Start Rite shoes wanted to bring their shoes to life in three shoe animation shorts. They had a new range called X-glows decided it would be fun to create something that the children would enjoy! After all they get to wear the shoes. Stop motion for children's apparel is a perfect option as they are so light they are easy to animate!
The great thing about working with Start Rite was that they wanted us to do the creative too! They knew they wanted animation, but were open to the possibilities! We suggested three different ideas and they chose their favourite. The chosen concept was that every other shoe is flat compared to the X-glows, hence the strap line take your feet to another dimension. They chose three mini animations as they understood that short content is key and multiple content is even better.
In each short the flat shoes were attempting different activities without much confidence or success, then the X-glows burst on the scene and confidently lead the way!
We worked solidly from Flux studio space to create the sets and design illustrations for the shoe characters and the set. Once the illustrations were designed we had a great team of interns neatly cutting out shoes and set dressings, sliced fingers and plasters also accompanied them. The set was created so that we could build it in studio.
Once we were ready to shoot over at Z-film Studios in South Manchester, we had to get the set built and lit. As we were filming three short animations, we were able to carry on with set design and build whilst animating simultaneously.
Whilst animating, it was necessary for the shoes to be rigged once they were in mid air motion. I have rigs made up just like bulky armatures and using Climpex. Again the filming was done with a cannon camera and using Dragonframe software. The music and audio design was key to the finished product too by Paul Draper.
The end results was charming animations showing the products in a great light, marketing to the children for the first time. The results for Startrite were awesome as they have achieved over 41,000 views on You Tube and 37,000 likes on the Facebook page to demonstrate some great customer engagement.
Animating cups, stop motion style, simple yet effective!
The video I saw of theirs was Evelyn Evelyn "Have you seen my sister Evelyn?" music video. Which is very cool and uses some merry melodies style animation as part of it, and all the action is within one shot with no cuts.
This shoot was also one of the very few that are done on location instead of in a studio. I was fine in the Starbucks, but many others of the crew were outdoors in amongst the snow. And these were experienced crew members, but strangely they didn't wear snow gear!
Animating cups is simple yet effective as each cup has subtle differences, but once animated it becomes apparent that this cannot be replicated in computer style as CGi by design has an amount of digital perfection about it. The cups are mass manufactured and each seam, each edge, each cut is ever so subtly different only noticeable once you start the replacement animation technique. All wrapped up in one day! Phew!!
The finished animation achieved great engagement results for Starbucks as the you tube video got 522 likes and 126,000 views, but it also helped their social media move up to 530,000 Facebook likes and 15,400 twitter followers.
Manchester based animator Kim Emson has been given a unique opportunity to showcase her talent by working on Skins, the controversial teen drama based in Bristol, which will be back on our screens on 27th January 2011.
Kim set up her Manchester based production company Seconds that count three years ago; the company’s specialism is Stop Motion Animation. This form of animation has been around since the late 1800’s and is widely used in children’s programmes. The challenge now for those involved in this form of animation is to show that stop motion is current and relevant amidst the growing popularity of 3D computer animation. Another challenge is the trend to outsource animation overseas to countries such as India or Japan. It is therefore a great boost when companies choose to support the homegrown talents of our UK animators.
So why did a modern, cutting edge programme like Skins, choose to use a form of animation that’s around 100yrs old over the popular computerised animation? Stephanie Oakley, Art Director for the series said “The main reason we chose stop animation over computer generated imagery was that the writer had created a character (animation student Franky) who made her own animated films from her bedroom, so it was an integral part of the storyline.”
The inspiration behind the Skins animation sequences was the 2006 film, The Science of Sleep by Micheal Gondry, which uses stop motion animation with live action filming to depict the main character who mixes dreams with reality.
For the creative team it was a visually more interesting project to have a stop motion set in the characters bedroom than just a computer. The inspiration behind the Skins animation sequences was the 2006 film, The Science of Sleep by Micheal Gondry, which uses stop motion animation with live action filming to depict the main character who mixes dreams with reality. About the Skins character, Stephanie Oakley says, “(Franky) interacts throughout the episode with her mannequin, which she takes with her at all times. The animation sequence quickly and succinctly represents the emotions of the character in the story, through her mannequin.”
Kim Emson got her break working for CBBC producing children’s programmes notably Bob the Builder and Ooglies. Of her opportunity to work on this high voltage teen show Kim says that, “I think it’s brilliant that they chose to have a character showing an interest in stop motion, instead of computer animation. It’s also great that they would champion the medium of stop motion. It’s a popular show amongst young people today and hopefully now stop motion can still be seen as ‘cool’ as it taps into a different audience.”
The chance to be involved with a show like Skins has been a great opportunity to do something that is far removed from her work on children’s programmes. “Franky has a lot of issues from her past and is using animation as a form of therapy in a way. I’ve learnt a lot about stop motion’s capacity to translate complex emotions, albeit in an abstract way,” says Kim.
The desire to attract a wider audience and show that stop motion is still a powerful creative tool is what drives STC to take on projects like this. With talented stop motion animators such as Kim, the use of this medium is not going to go away any time soon.