Non-Traditional Animation Techniques

Creating Magic Humans are social creatures that have an innate need to share experiences and stories. Ever since humankind started communicating, stories, real and unreal, were shared around the communal circle. The tribe gathered together and a tale was told that revealed information, lessons, provocative thought, and emotional empathy. Often the more fantastic the story, […]

What Are the Possibilities? (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 2

Stop Motion and Its Various Faces Not until 1952 did the technique of pixilation become utilized in a film that struck an international chord. Norman McLaren’s Neighbours, which featured Grant Monroe, mentioned earlier as the person who coined the term pixilation, put this technique back in the public eye. FIG 1.5 Neighbours, directed by Norman […]

Shooting Frame by Frame (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 1

Technique to Serve the Idea "A lot of people are trigger-happy—they just want to be shooting/ animating all the time, because it makes them feel like they are being productive. But in reality, you are just wasting creative energy if you haven’t done the hard work on your ideas. And it is hard work. There […]

Shooting Frame by Frame (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 2

Preproduction Your concept and script need to be translated into visual language for you to know how to prepare for a shoot. This is the storyboard. Storyboarding can be a career unto itself, and some highly talented people work in this arena. The critical job of the storyboard is to force you to think through […]

Pixilation (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 1

Take Advantage of the Medium "We like the fact that you can feel the real material in the objects. When you choose your medium of work you get another aspect to play with. How would that material express what I want to express? When you animate a paper or a person you actually use a […]

Pixilation (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 2

Humor "Although pixilation has been explored since Norman McLaren’s work in the 1950s, it had tended to be used largely for slapstick effect. Our initial interests were in trying to use the technique in a more subtle and expressively dramatic way. "The intention was to make a film that looked like live action but [moved] […]

Pixilation (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 3

The Moving Camera It would be a mistake not to talk about the ability of the camera to be animated. So far, I stressed the importance of "locking down" your camera so there are no unnecessary bumps or jarring movements. Yet, we discovered that artists like Blu intentionally move the camera every frame for certain […]

Time-Lapse Photography (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 1

Expand Your Awareness Time-lapse photography has been practiced for decades and it never seems to grow old. From the early work of Dr. John Ott in the 1930s to the phenomenal motion photography of Ron Fricke in films like Koyaanisqatsi to Baraka in the 1980s and 1990s, time-lapse photography has allowed us to see the […]

Time-Lapse Photography (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 2

Contrast When filming a piece of time-lapse photography, it is helpful to show contrast within the frame. This use of contrast makes any compositional frame interesting, but it is critical for time-lapse work. Since time-lapse photography speeds actions up, the overall frame becomes highly active. If no stationary elements are in the frame to help […]

Cinematography, Lighting, and Composition (Non-Traditional Animation Techniques) Part 1

Cameras and Lenses We have already established that, at the moment of this writing, digital single-lens reflex still cameras are the standard for shooting alternative stop-motion techniques. Their light weight and small size offer convenience and quality in the shooting environment. They are relatively affordable, with prices that range from $400 to $9000 with the […]