Animation

Section



Animation Art

Artificial Organisms: Shimmering Digital Creatures Undulate and Pulse with Light in Maxim Zhetskov's New Film

November 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

In “Artificial Organisms,” Russian director Maxim Zhestkov (previously) enlivens machine intelligence to create palpitating marine organisms that radiate with vibrant bands of light. The hulking, life-like specimens, which are comprised of countless individual spheres, are presented floating in undulating masses or enveloping a stark white structure in groups evocative of a coral reef. Each piece fuses the artificial and organic, producing “a bizarre world of mesmerizing digital creatures,” Zhestkov says. “A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.” To watch more of the director’s projects, head to Vimeo, Instagram, and Behance.

 

 

 



Animation

A Polar Bear Made of Ice Navigates a Melting Arctic Landscape in a Powerful Stop-Motion Short

November 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

A poignant short film by London-based animation studio Nomint is a stunning reminder that we can’t reverse climate disasters. Produced for WWF’s Arctic Programme, “We Can’t Negotiate with Ice” follows a polar bear as it traverses a landscape comprised of melting glaciers, rising seas, and a video-montaged backdrop with flashes of violent storms and wildfires. The stop-motion short is a plea for world leaders to take sweeping, monumental actions at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference and is a year in the making, having used more than 1,000 liters of ice to create 500 unique polar bear sculptures and their surroundings. For more from Nomint’s animated campaigns, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Music

Ten Degrees of Strange: Moving Clay Scenes Animate a Music Video About Escaping Anxiety

November 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

In the music video for Robert Macfarlane and Johnny Flynn’s new song “Ten Degrees of Strange,” director Lynn Tomlinson (previously) captures the endless transformations of human emotion through moving clay. The Baltimore-based animator uses her singular technique, which involves painting the pliable material onto a glass backdrop and photographing each frame, to create a stunning visual companion to the indie track about “trying to outrun anxiety, seeking joy and strength in landscape and movement.”

Seamlessly shifting from wide aerial shots to underwater close-ups, the animation opens with an inscribed ancient tablet before following the antagonistic relationship between a central character and a dog. “As a medium, clay holds a lot of power—its malleability allows me to transition fluidly from scene to scene, much as the natural world shifts and evolves over time,” Tomlinson explains in a statement. “In many ways, my clay on glass animation is naturally suited for telling stories about the passage of time, evolving perspectives, and cycles in nature.”

In addition to collaborative projects like “Ten Degrees of Strange,” Tomlinson creates a variety of personal projects focused on the human impact on the environment. You can watch those animations on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Animation

Three Sisters Face an Impending Climate Disaster in an Existential Stop-Motion Short

October 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

What begins with a calm morning filled with stunningly bright sunlight quickly morphs into a short film of existential crises and the life-altering implications of climate disasters. Directed by Frédéric Even and Louise Mercadier with production by Papy3D and JPL Films, “Sororal” is a profound stop-motion animation that follows three sisters as they react to warnings about the sea submerging the land. The trio has incredibly varied and relatable responses, with Madeleine instantly consumed by panic, Emilie forming a mystical bond to the water, and Anna approaching the situation with extreme apathy.

“Sororal” presents the siblings’ reactions to the impending flood as physical manifestations: Because Madeleine and Anna resist accepting the news, their bodies become hard and brittle and form crusty, salt-laden scabs (these scenes are slightly graphic and use nude figures). Emilie, on the other hand, remains flexible and unscathed.

 

In a conversation with the animation publication Skwigly, Even and Mercadier share that they first digitally rendered the puppets before 3D printing them in resin. The sisters’ faces are inspired by French Gothic and Asian art forms of the 12th Century, and their bodies leave the black annealed wire armature visible, a decision the filmmakers explain:

We didn’t want to hide that they were puppets, to be realistic and give them the appearance of flesh and blood characters. We found that seeing the mouth replacement lines and the joints in their hands help make them fragile and touching and although the distance is established with a being of flesh and bone it creates more empathy than with more realistic representation. We feel that they can break. We feel the precariousness of their construction. They appear all the more disarmed in the face of the immense wave which threatens them.

“Sororal” features dialogue entirely in French, so be sure to click the CC button to turn on English captions. The animation follows Even and Mercadier’s first project titled “Metamorphosis,” a 2015 retelling of Kafka’s short story, and they’re now working on a film about a foolish angel lost in space and time. (via Short of the Week)

 

 

 



Animation

Dead Meat: A Pair of Hungry Seagulls Fight Over a Hotdog in a Quirky Animated Short

October 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

Selfish, hungry, and more cunning than he appears, the zany seagull in Adnan Peer Mohamed’s “Dead Meat” sends feathers flying. The animated short opens with the creature scouring a boardwalk for food, and after mistaking a bolt for a snack, he snatches an entire hotdog only to find a fellow bird is after the same sausage. Mohamed is currently a student at Vancouver Film School, and you can find more of his animations on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation

A Superstitious Cast Kicks Off Montréal's 13th Annual Stop-Motion Festival in a Carnivalesque Animation

September 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

To launch its 13th year, a bizarre animation for the 2021 Festival Stop Motion Montréal evokes eerie tropes and superstitions: a drooling pug morphs into an unfriendly black cat, a gardener reveals a sharp scissor hand, and a once-vibrant fire turns into clouds of soot. Set to a lively track by Nick Lavigne that quickly bends into a sinister tone, the claymation teaser by Rome-based animator Gianluca Maruotti opens the festival, which will show 93 short films from September 10 to 19. You can find the event’s lineup—which includes appearances by Andrea Love’s Tulip and the modest product-testing rabbit named Ralph—on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite