Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Notes from Stop Motion Passion, Process and Performance by Barry Purves

Purves Barry, 2008, Stop motion Passion, Process and Performance, Oxford, Focal Press

5. Getting Personal

- dinosaurs - idea of them being inanimate objects that animators have to create illusion of life - relates to Harryhausen's fantasy creatures
O Brien's attempt at Lost World impressive movement but little account of mass and scale of the creatures betray them as minatures
- the take of a huge creature flicking their long necks and tails from side to side in a few frames doesn't feel believable
- during the age of O Brien, Harryhausen and Danforth used stop motion to animate non exisiting creatures as far as they could be taken
- mix of stop motion and live action not very popular anymore so public expects a stopmotion world as in The Nightmare Before Christmas or Wallace and Grommit
- animators sometimes had to ignore facts and create the credible, not the real as MC Cooper did in King Kong giving the impression that dinosaurs could roar with a range of vocal chords
- "... but bringing Talos to life thorugh stopmotion is so appropiate. Today, a sophisticated CG model might convey the scale better and fit him into the environment more seamlessly, but I doubt that CG would have given Talos the quirky =, ponderous movements that define him one of the greatest animation characters." (Purves, 2008: 63) how stop motion is outdated but also successful
- music sequences helped Harryhausen's scenes breathe life perfectly complementing the animation e.g. skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonaughts used rattles and Cacophony alongside movemnts of stillness and tension
- stop motion creates impression that material is alive changing shape as demonstrated in Morph

8. Different Techniques

- "Most of us enjoy stop motion because we like touching something, but there are many different techniques, each one affecting the narrative and how you film." (Purves, 2008: 131)
- puppets - performers already crafted so just manipulated them
- the animators skill is excluded and reduced to mechanical
- puppets don't allow animators to feel the movement
- just an element of the puppet works better as in Creature Comforts and James and the Giant Peach that includes a mouth or whole face that is replaceble bu other pieces

Cross - Over Techniques
- model and 2D animation combined
- e.g. Joan Gratz uses clay and combines this with paintings for extra texture, shadow and movement
- only 2D images survive as 3D models are continuely manipulated so not much life by end of shoot

Cut - Outs
- another technique that allows different forms of animation to merge together
- one example is Lotte Reinger who cuts out black paper to form silhouttes against a bright b/g
- gives uniqueness and depth as they act as table top puppets that can move around in the space more freely

- sand or salt needs precision
- animators don't get the same sensation as touching or moulding a material as they push it round with a brush
- placed on translucent screens and lit underneath, creating a silhoutted texture

Claymation - clay and plasticine
- need skills of animating and sculpting
- models manipulated into a number of poses to get the shots
- distorting a clay motion puppet through strentch and squash for over emphasisng facial expressions and physical form
- mostly shot on 2 frames per second
- sometimes single frames work if appropiate to let a movement flow better
- examples are Brother's Quy and Jan Svankmajer that animate things that disturb and mix different techniques trying to really emphasize the character

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