Paranorman

From the creators of Caroline, Laika Studio produced another stop-motion film, Paranorman. Paranorman is a movie about a young boy named Norman, who could see the spirits of the dead and he was chosen to ease the undead that arises from the witch’s curse. Paranorman is not only stop-motion; it also contains CG effects and other interesting elements. For CG, let’s move to a certain scene:
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(Image shows the forming of the “witch” from the red sky glowing green)
I find this scene to be really impressive as the animators in Laika knew that they had no way to produce this effect without CG. So instead, they used a model for reference to the CG team; on how they want the sky to look like when the witch’s face is slowly forming. Then, the scene is reproduced in CG. It is a mixture of both real hand-animated sets and CG effects, which is obviously tedious, but beautiful.

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Another noteworthy point in producing Paranorman is the facial expression of the characters. Usually in the modern industry, 3D characters are animated using CG, but Laika has a different approach. They sculpt out the models in great and believable details, along with the complexity of animating the characters’ faces.

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The characters’ face is divided into two parts; The upper face for eyebrows and eyes, the lower face for the mouth and eyes. By sculpting detachable parts of the upper and lower face, the animators have the flexibility to switch how the characters express themselves; that means they have to change the parts every frame. Not just the face, by the eyes of the character are sculpt and changed for different scene. The speed of their action, the timing of their actions, the lighting, and so on. I guess the dedication requires high amount of passion and perseverance, with the desire to try new things everytime.

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The facial expression parts are kept in a set, because there are thousands and thousands of different face parts, so it would be easier to sort them out for animators to use. It is definitely a tedious work to do, something that has never been seen before in any other animated film, which is what Laika Studio wants; a beautiful film, an art that achieves realism.

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