How 'Early Man' mixes painstaking puppetry with a little CG

CNET | 2/24/2018 | Richard Trenholm
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Nick Park with claymation chums Wallace & Gromit.

In his new caveman movie "Early Man", writer, director and animator Nick Park goes back to the beginning of time. Although the techniques used to make this stop-motion movie are the same as at the beginning of Park's own career, they're enhanced by the most cutting-edge moviemaking technology.

Creator - Plasticine - Pals - Wallace - Gromit

Creator of the much-loved plasticine pals Wallace and Gromit, Park is co-founder of Oscar-winning animation studio Aardman. "Early Man" is the latest in a long line of stop motion films from "Aardman".

"The basic technique hasn't really changed from the beginning," explains Park of the meticulous animation technique with which Aardman is synonymous. Variously known as stop-frame animation, stop-motion or claymation, it involves photographing puppets made from modelling clay while making the tiniest movements in each frame. When the images are played back at speed the characters come alive.

Process - Fans - Wallace - Gromit - Shaun

It's a slow and painstaking process, but as fans of Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and many other stories will tell you, the results have a real charm and spontaneity.

Sculpting puppets and backdrops requires a lot of time and effort. So for "Early Man", which goes from a lush valley of hand-sculpted trees to mountainous volcanic badlands and soaring football arenas, Aardman opted to use make things a little easier. "We've always been open to using technology," says Park, "and we always have digital effects that we just can't do with a model or clay, like smoke, explosions and sometimes water. The big scene at the end [of "Early Man"] with the big football game was quite difficult to create 30,000 puppets, so we went digital there as well."

Aardman - Films - Arthur - Christmas - Away

Aardman has made digitally animated films before, including "Arthur Christmas" and "Flushed Away". But the main characters of "Early Man" are still sculpted and animated the old-fashioned way, frame by...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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