Ray Harryhausen, Stop Motion Master

Ray Harryhausen’s style of stop motion has more visual appeal than traditional animation styles. Harryhausen’s style has a stronger sense of realism that would have been too difficult and costly to do with hand drawn animation. Harryhausen uses puppets to bring creatures to life in films like “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “Thevalley of Gwangi,”“The Golden Voyage of Sinbad,” and “Jason and the Argonauts.” In “Jason and the Argonauts” Harryhausen animates a giant 70 meter tall statue of Talos with the use of a puppet that in real life is less than 2 feet tall. After the live action portion of the scene (or movie) is filmed, Harryhausen would create a scaled rig to animate his puppets on. Using the process of Dynamation, Harryhausen could animate frame by frame with the already filmed portion of the film. In order to get the shadowing the same, Harryhausen would have to make the light source for his rig a certain distance away from his puppet/s. Since Harryhausen’s puppets are made of actual materials they blend in with the background much smoother than if drawn animation was done instead. In ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” Harryhausen animates the six armed guardian statue Kali in such a way that one cannot easily see the difference between Kali and the live action that was filmed. When Sinbad and his companions enter a treasure room the statue of Kali is present in the scene. The color and material of Kali closely matches that of the stone around it. Kali is animated so well that each of its six arms interact with the live action characters with perfect timing. This is done thanks to the Dynamation rig that Harryhausen creates for each cut and action shot that has Kali in it. In essence, Harryhausen’s style of stop motion is better than traditional animation because of the realness of Harryhausen’s creatures thanks to his attention to material, timing, and lighting.

These are the storyboards for my animation idea. The plot is: A Yeti and a Bigfoot are next to a fire trying to get warm when a hunter appears and tries to shoot them. After killing the hunter, the Yeti and Bigfoot fight over the hunter’s gun and end up shooting each other.

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This entry was posted in Fall 2015, Research, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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