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Hi Five the Cactus

Uploaded by YouTuber Nobody is Watching the Children

Released in 2018, Hi Five the Cactus is billed as "The World's First Stop-Frame Animated Western." Directed and Animated by Chris Thomas, Hi Five is inspired by a song written by a former folk band in Philly called the Extraordinaires. Thomas expanded the story of the song into a five-act stop-frame animation that contains contains 12,984 individual frames.

Thomas is a self-taught animator from West Virginia. He says he “mistakenly ended up in Philadelphia after dropping out of Temple University and found shelter in an old-warehouse that had no windows to the outside world.” It was here where he animated his first film, Hi-Five the Cactus.

The puppets are generally all wire and epoxy armatures with fabric bodies and clay faces and extremities.  The background started as a painted backdrop and eventually evolved into a digital projection.  “I preferred the projection over the painting,” said Thomas. “I learned I could transform the set easier and actually composite the vultures in the background and shoot them in sequence to the animation.”  

The lightning strike, however, was actually sculpted.  For this Thomas wrapped a stick with tinfoil and moved a couple spotlights around to achieve the effect.  “The nearby storm cloud was actually glued to a sheet of plexiglass which hid most of the lighting rigs,” added Thomas.

When asked about the incredible camera movements throughout the film, Thomas eagerly noted, “I feel as though animating the camera is almost as important as animating the characters.  I want to feel like I am the same size as the puppet or I am actually moving with the puppets while I'm watching the animation.  This to me, is most exciting!”

The camera movements were all created with a couple rigs modified by Thomas over the years.  “One was a lighting boom which I mounted to a tripod head to and the other was a linear slide that also had a connecting tripod head.  The ‘hand-held’ scene inside the shack before Hi-Five returns was shot on the linear slide by pivoting the camera head the opposite direction I moved the camera.  I suppose its the same concept as the ‘vertigo-shot’ just on a pivot.  For the POV scene where the cowboy pulls his revolver out and points it at Hi-Five, I actually zip-tied two really long puppet arms to the camera.”

Thomas’ debut production is a must-watch. Story written by Jay Purdy. Original score by Crooked Tooth and the Story Tellers. Winner of 4 Awards, 7 nominations and + 30 Festival screenings (5 international)…so far. Learn more at hifivethecactus.com.

Scott CulpepperComment
Submit Your Entry to the Neum Animated Film Festival

Neum, a town on the Adriatic Sea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is hosting its 14th edition of the Neum Animated Film Festival, or NEFF, from June 29 through July 5, 2019.

StopMotionPlanet encourages animators and students from around the globe to take advantage of this opportunity to submit up to three films for consideration. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2019. Films must be produced after January 1, 2016. Visit the NAFF website for more information or view the entry form and rules here. Be sure to let us know if your film is selected for projection and/or recognition!

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Anteloper - Summertime

Uploaded by YouTuber Anteloper.

This mesmerizing music video for Summertime by Anteloper was made by artists Jill Frost and Phil Lewis. They were interested in using nature in a surrealistic way to express the human emotions suggested by the Summertime lyrics. 

The film is comprised of approximately 1500 individual frames and took about 60 hours to make. Frost and Lewis used simple paper cutouts and filmed with an iPad using a homemade rig hooked up to a selfie-stick clicker to take shots remotely.   

See more work by Jill Frost here: www.jillfrost.online.

Check out the newly-released Anteloper debut self-titled EP at www.anteloperband.com/listen.

Scott CulpepperComment
Zey The Mouse • Episode 5

Uploaded by YouTuber Ian Harding.

Ian Harding is back with a brand new episode of his stop-motion animation series Zey The Mouse. 

Harding's trademark beautifully-crafted sets and props provide a whimsical backdrop for 'Who's Playing The Game,' a sci-fi fantasy animation in which something amazing happens to Zey and his pal Dylan when they go to buy a new computer game. 

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AWAY (music video)

Uploaded by YouTuber The Disused Yeti

Artist Tim Matthews' work embodies the joy of stop-motion heuristic learning. Matthews admires low-budget ingenuity and likes stop-motion to be a little "ragged around the edges." You'll see influences such as (and homages to) Oliver Postgate and Terry Gilliam in his work.

When asked to describe his style, Matthews likened his work to "slightly more elaborate day-dream doodles around the themes of (my) lyrics. I try to devise surreal, dynamic visuals which are challenging to create but hopefully end up easy on the attention span."

In AWAY, Matthews explores a variety of stop-motion styles to animate another of his original songs. 

Sharing a sentiment with all Stop Motion Planet fans, Matthews says he finds stop-motion "very Zen, creatively rewarding and (I'm) simply in love with the medium. My humble goal is to keep pushing myself to develop, improve and hopefully entertain anybody else who wants to watch along the way."

Keep it up, Tim!

 

Scott CulpepperComment
Time Machine - Things I Like To Do

Check out this music video for Time Machine's "Things I Like To Do" track from their third studio album, "The Test of Time." It was written and directed by artist and director Deepti Menon who created a lively and fun 2D stop-motion animation that reflects the song's vibrancy and wit. The animation was achieved with paper puppets and found materials using After Effects and Adobe Premier Pro. Learn more about Deepti Menon and her artwork.

The video is the single from Time Machine's new album "The Test Of Time," available June 22nd. Check out more of Time Machine on:

iTunes
Spotify
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Uploaded by YouTuber Glow Like This

How To Make A Puppet Film in Your Garage

Squirrel Island creator Astrid Goldsmith's presentation on "Alternative Methods of Animation Film Production" speaks to the soul of the traditional stop-motion animator. Goldmsith is engaging and candid as she examines her working process from storyboarding to animating and editing outside of a traditional modern studio set-up; the importance of collaboration; and finding alternative sources of funding and distribution. 

If you haven't yet seen Squirrel Island, be sure to check out Goldmsith's Kickstarter success story seven years in the making.  It's a stop-motion sci-fi action thriller about squirrel apartheid. "When a lone renegade grey squirrel and a hunted acorn find themselves trapped on a hostile and mysterious red squirrel island, they uncover a horrifying plot that threatens their future." It was shot on 16mm with a 1969 Bolex in Astrid's garage in Folkestone. Since completion in 2016, it has won several awards, was BAFTA long-listed and has been shortlisted for best animated film at many international film festivals.

Uploaded by YouTuber Deeson.

The Planet Inspector

Uploaded by Youtuber Clay Day.

In this stop-motion animation, Planet Inspector Zezo is tasked with examining Earth. After finding the horrors of factory farming, he comes up with a creative solution that gives the animals the life they deserve.

8 Stop Motion Tricks in 2 Minutes

Eight truly brilliant tips and tricks for stop motion animation filmmakers. Puertas opens the studio door to reveal various materials, lighting and animation techniques to achieve stunning effects. As Puertas said, "I use these techniques everyday." 

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Uploaded by YouTuber Edu Puertas