Pixilation

23 06 2008

Pixilation is a great technique for producing quick and fantastic looking animation. Based on stop motion, where the animator places clay figures or other 3d objects in front of the camera, takes a frame then moves the objects and repeats.

The difference with Pixilation is that instead of taking a great deal of time making models, the subject of the animation is real people. By animating their movements you can make them do really amazing things.

In his 1989 film the Wizard of Speed and Time, Mike Jitlov shows what great fun can be had with this technique.

The classic Japanese horror film Tetsuo by Shinya Tsukamoto also contains many great examples.

watch the sequence starting about halfway through the trailer. This film is astounding by the way. From 1989, its unbelievably intense action and at times unfathomable storyline have really been influential for a new generation of filmmakers.

The pixilation technique has a lot of similarities to time lapse photography, mainly due to the inevitable rapid speeding up of time that happens when shooting and the fact that it is shot in a real world environment. To see great examples of this you need to see Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi.

This technique has been used by a great deal of influential animators and filmmakers, including Jan Svankmajer who incorporated it into his surreal films. The daddy of them all though has to be the grand master himself, Norman McLaren. A prolific Scottish animator who pioneered many exciting and new techniques and won the Oscar for his thought provoking short, neighbours. Not many people pushed the possibilities of moving image as much as this man.

 

And crikey, even Nokia have been playing with it for their recent ad campaign

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