Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stop - Motion Animation

I have been a fan of animation for as long as I can remember. My parents were the first to notice my passion in it and suggest I look further into animating. This is when I took a drawing class where one of the projects was to create a charcoal animation; ie destructive animation where you erase and redrawn your frame every time. So far I haven't been able to devote a great deal of time to actual animating, but in my spare time all I do is watch and analyze animated films.

Animation has been around as long as film has been around. With early innovators like Méliès in 1896 already attempting stop - motion, the animation industry has evolved along with traditional narrative films.

While animation has gone through many phases, many pioneered by Walt Disney and his company, the type of animation that interests me the most is stop - motion animation. Many beloved films are produced through stop - motion including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Coraline.

Stop - motion animation is the process where an animator will move the figure by a small amount, take a picture, and repeat. When all of the photos are put together the figure now has the appearance of fluid motion. One of the best examples of this is The Nightmare Before Christmas with dance numbers and multiple characters in each scene. Even though most of the scenes were shot at 12fps, there are two exceptions.

My favorite studio, and a studio that only does stop - motion productions, is studio Laika. Laika is responsible for the stop - motion films of Coraline, ParaNorman, and their upcoming project Kubo and the Two Strings, just to name a few. Studio Laika has 10 years of experience producing stop - motion films, with several Academy Award nominations. Laika has put out stop - motion films that never cease to amaze me. From color dynamics in Coraline to the incredibly accurate representation of bullying in ParaNorman, Laika has been using stop - motion animation to create incredible pieces of art for 10 years, and I can't wait to see what their next 10 hold.

Many of my friends claim that stop - motion animation is weird or disturbing for them but that's almost the reason why I like it. It's physical objects that are manipulated into giving the appearance of smooth motion, and I think that's fascinating. Hopefully with Kubo coming out in August and Anomalisa already out in theaters, people will be more open to stop - motion animation come to understand and respect the incredible amount of work that goes into these beautiful films.

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