Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strata Stencil

When the first video revealing Pottermore came out this summer, I was truly excited to have something to continue my childhood journey with Harry Potter. However, after watching the announcement, I found myself distracted. I was more preoccupied with the "paper cut-out animation" used in the sequences with the book, than I was with the actual Pottermore site. It was just so beautiful. Well as time passed, this type of animation has started to pop up everywhere.

After reading an interview with Simon Lloyd and Christine Turner, who led the animation team for the Pottermore announcement, I discovered that "Nothing in this piece is CG. Every element was shot in camera and painstakingly cut, piece by piece, and then moved bit by bit to create a stop frame animation. The book is actually very large in scale to make creating the elements easier. This book was made by a specialist book binder and was a complete replica of an ordinary printed version."

I decided to continue my research and discovered quite a few other techniques that are similar to the animation done for Pottermore. One of them is Strata cut animation which uses cuttings from layers of clay.

Eventually I found, what was to me, a combination of the two animation techniques, "Stratastencil," which is an experimental animation technique that Javan Ivey uses in his animation, "My Paper Mind." Ivey says that "Stratacut removes material to reveal another layer, while this technique adds another layer while still showing the layer before it."

My Paper Mind from Javan Ivey on Vimeo.

Finally I arrived at my final goal, "How do I achieve this amazing effect?" Well, now you can learn how to create a sequence similar to "My Paper Mind" or "Pottermore" in this After Effects tutorial, without the large consumption of paper or time. I think it's quite a beautiful style of animation and I have a feeling it will not be disappearing soon. Enjoy!

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