Combine the right story with animation and it can transport you to another world outside of the confines of reality. Animators and directors make a multitude of artistic choices--colors, lighting, character design, and even what type of animation to use--to how best to tell their story.
3D computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the go-to tool for today’s animated film market and it does have its place in storytelling. However, CGI it’s just one way to tell a story. Below are a few solid examples of the "original" 3D animation: stop-motion.
Behind the scenes of Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Stop-motion animation is photographed one frame at time, with physical objects (models, clay, and even legos!) that are moved between frames. When you play back the sequence of images rapidly, it creates the illusion of movement. I am continually amazed at the dedication and time it takes to create a finished story in stop-motion. From the tiniest quirk of an eyebrow to fast paced fight sequences, each element of motion is done by hand--frame by painstaking frame. In many cases, you can literally see the fingerprints of the artisans peppered throughout the work!
Behind the scenes of Kubo and the Two Strings
Interested in this art form? Stop by the library to check out these movies for yourself:
DVD | PG | 2006
One of my first introductions to stop-motion were Aardman Studio's original Wallace & Gromit shorts (which are also included on this disc). I instantly fell in love with their madcap antics, distinctly British humor, and the unique animation. Their first feature length film finds our bumbling hero and his competent sidekick on the chase of a mysterious Were-Rabbit causing havoc through out Tottington. A making-of behind the scenes rounds this feature out nicely.
If you are a fan of this style, checkout these other Aardman creations: Chicken Run (DVD | G | 2000), The Pirates! Band of Misfits (DVD | PG | 2012), and Early Man (DVD | PG | 2018).
Blu-ray | PG | 2023
When Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, becomes bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world", he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus. Tim Burton's signature visuals and haunting catchy music make this a creepy cult classic perfect for Halloween or Christmas.
Love the Burton's creepy atmosphere? Also check out Frankenweenie (Blu-ray | PG | 2012) and James and the Giant Peach ( DVD | PG | 1996)
DVD | PG | 2009
LAIKA's first feature length film about an adventurous girl who finds a parallel world behind a secret door in her new home. But little does she know that this idealized "perfect" world contains a dark and sinister secret. A true dark fantasy film, the stop-motion animation enhances is other-worldly feel and is a perfect fit for its chilling visuals.
DVD | PG | 2016
This captivating quest film is one of my favorites on this list. When 12-year-old Kubo accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past, he must battle gods and monsters--armed only with a magical instrument and the help of unexpected companions--to set things right. LAIKA’s stunning, beautiful animation features a foundation of hand-created stop-motion animation layered with just the right amount of CGI to give this film extra atmosphere and polish. Be sure to check out the special features to get an inside look at its incredible creation process. The scale of their rigs and models--both big and small--is astounding!
If LAIKA's captured your imagination as they have mine, check out their newest feature Missing Link (DVD | PG | 2019)