Sunday, 13 May 2012

FMX Festival 2012 Stuttgart: Coraline

FMX 2012... woo!

Another great visit to the FMX festival! This event does mainly focus on 3D animation and VFX, but it was still a fantastic experience for me (even though I am a tradtional animator). I was lucky enough to attend talks about the latest stop motion films such as Aardman's 'Pirates'. It really is amazing how much work and dedication goes into every frame. I was lucky enough to attend a talk with one of Aardman's talented model makers, Amanda Darby back in November last year. We were able to hold one of the puppets from Pirates, and also look at a sample of the replacment mouths that were used. Laika, the studio that made 'Coraline' was the first studio to use rapid prototyping to create over a million replacement mouths for their puppets. After the Aardman talk, Mark Shapiro from Liaka, did a presenation on Coraline and gave us a gilms behind the scenes of Coraline. They create the mouth movements in Maya and then use 3D printers to digitally sculpt each mouth shape, Mark said that overall they had over a million replacement mouths for the procuction.

Just a small selection of Coraline's replacement mouths, I think Mark said that there were 1000's of mouth shapes just for Coraline. They created a library stystem that would help the animators know which mouths they needed, this is the system Aardman adopted for Pirates. For their new film 'ParaNorman' (in cinemas in August 2012) they have developed colour 3D printing. The sculpts come out of the printer as a white chalky colour and then it is placed in a liquid (I can't remember the chemical name) that brings out the different colour and tones for the skin.

A faceless Coraline... eek! The mouths are easliy clipped on with magnets on the back of the replacements.
This speeds up the animation process as the animators don't have to keep sculpting through as they animate.

A rather shiney me with Coraline puppet, I was scared of dropping her. But we were told a lot of the time the animators would end up breaking parts of the puppets by pushing the movements to the maximum in order to get the very best performance. Many repairs, they must have had a mini puppet hospital.

This is one of the armetures for Coraline, beautifully made so she could move well enough to give a smooth and fluid performance. I would not even want to attempt making one of these, far too fiddley!

Myself and the very talented Lynda Barnes with 'the other father' puppet. His mouth was one of the few puppets without replacement mouths (Mechanical animation). Lynda was just sorting his hair out.

Stuttgart is such a lovely city, so we managed to chill out and enjoy our surroundings in the evenings.

Such a fantastic week, now back to work!

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