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kottke.org posts about Aardman Animations

Behind-the-scenes look at mixing the clay for Wallace and Gromit

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 08, 2018

When producing their claymation-style feature films or Wallace and Gromit & Shaun the Sheep animations, Aardman Animations goes through 100s of pounds of modeling clay. As Adam Savage learned on a recent visit to Aardman, bulk clay from the factory is run through several processes to ensure that Gromit’s fur is the same shade in frame #6800 as it was in frame #1 and that the consistency is appropriate for the modelers.

See also the mesmerizing paint mixing videos on Instagram and YouTube.

The Best Movie Chase Scene Ever

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2016

Alright, there’s Bullitt and The French Connection and Ronin and The Bourne Identity. But for my money, the best movie chase scene ever is from Aardman Animations’ The Wrong Trousers. The chase comes right at the end of the 30-minute short and features Wallace and Gromit trying to apprehend a jewel thief. It’s hilarious, exciting, and meticulously crafted. Pay special attention to the editing and sound, particularly in the last 20 seconds. Masterful.

BTW, if you haven’t seen the entire short, it’s free on Amazon Prime right now…it’s probably my favorite short film ever. (Ok, Powers of Ten. But then The Wrong Trousers!)

How Gromit from Wallace and Gromit is built

posted by Jason Kottke   May 31, 2016

How Gromit Is Made

Aardman’s films and shows (particularly Shaun the Sheep) are some of my favorite things to watch with the kids. Animator Merlin Crossingham shares how the Gromit character is built, from his stainless steel skeleton on up.

In the first film, A Grand Day Out, Nick was going to make Gromit speak and had planned a whole mouth design. The first time he animated Gromit, however, he found that the way the character could communicate using body language and expressive eyebrows was much more powerful than by speaking. So he made a snap decision not to give Gromit a voice, which he’s stuck to. Our good animators are able to let you know instantly what the model is thinking or doing.

(via @bdeskin)

Trailer for Shaun the Sheep movie

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 01, 2014

I am still very much looking forward to the Shaun the Sheep movie, but the first official trailer is not inspiring much confidence:

Yeesh. That makes it look like The Smurfs movie or something. Movie company marketing departments don’t seem to know what to do with quirky stuff like Shaun or Wallace & Gromit. Has an Aardman movie ever had a good trailer? (via digg)

Shaun the Sheep Movie

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 03, 2014

Holy cow, Aardman is making a Shaun the Sheep Movie! Here’s a teaser trailer:

The movie will be out in March 2015 and the plot centers on the sheep going to the big city to retrieve the Farmer. As I wrote last year, Shaun the Sheep is wonderful family entertainment. I wonder how the lack of dialogue will translate to the feature length format? (thx, greg)

Cartoonist homages

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 20, 2013

Cartoonist Mike Holmes occasionally draws himself and his cat in the style of other cartoonists. He calls them Mikenesses. Here’s Holmes in the styles of Chris Ware, Aardman, and Berke Breathed:

Mike Holmes Ware

Mike Holmes Aardman

Mike Holmes Breathed

(via @H_FJ)

It’s Shaun the Sheep

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2013

We’re not big on TV for our kids (they watch maybe two hours a week and frequently less than that), but one show we’ve come to love watching with them is Shaun the Sheep. Produced by Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit), Shaun the Sheep has a number of things going for it:

- No dialogue. Not even the humans talk. Everything is communicated through grunts and gestures. Your three-year-old can follow it, as can your grandfather who only speaks Chinese.

- It’s frequently hilarious. I’ve never heard Ollie laugh so hard at anything. And not just for kids…my wife and I are usually in stitches next to them on the couch.

- Non-topical, non-contemporary. The show is almost entirely self-contained…you don’t need to know anything about pop culture to get the jokes. The humor is timeless…the show will be as good in 50 years as it is now. (There are plenty of pop culture references for the parents though…as with Bugs Bunny and Wallace and Gromit.)

- Non-violent. The humor is typically not mean-spirited and not predicated on characters hurting or attacking or making fun of other characters.

- Not gender specific. Mostly. This aspect could be a lot better (e.g. all the main characters are male), but the show is not specifically for little boys or little girls in the way that some kids shows are.

In short, it’s the perfect entertainment for 3-8 year-olds and their parents. I don’t think it’s available on Netflix Instant anymore, but you can get in on iTunes and at Amazon.

A Matter of Loaf and Death

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2008

A Matter of Loaf and Death, the Wallace and Gromit short formerly known as Trouble At’ Mill, will be shown on the Beeb in the UK at the end of December.

In this new masterpiece viewers will catch up with Wallace and Gromit who have opened a new bakery — Top Bun — and business is booming, not least because a deadly Cereal Killer is targeting all the bakers in town so competition is drying up. Gromit is worried that they may be the next victims but Wallace couldn’t care — he’s fallen head over heels in love with Piella Bakewell, former star of the Bake-O-Lite bread commercials. So Gromit is left to run things on his own when he’d much rather be getting better acquainted with Piella’s lovely pet poodle Fluffles.

Rumor is that a US showing will soon follow.

Nick Park and Aardman Animations are doing

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 05, 2007

Nick Park and Aardman Animations are doing a new Wallace & Gromit film called Trouble At’ Mill (pronounced Trouble At The Mill). Unlike Chicken Run or Were-Rabbit, it’ll be a 30-minute film made for TV, like A Close Shave or The Wrong Trousers.

Wallace and Gromit have a brand new business. The conversion of 62 West Wallaby Street is complete and impressive, the whole house is now a granary with ovens and robotic kneading arms. Huge mixing bowls are all over the place and everything is covered with a layer of flour. On the roof is a ‘Wallace patent-pending’ old-fashioned windmill.

Fire strikes Aardman Animations’ warehouse and destroys

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 11, 2005

Fire strikes Aardman Animations’ warehouse and destroys entire history of the company, including sets and characters for Wallace and Gromit.