How Modern Animators Use Visual Effects to Make Films Come to Life


It’s easy to imagine how traditional animation works. Artists draw a number of panels—or shoot stills with stop-motion figures—that get turned into moving images, like a flip book or a zoetrop. But as technology advances, animation has gotten both more impressive and more complicated, making use of computers and 3D modeling to bring animated characters to life.

Oscar-nominated studio Laika, known for its stop-motion animation, details the inside scoop on the modern animation process in a new video (spotted by Laughing Squid) on how the visual effects for the action-adventure film Kubo and the Two Strings—one that some critics think could be a contender for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars next year—came together. 

For a scene involving a giant eye, for instance, the team built a model that used a bowling ball to steer the green screen-backed sphere for realistic motion. To create an origami boat that looked like it was made out of paper, prop masters made a child’s size boat on set that is made of thousands of laser-cut leaves. Because the film involved action scenes depicting the boat riding out a thunderstorm on the high seas, the rigging team made a moving, rolling system of copper wires underneath a crinkled shower curtain that looks surprisingly realistic as an ocean.

See more of the special effects magic in the video below:

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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All images via YouTube