, foreground miniatures and other ol' school methods can be applied to the Art of Stop Motion and especially doing Harryhausen-esque stuff. Shooting your 'live action' you can use these classic effects technques such as foreground miniatures. Back in the studio, if you have a number of Stop Mo puppet characters, you can create illusion of different scale sizes between puppets using forced perspective. Also, part of your miniature set can be a glass painting to 'extend' or give 'scope' to your set .... all done in-camera with maybe only minimal use of software tweaking in post. I am not dissing 'Puter as tool for creative work but in my view, it should not dominate. Ubiquitous CG content has homogenized and more sterile feel to me. You all already know how much I have ranted, 'MIX-UP & COMBINE the Special Effects Methods'.

Wisdom from Professor LIO: Evolutionary speaking and/or by design, our roots/genetics is to work with our hands and get dirty & sweaty . An expressive creative form much more nutritous for our brain cells and soul. Watch the following clips and maybe you lurking CG  mouse-clickers might get motivated to interact with the REAL & TACTILE. Some examples .... a few are beginners playing around with classic perspective FX techniques and having FUN 12 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 67 - 89 - 10 - 11 - 12  EDIT: 11.01.09 

* Alternative to Wall painting Animation ..... Sometimes Cut-out and Pixilation animation can get old or not enough creativity. I am not dissing them but sometimes copycat versions get stale. I suppose though, it does motivate others to take-up something that is hands-on & tactile vs. staring at a frigg'n monitor such as computer gaming compulsion. Nothing wrong with gaming. Everything in moderation! Here's interesting variation ..... outdoor animation and design by Sjors Vervoort. Sound and SFX by Steven Aerts Cardboard: A Cardboard Animation This other one from a few years ago, IMO is still kinda fresh & original The Making Of The Cardboard Animations

* StrataCut Animation revealed ..... Well, not completely. The master of Stratacut himself, David Daniels, around 2000 apparently did some overview videos about this rare animation method.  Good read then scroll down to bottom of page and click the hyper-linked photos to view Daniels rambling about Stratcut and samplings of his past work. Freaked (+ David Daniels interview)  My only concern is, with this Eco-Green pre-occupation being pushed hard & forced on us by Big Brother Gov't, how do you effectively Recycle Clay to separate and preserve the individaul clay colors, if all the colors are bunched-up MIXED??

* Dragon Stop Motion 2 Software ..... Becoming the elite tool used by professionals. Two brothers are behind this product,  Dyami and Jamie Caliri. All kinds of bells & whistles up the wah-zoo (or if you prefer 'up the ying-yan').  I'm busy at times and have not updated their listing yet at the infamous Stop Motion Software page. Even their website as a rich & luxurious ambiance  Dragon Stop Motion 2 for Mac & PC Here's Jamie in a video expounding about an interesting niche his studio is successfully using the Stop Motion technique Forget the Film, Watch the Titles  I am an equal opportunity appreciater of all the software authors who produce the variety of Stop Motion software products. You are the unsung heroes, giving life to the Stop Motion resurgence.

NOTE: HEY.... no time to stick images/photos inside the above text. It's suppose to get your attention and get you all excited. Geeeez, how do the millions of other bloggers spend so much frigg'n time on this? It's a struggle for me to just do these short news & commentary stuff here. I've been doing it for years. See what I do for you? All taken for granted my the masses out here
 Update: Okay, I received some complaints. I added thumbnail Images within the text EDIT: 10.22.09   


* "We're not in F*****g Harryhausen mode any more" ..... I did not say that but it's a quote from the 'Actor God', Sam Worthington, who is playing the Perseus character in the 'Clash of the Titans' remake. Original Clash was released back in 1981, almost 29 years ago. STUPID to make direct comparisons of films back then with current stuff 'Tinsel Town' churns out.  It's comparing apple to oranges. Not saying the 1981 Clash was a classic or something of serious drama, but it reflected the period/era of the early 1980's as an entertainment escape product leaning towards Family targeted entertainment, as most of Uncle Ray's other classic movies filling that niche.  Hey, loudmouth Worthington, you are typical of the general public with old concepts of early Stop Motion. Although, likely not your fault, as you, like the moving going audiences, have been indoctrinated through the mainstream media and especially from CG studio's PR people, pushing their holy grail of homogenized mouse-clicked pixelized synthetic imagery manufactured products aka CG. Audience not necessarily to blame for their unintended ignorance but they are merely the victims of being 'Fed the Glut of CG'. They are not given choices. Unfortunately, there is NO current ADVANCE Stop Motion Creature style animation in mainstream, to use as a more equal comparison against CG. Well, even without Uncle Ray's involvement, the Clash remake 'suits' getting marketing mileage by repeated mention of original Clash & RayWe're not in Harryhausen mode any more - More Pics from remake - The ignored by 'Suits' Remake Appeal

* Henry Selick departure from Laika ..... Good, bad, or cutting costs? Laika has already made commitment to focus on Stop Motion as per last month's SMW News and also, there were 65 laid off from their CG department. Maybe this is part of Laika's restructuring to run 'Leaner & Meaner' in these general very tough economic & volatile times (being exacerbated by Washington DC bureaucrats, in my view). In many jobs and especially the Arts & Entertainment, you are hired under Contract and perhaps Henry's was not renewed for whatever reason and it's not necessarily negative or bad. Coraline's director, Henry Selick, leaves Laika - Laika statement 

* 'Robot Chicken' & 'Titan' laid off staff at beginning of Summer ..... I got this from one of my underground sources who must have been in the 'bunker' facing enemy fire and so, the information might be slightly disjointed but this is interesting buzz. As follows from my source, "Apparently, Shadow Machine laid off a lot of people and got cheaper labor. Interns are now filling in for the puppet fabricators. Most of the original animation crew is gone, but some  of the directors are still there. Writers were also let go. The cheaper labor was hired from out of state. Lighting, camera, puppets, et al are now people from Oregon. Well, at least some people found work. And GET THIS- Shadow is adding CG to both shows"  I cannot confirm from other news sources, but I am not surprised by layoffs. Stop Motion at a 'TV series level' can be PRICEY especially when you have to compete with CG or 2D that is outsourced overseas. Shadow Machine is a production house in 'Tinsel Town' area that I do not hear from much and they seem to 'lay low' or 'in the shadows' with regards to publicizing/marketing themselves Shadow Machine site. So, maybe a re-structuring move to save costs in these tough times?

Update: It appears my 'underground source' is still a rookie in journalism reporting because of not completely checking the facts as follows: Some of Shadow Machine's projects are TV Series which is seasonal work for specific number of shows and therefore, when project ends, there is a period of normal layoffs. It might have been a pissed-off Shadow Machine ex-employee who gave misleading info to my 'newbie source'. Shadow Machine has the 'Stop Motion Works 100% Seal of Approval'  EDIT: 10.09.09

*  October SMW Random Cinema:  

> 'The NeckTie' (2008) - Apparently winning some awards Teaser  Behind scenes  Website About 3 years ago, armature I made for main character 1 - 2 - 3

> 'Nightmare Before Christmas' (1993) - Opening scene  Making of  Part 2  Part 3


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