Experimental & Stop Motion Animation: Creators + Projects
EXAMPLES: How did they do that?!
Abstraction | Animation | Broadcast Design
Stop Motion | Type in Motion
- Abstraction: A strategy of simplification, concrete details are left ambiguous, vague, or undefined; communication about things in the abstract requires an intuitive, shared or common experience between the communicator and the recipient.
- Expression before Technique: Technique is meant to serve the primary goal of expression in animated filmmaking just like any other art form. How something is realized is never more important than what is being realized; execution should never be of more importance than content.
- Anticipation / Exaggeration / Motivation: The amount of change in position between one drawing/image and the next creates the illusion of
movement. In animation, the reality of speed is often accentuated for dramatic effect.
Exaggeration is the single most important quality in giving "personality" or "character" to an animated movement.
Anticipation can be created by utilizing "pause" before major movements. (IE: bouncing ball, Wile E. Coyote chasing the roadrunner, Art Babbitt (Disney animator / Three Little Pigs, Goofy, Snow White).
- Extremes & In-Betweens: The process of cell animation usually begins not with an individual drawing but with a schematic sketch that outlines the course of a movement and relative positioning of an entire set of drawings (called a spacing guide). "Extremes" are drawn first (by the head animator) and usually appear in one frame per second. The remaining mid-way points are called "In-Betweens" and are drawn afterwards by either the head animator or an assistant. This process is applied to ensure fluid movements that arrive where and when you want them in the final animation.
- Ease-In / Ease-Out: The idea of gradually accelerating to full speed and slowing down gradually to a stop for more realistic movement. (IE: It's impossible for someone in real life to suddenly jerk into full movement).
- Shooting "in Two's": It's common practice in animation or stop motion to shoot 2 frames at a time so that each drawing/image will take up two frames of film. Therefore 12 drawings/images are needed for one second of film (at 24 fps).
ABSTRACTION & ANIMATION
- Norman McClaren (1914 – 1987, Scotland)
A Scottish-born Canadian animator and film director known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). His early experiments with film and animation included actually scratching and painting the film stock itself, as he did not have ready access to a camera.
- Stan Brakhage (1933 - 2003, Kansas City)
An American non-narrative filmmaker who is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th century experimental film. Over the course of five decades, Brakhage created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a variety of formats, approaches and techniques that included handheld camerawork, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting, in-camera editing, scratching on film and the use of multiple exposures. Interested in mythology and inspired by music, poetry and visual phenomena, Brakhage sought to reveal the universal in the particular, exploring themes of birth, mortality, sexuality and innocence. — Wikipedia
- Len Lye (1901 – 1980, New York)
New Zealand-born artist known primarily for his experimental films and kinetic sculpture. Painted vibrant abstract patterns onto film, synchronized them to a popular dance tunes.
Lye used black film stock and scratched designs into the emulsion. The result was a dancing pattern of flashing lines and marks, as dramatic as lightning in the night sky.
- Oskar Fischinger (1900 – 1967, Los Angeles)
- Abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter
- Made over 50 short animated films, and painted c. 800 canvases
- Painterly abstractions, syncopation
- Used multiple projectors
- Did special effects and cartoons for a living
- Experimented with visualizing music and sound
- Jan Švankmajer (born 1934, Prague)
- Czech surrealist artist and animator whose work spans several media.
- Claymation / stop motion / puppetry / live-action
- Surreal, nightmarish, & funny pictures
- Trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, sped-up sequences, inanimate objects coming alive
- Food is a favourite subject and medium
- Child’s perspective, disturbing and aggressive nature
- Ray Harryhausen (1920 - 2013, Los Angeles)
- Brother’s Quay
- Stephen and Timothy Quay (born 17 June 1947 in PA, United States)
- Studied at the Royal College of Art
- Worked as professional illustrators before stop motion animated films
- Their films feature dolls, often partially disassembled, in a dark, moody atmosphere
- No spoken dialogue
- Highly reliant on their music scores (most by Polish composer Leszek Jankowski)
- Several music videos for the band Tool
TYPE IN MOTION
- Saul Bass (1920 – 1996, New York)
- American graphic designer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker
- Best known for his animated title sequences
- 40 year career with some of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers: Hitchcock, Kubrick, Preminger’, Scorsese...
- Contemporary examples of broadcast design & moving type
Manipulating Time | Timelapse | Slow Motion