The technique of stop-motion model animation - bringing models to life by filming them one frame at a time - was the most important way of creating cinematic monsters and fantasy creatures before the advent of computer-generated imagery.
It is a technique that will forever be associated with names of Willis O'Brien, the creator of King Kong, and Ray Harryhausen, whose films thrilled a generation of post-World War II movie-goers.
But the first crude model animations were made in the 1890s and in the first two decades of the twentieth century pioneers producing short animated films before O'Brien created the first two animated features, The Lost World and King Kong in the dying days of silent film. Moreover, stop-motion model animation is still alive and flourishing, most notably in the work of directors Tim Burton and Aardman Animation's Nick Park, whose plasticine creations have starred in major hits such as Chicken Run and The Curse of the Were-rabbit.
In this book Ray Harryhausen and his co-author Tony Dalton trace the history of the genre to which Ray devoted the whole of his working life, from the almost accidental discovery that inanimate objects could be brought to life on the screen to movies such as Jurassic Park, which combined model animation with computer-based techniques to bring a new generation of prehistoric creatures to life.
In doing so he gives his readers a fascinating insight into the patience and ingenuity of the animators, explains the development and refinement of the technology, especially that which enabled actors and animated models to interact on the same screen, and gives us tantalising glimpses of the many abandoned projects which litter the history of model animation.
The book is lavishly illustrated with stills, many of them from forgotten movies and never before published in book form, sketches and storyboards for projects, explanatory diagrams, rare photographs of animators and artists at work and a host of memorabilia.
|The Beginnings of Model Animation 1895-1930||p. 36|
|Visionary and Star-Maker - Willis O'Brien||p. 52|
|The Beginning of Dynamation and Creativity in Motion||p. 112|
|O'brien and Harry Hausen Contemporaries - 1930-1970||p. 144|
|The Children of Obie and Ray||p. 176|
|Aardman Animations, Tim Burton and Others||p. 220|
|Acknowledgements and Picture Credits||p. 235|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 31st October 2008
Dimensions (cm): 29.6 x 25.6 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 1.661