This week I was able to step into a new world of wonder at Seattle Center’s MOPOP for an exciting exhibit, Hidden Worlds, The Films of Laika. Laika company has released films such as, Paranorma, Missing Link, and my personal favorite Coraline. They have been using what is called stop-motion animation for some of their movies. Which means that all of their sets, character’s bodies, characters’ facial expressions, clothes, etc. are all made out of clay. On average, it takes about 60 hours to create just five minutes of 24 FPS(frames per second). To break it down, a video shot on a video camera usually runs at 24 fps (frames per second), each photo taken for a stop motion project is one frame. If each photo takes 30 seconds, creating a five-minute 24 fps video will take 60 hours. Which is why these types of movies are more detailed and exquisite that regular animation won’t be able to show by forming with clay but with computers and tablets. It’s one thing to draw, but it’s another to create. Now, don’t get me wrong, I give everyone their flowers, but this exhibit showed me the extra step that claymation animators have to take when it comes to their work.
One of my favorite parts of the exhibits was that I was wrong about how far the details go. It was clear that artists wanted to break out of their own shells with some of their movies. With my favorite, Coraline, it was the first time they had used 3D printing to create most of the bodies and facial expressions and structures. But there’s more to it than that. There’s the correct fabric to match their faces for different costumes. There’s the different shades their faces can turn depending on weather or health. And there’s even the details within scenes themselves. The leaves on trees, the books sprawled out on the floor, the intricate detective people map in the room of a hoarder. It’s incredible not only the ideas but the patience people have to create and put together everything that goes into a good family friendly movie.
I would absolutely recommend this exhibit to art lovers everywhere, animation lovers, and family and friends everywhere. It not only opened my eyes to how much more time and effort goes into making stop motion movies but also into all of the tiny details that we would see in our everyday lives. Fingers crossed for the MOPOP considering keeping the exhibit, as they did with their last special. This was an incredible experience to step into new and exciting new worlds.