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kottke.org posts about stop motion

A Huge Collaborative Flipbook Animation

I love this: The Pudding ran an online experiment where they started with a shape (like a straight line or circle) and asked people to trace, as best they could, the tracing of the person before them. This resulted in a series of “flipbook” animation of how the shapes evolved over time — invariably, a squiggle.

One thing I noticed right away was how all the squiggles ended up squished over on the right side of the screen. The Pudding team had a theory on why that happened (the 3:20 mark in this video):

I found this study from like 35 years ago - they were trying to figure out why people kept missing their targets on touch screens. They found people tended to touch below their target and people tended to touch closer to the edges of the screen. And so I figure if it’s like right-handers who are missing, you’re going to be missing to the right. We probably had about half the users on mobile and 90% of the those half are probably going to be right-handed so it would make sense that it would gradually go to the right.

Go read the rest of the post — they also did an experiment about people’s inclination to draw penises on “any free-form drawing project on the internet”. (via waxy)

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1000 Matchsticks Feature in This Epic Stop Motion Animation

Tomohiro Okazaki has perfected a very specific skill: stop-animating matchsticks in more ways than you could possibly imagine. When I last wrote about his work, I said that I wished that the 7.5 minute movie were longer and, well, I got my wish: this new one runs for an hour and 17 minutes. I’ not going to sit here and tell you that I watched the whole thing, but I did watch for longer than I perhaps should have on a day with lots to accomplish. (via colossal)

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Cutting Up a Huge Lego Salmon

In this ASMR stop motion cooking video, a chef butchers a huge Lego salmon and prepares a salmon and rice bowl. This video is surprisingly visceral, what with the sound effects and the (Lego) blood.

This reminds me more than a little of the sushi scene in Isle of Dogs. (thx, caroline)


An Incredible Stop-Motion Animation of a Samurai Fight

Not going to bury the lede here: this is a straight-up masterpiece and maybe the best thing I’ve seen all week. Hidari is a stop-motion animation of an inventive fight sequence between a lone warrior/craftsman and a boss & his minions. The vibe of the animation is at once halting and buttery smooth, a combination that’s wonderfully expressive. Directed by Masashi Kawamura, the plan is to turn this into a feature-length film:

This is a pilot version of the stop-motion samurai film that tells the story of “Jingoro Hidari,” a legendary Edo-era craftsman. All the characters are made by wood and animated frame by frame, just like how Jingoro’s wooden sculptures came to life in his many anecdotes. We hope you enjoy this film, which mixes dynamic actions as seen in Japanimation, and the rich analog expressions of stop-motion animation.

Our intention is to use this pilot film as a starting point to create a full length feature film. We have started activities to raise the necessary partners and funding to achieve this goal.

Take my money! (P.S. Turn on subtitles if you don’t speak Japanese. Oh, and here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how they did the animation.)


Lego Stop-Motion Recreation of Iconic Scenes From The Shining

The creepy twins. Jack feverish at the typewriter. Danny riding his Big Wheel through carpeted hallways. The elevators of blood. These familiar scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining (and several more) have been recreated in this Lego stop-motion animation. The video took 50-60 hours over a three-week period to make and was an exercise in constraints:

“Mostly, it came down to choosing the right pieces,” he says. “I made this movie only with pieces I already had in my collection, so I had to do with just what I had laying around. For instance, the famous carpet pattern in the hallway could have been more realistic, but with the pieces I had, it became a little more abstract. I went with clay for the bloody elevator scene also because I do not have thousands of red translucent pieces.”

(via boing boing)


Grand Canons, a Visual Symphony of Everyday Objects

Ok, this is one where you’re going to have to trust me and just watch it. Grands Canons is a stop-motion animated video by Alain Biet of thousands of meticulously hand-painted images of everyday items moving and dancing to music.

A brush makes watercolors appear on a white sheet of paper. An everyday object takes shape, drawn with precision by an artist’s hand. Then two, then three, then four… Superimposed, condensed, multiplied, thousands of documentary drawings in successive series come to life on the screen, composing a veritable visual symphony of everyday objects. The accumulation, both fascinating and dizzying, takes us on a trip through time.

It’s really just wonderful — once you get into it, you won’t be able to stop watching. More of Biet’s work can be found on his website or on Instagram. (via waxy & colossal)


The Book of Leaves

As a companion to his short film LeafPresser, Brett Foxwell’s simpler and (in my opinion) more effective The Book of Leaves is a stop motion video of 2400 different leaves arranged so that each leaf blends subtly into the next slightly different leaf.

While collecting leaves, I conceived that the leaf shape every single plant type I could find would fit somewhere into a continuous animated sequence of leaves if that sequence were expansive enough. If I didn’t have the perfect shape, it meant I just had to collect more leaves.

It’s fascinating to watch the same basic branching fractal form manifest itself into so many different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’ve posted a bunch of video tagged “mesmerizing” but I think this is the first one that actually put me in a little bit of a trance.

Foxwell’s WoodSwimmer is one of my all-time favorite internet videos. (via colossal)


Animated Embroidery

I love these little stop motion videos by Huw Messie (using Processing, I think) that use embroidery for the animation.

You can check out more of Messie’s work on Vimeo, Instagram, and NFT repository hic et nunc.


Mesmerizing Matchstick Stop Motion Video

Usually when I post these sorts of non-narrative videos — in this case, a series of creative stop motion vignettes featuring matchsticks made by Tomohiro Okazaki — I say something to the effect of “I could have watched this all day” or “I wish this video were longer” because they’re often quite short. Well, this one is seven and a half minutes long and I still wish it had gone on for longer. Ok sure, you get the point after awhile, but each successive animation is just as inventive than the last that it kept me hooked.


The Inner Universe of Tropical Fruit

This stop motion animation takes us on a journey through various tropical fruits, as if we’re seeing animated MRI slices of them. If you’re wondering how it’s done, a behind-the-scenes immediately follows the animation. The sound design on this video is fantastic.

See also Hidden Patterns Inside Fruit (by the same creator) and WoodSwimmmer, a Gorgeous Stop Motion Journey Through Wood. (via moss & fog)


Stop Motion Lego Chocolate Cake

Watch as YouTuber tomosteen makes a Lego chocolate cake out of Lego ingredients, from cracking the eggs to the frosting on top. The little details here are *chef’s kiss*: the transitions from food to Lego brick, the way the chocolate bar breaks imperfectly, the little peaky dollop left after piping the chocolate frosting out of the pastry bag.

Don’t care for chocolate cake? How about a Japanese breakfast (featuring tamagoyaki) or churros instead?

See also Lego In Real Life or search for Lego in real life on YouTube. (via colossal)


Stop Motion Stone Loops

I love Benoît Leva’s simple stop motion animated loops made from rocks and stones. This bouncing one is my favorite:

View this post on Instagram

on

You can check out more stone animations on his Instagram. (via colossal)


A Lego Justin Trudeau Talks to Children About the Covid-19 Pandemic

During a press conference last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent a couple of minutes talking directly to the nation’s children, acknowledging their hardships and role in mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Tyler Walsh and his two sons spent a week making this Lego stop motion animation of Trudeau’s address, something that kids might be more likely to watch.

In an interview with the CBC, Walsh described their process:

“[It took] a fair amount of time and hundreds and hundreds of photos,” he said.

Each working to their strengths, Walsh said the kids were primarily in charge of piecing together the Lego elements — such as a podium, as well as hair and a bearded head for Trudeau — to bring the set to life.

“I would have questions for them like, ‘I need a sad kid. Do we have any sad kid Lego heads?’”

Trudeau himself responded to the Lego version of his address:

This is really great, Tyler. I think my kids — and a whole lot of others — will get a kick out of this, all while hearing how they can help out too. Thanks for helping spread that message.

(via @auntmaureen)


Freeride Skiing at Home

In the northern hemisphere, the Covid-19 pandemic ramped up right at the tail end of the ski & ride season, so many skiers and snowboarders had to cut their seasons short.1 Philipp Klein Herrero decided to take one more run — in his living room.

Just before the current health situation locked us in, I was about to go Freeriding with my family. It was supposed to be the big adventure of the year, the one I had been eagerly awaiting for a year. Therefore, the lockdown had me thinking about skiing the whole time, so I started to think how I could ski without leaving my living room.

The result is a cute stop motion hike to the top of a mountain followed by a ski down. As my kids would say: “sick!” (via the kid should see this)

  1. Here in VT, they even had to close all of the ski hills & resorts to uphill travel (i.e. skinning or snowshoeing up to ski down) to discourage people from travelling (from out of state!) to do it. They’ve closed all the mountain biking trails and it’s probably just a matter of time before they close hiking trails as well.↩


The Stop Motion of the Ocean

This clever stop motion animation by Charlotte Arene features a bedroom taking on the characteristics of an increasingly angry sea, before the morning calm sets in. Pillows, the comforter, a sleeping woman’s hair, candles on the windowsill, they all move like waves washing ashore to a seaside soundtrack.

The name of the short is “La mer à boire”, which Google translates as “unrealizable” but is literally something more like “drinking the sea”.1 “Ce n’est pas la mer à boire” is a French expression that means “it’s not that big a deal” (it’s not like drinking the sea), which is what the Google translation is hinting at, I think. Anyway, good title! (via colossal)

  1. It’s kind of amazing that Google returns the figurative meaning of the phrase rather than the literal meaning.↩


The Origins of Stop Motion Animation

In this episode of the Almanac video series from Vox, Phil Edwards takes a look at how an early film using stop motion animation, a 1912 short of dancing bugs made by an insect collector, showed the promise of the technique.

Though people have been experimenting with stop motion since the beginning of film, the new art really took off when an insect collector named Wladyslaw Starewicz (later Ladislas Starevich, among other spellings) wanted to see his beetles move.

His 1912 film, The Cameraman’s Revenge, was the most significant of those early experiments. By that time, he’d been discovered as a precocious museum director in a Lithuanian Natural History Museum, and that enabled him to make movies. The Cameraman’s Revenge was his boldest experiment yet, depicting a tryst between star-crossed (bug) lovers.

Starevich’s later films influenced the stop motion work of Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson, as well as its earlier use in King Kong. Here’s the The Cameraman’s Revenge in its entirety:


Lego In Real Life

BrickBrosProductions makes stop motion animated films featuring Lego bricks. Their most popular video is a compilation of the three short films in their “Lego In Real Life” series, where objects built from Lego interact with the real world — Lego butter, Lego apples, Lego pencils, and Lego wood.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes of the woodworking movie as well as a general tutorial about how to make Lego stop motion videos.


The Return of Grumpy Cloud

Andy Bailey is a stop-motion animator at Laika who worked on Kubo and The Boxtrolls. In this video, he shares his process while making a 658-page flipbook called The Return of Grumpy Cloud that took him 35 work-days over three months to complete. The end result (skip ahead to ~14:25) is pretty impressive given the lo-fi medium. Bailey sells kits for making your own flipbooks, but the store was down for maintenance when I checked.


Paper Mario Bros

I love the aesthetic of Paper Mario Bros, a hand-drawn stop motion animation of World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. The artist, @KisaragiHutae6, drew the world in their notebook and shared some behind-the-scenes techniques on Twitter…how they crumpled the paper for stomped-on Goombas, etc.

Paper Mario How To

(via digg)


In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell is a mesmerizing stop motion animation directed by Fabio Friedli that attempts to sum up the entire world in just five minutes, “from a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse”. This is very very well done. (via waxy)


Time Lapse of the Sushi Scene in Isle of Dogs

My favorite scene in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is the sushi-making scene. It’s a pure showcase of stop motion animation goodness and wordless storytelling.

Andy Biddle has posted a behind-the-scenes time lapse video of him and Anthony Farquhar-Smith animating that scene:

From the costume changes, it looks like that 40 seconds of video took about 29 days to complete, although obviously not full days in many cases.

You can see more of Biddle’s work here and Farquhar-Smith’s work here.

Update: Somehow I totally missed the days counter in the upper left corner of the video…the sequence took 32 days to do. (This is like the awareness test with the moonwalking bear.) (thx, all)

Update: Isle of Dogs’ head puppet master explains a bit more about what goes into making these stop motion scenes.


The insides of everyday items, animated

On Tinker Fridays, industrial designer dina Amin takes apart an item and makes a playful stop motion animation out of its parts.

I spent 2016 taking products that people decided to throw away apart and showing people (not the ones who threw away those products, but others on Instagram) what’s inside and transformed all the pieces to lil creatures by the magical power of stop motion.

You can find more of Amin’s work on her website, YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram. (thx, samira)


Optimism

For the Universe in Verse 2018 poetry event, Kelli Anderson created this wonderful papercraft stop motion animation to accompany Jane Hirshfield’s reading of her short poem, Optimism.

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.

The music is by Zoë Keating…a song called Optimist. Here’s more on the project from Maria Popova.


A lovely ode to stop motion animation

In this short film, animator and director Ainslie Henderson talks about how he designs puppets for his stop motion animations, creating a charming little stop motion music video in the process.

Puppet-making often begins by just gathering stuff, like materials that I find attractive. Wood and sticks and wire and leaves and flowers and petals and bits of broken electronics…things that have already had a life are lovely to have in puppets.


Going Fishing, an amazingly fluid stop motion animated film

Animator and sculptor Guldies has combined his passions and made this short stop motion animated film out of 2500 still photos. The result is remarkably fluid, particularly in the scenes with the human hand.

After months of hard work GOING FISHING is finally here. I have never worked so hard. The animation is filled to the brim with new stuff I’ve never tried before. I animated with branches and leaves, paper, clay, fabric, fishing lures, forks and stones and moss and EVERYTHING I could think of.

It’s a joy to experience things made with such evident love of craft.


First trailer for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

Here’s the first real look at Wes Anderson’s new stop motion animated movie, Isle of Dogs, out in March 2018.

Isle of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

Prediction: Anderson is going to get some criticism on the cultural context of this movie. (via trailer town)


WoodSwimmmer, a Gorgeous Stop Motion Journey Through Wood

Engineer & animator Brett Foxwell and musician & animator Conor Grebel collaborated on this gorgeous stop motion animation of pieces of wood being slowly ground away by a milling machine. Watch as the knots and grain of the wood come alive to mirror teeming cities, spiraling galaxies, flowing water, and dancing alien worlds. Colossal briefly interviewed Foxwell about the video:

“Fascinated with the shapes and textures found in both newly-cut and long-dead pieces of wood, I envisioned a world composed entirely of these forms,” Foxwell told Colossal. “As I began to engage with the material, I conceived a method using a milling machine and an animation camera setup to scan through a wood sample photographically and capture its entire structure. Although a difficult and tedious technique to refine, it yielded gorgeous imagery at once abstract and very real. Between the twisting growth rings, swirling rays, knot holes, termites and rot, I found there is a lot going on inside of wood.”

Some stills from the video are available as prints.


The Ballad of Holland Island House

The Ballad of Holland Island House was created by animator Lynn Tomlinson using a clay-on-glass painting technique.

The Ballad of Holland Island House is a short animation made with an innovative clay-painting technique in which a thin layer of oil-based clay comes to vibrant life frame by frame. Animator Lynn Tomlinson tells the true story of the last house on a sinking island in the Chesapeake Bay. Told from the house’s point of view, this film is a soulful and haunting view of the impact of sea-level rise.

The technique is a hybrid of traditional cel animation (traditionally done on transparent sheets) and claymation stop-motion animation.


Classic video games recreated in stop motion

From stop motion video wizard PES, the death scenes from five classic video games like Centipede and Asteroids recreated in stop motion using everyday objects like cupcakes, pizza, watches, and croquet balls.


Trailer for Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa

Seven years after his directorial debut with the fantastic Synecdoche, New York comes Charlie Kaufman’s second movie as a director, a stop-motion animated film called Anomalisa. The film successfully raised funds on Kickstarter and will be out in select theaters in December.