This animated movie made a surprise in visual effects for an Oscar nomination.

The movie industry has seen a lot of revolutionary work since computer animations were introduced to the screens. We’re now have movies that depicted incredible graphic illusions that were nearly impossible to capture just using cameras. Today, there are solely graphic animation movies that tops the Box Office in Hollywood. There’s an animated movie that’s won special graphic effects for the second time at the Oscars. “Don’t blink, not even for a second, if you do, you’d miss out.”

Related media: Kubo And The Two Strings: Official Trailer

3D Facial Expression

In 2017, the animated movie ‘Kubo And The Two Strings’ by Laika Entertainment was nominated for the second time in the history of the Oscars for Best Visual Effects. (‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ is the only other animated movie to have also get that nod, in 1993). Kubo also featured the largest ever stop motion puppet, and it was the first animated film to be nominated for a prize at the Costume Designers Guild Awards. This groundbreaking 3D stop-motion adventure film took graphic animations to a whole new level.

The animation movie is set in Heian Japan of a young boy called Kubo who lives together with his mother on top of a mountain by a coastal village. One day, he was summoned by a spirit from his past, and finds himself on a mission to save his ancestors and fulfill his heroic destiny — an adventure that big takes a wider imagination.

Image: Laika Entertainment | 3-D animation costume of the characters in Kubo and the two strings

Stop. Pause. Then Move…

Enter visual effects supervisor Steve Emerson, at Laika Entertainment with the groundbreaking stop-motion animation.

“Everything needs to be hand-animated,” he explains in an interview with Animation World Network. “Our animators, if we’re lucky, we’re getting six seconds a week of them. Typically, it’s closer to three.”

The skeletal monster in Kubo took a week to get just a second of motion picture. The five and half meter (18 feet) tall stop-motion puppet is the largest ever made. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you might think the ginormous skeletal puppet might have been the animator’s biggest feat, but Emerson says the bigger challenge was making the photo-realistic water.

The water systems were created from a myriad of stuff, including garbage, robes, and iron mesh. Together with all this materials, Emerson and his team of animators from Laika, incorporated various design techniques like like digital matte painting and a complex 3-D printing system into their work and made the amazing movie worthy of an Oscar nominee.

Pull Out All The Stops

According to Slate, these printers allowed the animators to “quickly 3D-print complicated facial expressions for its characters, allowing Kubo and the other characters to feel far more emotionally expressive than stop-motion characters typically do.”

In addition to being nominated for Best Visual Effects, Kubo was nominated for Best Animated Feature. It was also the first animated film to ever be nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award. (Puppets need clothes, too!)

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Thu, Jun 20, 2019.


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