Paranorman Poster

Here’s a super nice piece of Poster Art from Kevin Dart (reblogged from Super Punch)

I just got the “Making of Paranorman” book this morning. I usually wait to watch the film first before the making of incase it spoils the film, but I think this time I more excited about the film having seen how they made the puppets and the intricate sets.

Exit Strategy

Here’s the music video I helped Brook with. She was great fun to animate with and she had the whole thing edited and up on youtube in record breaking time. The band’s name is We Walk In Straight Lines.

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It was so fun to do some more stop motion animation and make another pair of puppets. I learnt tons more about puppets from making these two and I actually think I’d try a different approach for my next stop-motion film. The story developed quite organically. One of the brilliant things about puppet animation is you can develop some action and ideas on set as you are animating straight-ahead. This allows the characters/puppets to develop their own personality a little more. But you do need strong puppets! I was pleased that the armatures didn’t break this time!

Frank Oz

This is Frank Oz, he is the voice of Miss Piggy (as well as Yoda) and he also still does the voices for Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle and Animal… and Bert and Cookie monster. It makes sense when you think about it. I still believe Piggy is one of the finest actresses in showbiz.

Puppets for Brook

Brook asked me to lend a hand with a music video she’s working on. Here’s a peak at the puppets I’ve been working on for her. We are doing the first day’s animating tomorrow. Good to get a bit more puppet making practice. You can see I used the same materials for the wolf as I did for the Prospero puppet. This wolf just loves hot dogs. Their winter clothes make me feel so hot!!



Prospero & Ariel

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I chose the scene in The Tempest where Ariel transforms into a harpy as the starting point for my animation. I based the method of transformation as a hikinuki, the art of the instant costume change, characteristic of Japanese Kabuki theatre. I researched Kabuki, the acting and stage conventions, the stories and the many significant parallels it has with and Shakespeare.

I created a stop-motion puppet animation as an attempt to emulate a theatrical atmosphere in miniature. I felt that this would be appropriate in response to a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. The two characters in the animation are based on Ariel and Prospero, they wear Kabuki inspired costumes and handmade wigs.

The animation also explores a relationship between Ariel and Prospero. My version of Prospero plays multiple roles, that of musician and as a koken stagehand, but also as the magician as he miraculously reveals Ariel’s other form. Ariel plays the part of the onnagata the female-role specialist and dancer. The costume changes in Kabuki are symbolic of complete transfiguration and the dramatic colour contrast from one kimono to another can represent an actor’s change from one form to another. I hoped to maintain the integrity of this method of spectacle in the animation.

More Making of…

A couple more behind the scenes photos in the rostrum room and some drawings from my sketch book for this project. It’s quite nice to have a record of the project, and to look back at the early sketches and see how much it developed in what has seemed like a short time. I’ve really learnt so much from this project, there are still some finishing touches to do, so it’s not complete yet, but I’ve enjoyed this brief so much.


Some screen grabs of the liquify effect in AE by putting on an adjustment layer, changing the tool options and setting key positions. I made Ariel whisper (with the warp tool) and I tried out some blinks on Prospero (with the pucker tool) but I felt that it wasn’t actually necessary in the end. Especially since Ariel isn’t capable of blinking. But I will keep in the lip manipulation  even though it’s barely visible. It’s such a good tool I’m planning how to apply it in my future puppet animations.

Blue Sparks

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Here’s the segment with both the effects layered onto the animation, I decided that the outcome was too distracting and I am in the process of simplifying the effects, keeping them to three shots. The effects were filmed and then layered onto to the animation, in a photographic double exposure style. I talked before about Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of  The Pleasure Dome, and how he used double exposures over a theatrical black back-drop with actors performing.

I think that making it simpler and not so busy is more in keeping with the style of Kabuki, but it takes the edge off the sparse feeling of the set for the dance. Kabuki often uses the motif of snow, strongly visible in Sagi Musume, or blossom falling.