Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"All New Adventures of Morph" Kickstarter

Yes, you read the title right, Aardman has finally decided that they will bring back Morph in a new animated series.  Morph, in case you didn't know was created by Peter Lord and David Sproxton,  he [Morph] was one of the first and finest characters Aardman ever created.  In the very first episode of Morph the plot line was simple enough: Morph would plot about and tip things over on a desk.   This lovable character who was created 30 years ago is now making a comeback in British culture and cultures around the world.  Peter explains that they are an indie company who usually have partners for all their projects, but for this one they wanted to do something special: with having brought half of the budget themselves, they have decided to leave it up to the fans of Morph, both new and old, fund and be partners for this projects.  There goal is 75,000 Euros and there currently they have 4,926 Euros.  A few of the awesome prizes there offering include: a Morph print signed by Peter Lord, a Morph t-shirt, you Morph likeness (a clay model of yourself in the likeness of Morph), Google Plus Model Making hangout, and many others.  Please check out their Kickstarter page for more info and to watch the Kickstarter video: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1961548517/all-new-adventures-of-morph-from-aardman-animation?ref=category

Aardman website: http://aardman.com/

Making Morph: each Morph puppet is sculpted by hand out of clay.

Monday, October 28, 2013

"The Deep" by PES

I'm sure I've introduced you to the modern Stop Motion artist PES.  But in case I haven't he makes short Stop Motion films with everyday objects like silverware and light bulbs.  In the 2012 Oscars PES' short Fresh Guacamole was nominated in the animated shorts category.  And according to Wikipedia, PES is working on feature film.  Which I hope is true because his work is utterly and entirely beautiful.  This piece (The Deep) premiered on Showtime's Youtube spotlight channel in 2011 but now it's on the PES channel in

PES' website: http://eatpes.com/
PES' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theartistknownasPES
Link: http://youtu.be/AK18bdUEWSs

PES' "The Deep"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review: Cracking Animation, The Aarman Book of 3D Animation

Cracking Animation is one of the very few book in the medium that covers everything on the subject of Stop Motion, it doesn't spend 240 pages babbling on about passion and never getting down to how to actually execute making a film.

The book starts with an intro by Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep) and is followed by a note by Peter Lord (founder at Aardman) then jumps right into the history of Stop Motion, including the history of Aardman.  Now we finally get the juice, by which I mean DIY animation studio.  Now the book breaks up into chapters that concentrates on essential skills needed to make a Stop Motion short, TV show, or feature film.  My personal favorite chapter is, what I believe is chapter 5 'Puppet Making.'  This chapter includes how they made the character Shaun for the Shaun the Sheep TV show, this is wire armature to final fabrication so, 100% start to finish.

Cracking Animation is a great mentor that will hold your hand through the entire process which is glorious. So if your just beginning or just dabbing with Stop Motion or you are an experienced professional this book will give you brand new insight on your project, and hey, might even open a few door that were closed before.

*Note: I never suggest taking one book and copying there business model entirely.  If you did that  you would just end up with a Wallace & Gromit rip-off.  But what I do recommend is to apply the information to your brain so that in the future you can critique your production with helpful tips and tricks from Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Steve Box and many, many more.

Overall score: 
Pros: Great insight on how Aardman executes an Oscar winning film.  Chapters including model making, puppet fabrication, screenwriting, storyboard writing, and lighting.
Cons: N/A
Amazon price: $26.09
Link: http://www.amazon.com/Cracking-Animation-Aardma

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Stop Motion Wire Armature

One of the most requested posts for us to do is a 'how to' wire armature.  I decided that video-form was the best way to explain the process.

[Note] ii'm going to state that a wire armature is not the most efficient way to build an armature, a ball-and-socket armature is by far the best best way to execute motion with a Stop Motion puppet, but to build one takes so much more time and is very expensive.  But hopefully in the near future I can do a ball-and-socket armature tutorial.

Video link: http://vimeo.com/77250842

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Henry Selick Will Direct Live-Action "A Tale Dark & Grimm"

The ever-wonderful and awesome director of Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Monkeybone, Henry Selick is set to direct the Adam Gidwitz novel A Tale Dark & Grimm.  The script is being written by John W. Mann and Jon Gunn, who have also written the script for DreamWorks Animations' upcoming film B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworlly Operations.  

This, for me at least is not something I saw coming, I mean Henry Selick himself said that he hated Monkeybone and wasn't hasty to jump back into live-action direction.  But, as always, I'm game for anything Henry is up to, and I do love me some Grimm-like stories.  But this does lead me to one question, what the heck happened to The Shadow King?  But the answer to that I'm sure will come shortly.
A Tale Dark & Grimm
A Tale Dark & Grimm

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BBC Is Bringing Back "The Clangers" In 2015

The classic cult show The Clangers was originally created by Oliver Postgate first aired in 1969.  After being gone forty-five years the mouse-like creatures we all know and love will be making a comeback in 2015 announced the BBC.

The BBC also recently announced that CBeebies, US pre-school network Sprout, Coolabi, and Smallfilms are the ones who we can thank for making the revival happen.  It will be in classic British Stop Motion, so no CGI thank God!  The original series co-creator Peter Firmin, will be taking up the task of the lead puppet maker.  Oliver's son Daniel Postgate will supervise the writing process of The Clangers like storylines, scripts and that sort of thing.  It will be produced by Factroy Transmedia (Raa Raa the Noisy Lion), and Mackinnon and Saunders (who you know as the guys who made the puppets for Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Bob the Builder, and the list goes on and on).

Anyway, I'm very excited, as I am on anything Stopmo related.  I trust that they will stay true the the original material and keep it new and exciting for an new generation.  For more info about this vist http://www.clangers.com/

Friday, October 11, 2013

"Shaun the Sheep's" Mossy Farm Book Series

Aardman and Walker Entertainment are calibrating on a new book series for kid's based off the Shaun the Sheep characters.  The popular Aardman character Shaun the Sheep, who first premiered in the Wallace & Gromit adventure A Close Shave and then Shaun achieved his own children's television show also name Shaun the Sheep.  This has led to the upcoming Shaun the Sheep movie, but leading up to then is the 2014 book Mossy Bottom Farm.
According to the Aardman website Rob Goodchild, Head of Licensing at Aardman said this:

'We are delighted to be working with Walker Books at such an exciting time for them and for Shaun the Sheep. The Mossy Bottom Farm series will bring brand new stories and characters from Shaun’s world to a range of young fiction books. We know how much families enjoy watching the TV show and are sure they will take the same pleasure from reading these books together. ‘
\Walker Book's previous publishing achievements have consisted of Hank Zipzer, Tilly and Friends, and Abney and Teal.  the book will obviously evolve around the 'Shaun' characters like Bitzer, the Farmer, Timmy, and many more.  I hope that this is book series will lead to good thing for Aardman, but I also hope that Aardman doesn't assume the power that Disney has and decides to capitalize on all of there previous and upcoming successes only for the money.
Mossy Bottom Farm

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Monster Slayer" Live Action/Stop Motion Short Film

Monster Slayer is a short film written and directed by Caskey Ebeling.  So, just to start off, the first time I watched Monster Slayer I was blow away by how captivating and original the content is.  The film (for me at least) hits a Woody Allen/Wes Anderson feel, which is maybe why I like it so much.  The premise is this "Every morning, Ben is visited by a motley crew of imaginary playmates, products of his psychiatric disorder. Embodiments of the best and worst in Ben, these hallucinations both bring him comfort and create chaos. This forces Ben to make a difficult choice: continue to live in his fantasy world, or confront reality, by taking a pill that will destroy his imaginary world." The creatures include Lug, who is a harry one eyed beast, and Chip, a man/demon who turns on Ben once in a while.
It's a really great story with really great VFX, I should mention that all the effects are STop Motion and we're created and shot by the former Buddy System Studios, but who are now Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

After watching the film go and watch/look at the BTS pictures and videos, all of which I've posted below.
Link: http://characterproject.usanetwork.com/#!/monster-slayer?mid=172&tab=3