The Return of Dynamation
- Monday, 12 July 2010 20:03
- Last Updated on Monday, 12 July 2010 23:24
- Written by Marc Spess
A long gone friend of feature films has returned. Dynamation!
In what would seem an ancient art form that died out when Ray Harryhausen wrapped up his last feature film work, Dynamation is now making a come back. Thanks to one of our active members on the site, Ron Cole is bringing back Dynamation by using more modern technology.
Ray Harryhausen and Willis O'Brien to an extent, honed in-camera film techniques by layering rear screen projection, stop motion puppets, foreground projection and other tricks that Harryhausen later called Dynamation. Watch a video about Dynamation here:
Phil Tippett also had his own techniques that he termed "Go Motion" where computer controlled rods connected to puppets would move, and therefore blur puppets while the camera shutter was kept opened. Dragon Slayer was probably the ultimate Go-Motion film created. The dragon puppet used rods attached to its legs, head and wings - creating an amazingly realistic motion to all its parts. You can see how the process worked here:
So where does that leave us several years after Go-Motions demise? Most productions use computer graphics, but they lack the human touch. Stop motion films also have a somewhat magical look to them. With real light and shadows cast on real physical objects, the difference is sort of like looking at a mask of a human face, and a real human face. While the best artists in the world can make a super realistic mask of a face, you'll always be able to tell the difference between the two when you see them side by side. Another good example might be this image of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as wax dummies. Yes, it's realistic - but at the same time you will notice something just doesn't look quite right:
|Now there is today. Computers are being used as capture devices, able to give animators more precise movements. Computers can now add motion blur in a realistic way to still images captured for animation, and then seamlessly blended into live action footage. Way back when Harryhausen was working on his films, motion blur wasn't possible with any sort of precision.|
So what is all this talk about dymation coming back? Well one of our members, Ron Cole is utilizing the latest technologies - as well as the latest puppet building materials to update Rays Dynamation techniques. Ron of course has help by others in the stop motion community. While he animates, others are making armatures, adding the motion blur and taking live action background plates. Then it's all composited for the director to review. Wait until the end of the new Sinbad trailer. You can get a brief glimpse of how the newly created Dynamation techniques look:
You can also view the official Sinbad the Fifth Voyage by clicking here.