Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stop Motion Animation

Until now, I never realised how many different types of stop motion animation there was. I was only really aware of a few types the main one being clay animation (Aardman), the rest honestly I didn't even know the names of.
  • Clay Animation
  • Pixilation
  • Pinscreen
  • Graphic
  • Object
  • Direct Manipulation
  • Cutout
  • Timelapse
  • Model & Puppet
Under clay animation, there are also various sub categories. The one that caught my attention was clay painting. Below is an animation by Joan Gratz - 'Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase' (1992), I actually came across this animation awhile ago but never knew how it was created. I now know it was done by painting with clay. I really like this piece as it uses very famous art works: Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci yet merges/transforms one painting into another with subtle changes. It brings fine art paintings to a new audience, people who are interested in animation and combines the new and the old together. Unlike the other types of clay animation this is not 3D in any way, it has been created on a flat surface where the clay can then be manipulated to change the scene.

Another type of animation that caught my interest was pinscreen. Pinscreen animation is where a white screen is used that consists of many of thousands of very fine pins. By lighting both sides of the pinscreen it casts shadows over each individual pin. The farther the pins are pushed out, the darker the screen gets and vice versa. I find it really hard to get my head around this technique as it is not something I have come across before. To me I really don't understand how people are able to achieve such good images from some pins and lights. Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker pioneered this technique and I find their animations really stunning, more because of how it was created and how much time it would have taken to create something like this. There must have been a lot of through process behind this, more planning than possibly any other animation would need. It would have to be precise too as each pin could produce a different shadow, you would need to make sure that everything was in the right place in each scene.

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