Sunday, October 9, 2011

Terry Gilliam

This week while I was thinking about what aspect of animation to explore for my post I found myself thinking back to my British Comedy class that I took last semester in London. In that class we explored a number of different British TV shows and movies so naturally one group that we focused a good amount of time on was Monty Python. I am sure pretty much all of you have seen a Monty Python movie or two at some point but if you do not know who they are, Monty Python is a British comedy group that consists of six main members and is best known for their sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus which aired on BBC from 1969 until 1974.

One aspect of the group’s work that caught my eye was the unique style of animation integrated into their shows. This animation was used as the show opener (posted below) and as mini sketches in between the live action ones on the show. The Monty Python member behind these usually quite violent but cleverly funny animations is Terry Gilliam.

Terry Gilliam has worked on numerous features and shorts both live action and animated. He is probably best known for his distinct style of cut out animation. His style has been described by saying: "Gilliams's surreal animations mix his own art, characterized by sot gradients and odd, bulbous shapes, with backgrounds and moving cutouts from antique photographs, mostly from the Victorian Era...". It has also been said that “his work is always hallucinatory in its richness of detail”. His animation style seems to be easily recognizable as a Gilliam creation.

Side Note: The Basics of Cut-out animation: Cut out animation is an old form of animation that predates computer animating programs. It involves arranging different paper shapes, moving them in small steps, and taking a picture at each stage.

Posted below are three videos, which show case Gilliam’s work. The first is a video in which Gilliam himself outlines and shows the techniques that go into creating one of his cut out animations, the second shows some of the openings to Monty Python’s Flying Circus made by Gilliam, and the third is a random example of one of Gilliam’s animations that has a simple yet effective and funny concept (like many of his works).

Watching the first video you can really tell that Gilliam is passionate about what he does! Although it is somewhat long I would definitely recommend watching that video. I didn’t really know anything about how they made cutout animation before and the video is very detailed and informative about that style of animation. He takes you through all of the steps that go into making a cut out animation. He discusses everything from getting the idea, to making the characters and backgrounds and actually shooting it. I really like how he actually demonstrates a few frames of how they shoot it and I especially enjoyed the Christmas card animations that he shows. I think that was a very clever idea! Terry Gilliam is definitely one of the most unique and creative animators that I have learned about so far!

No comments :

Post a Comment