Does interactive media have a place for stop-motion style art?

The Animation Anomaly has an article about stop-motion animation director Henry Selick, and his panel this week at SIGGRAPH. The annual conference brings the world’s top professionals together to highlight computer graphics and interactive techniques. Goblinarium’s team member, Victor Leung, is there right now. He’s an officer for their San Francisco chapter. (Don’t worry Victor… we’re not slacking while you’re gone!)

Henry Selick is quoted by Variety about the animation movie business:

“It’s too homogenous. It’s way too much the same,” said Henry Selick, who directed stop-motion pics “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Coraline.” “The films aren’t really that different one from the other. ‘Despicable Me’ could have been made Pixar, by DreamWorks. It’s not a great time for feature animation if you want to do something even moderately outside the formula.”

His hope, he says, is new media.

The Goblinarium team is listening, while we make our animated creature app.

Speaking of team work: animation is a tight community. Henry Selick’s movie studio Cinderbiter was down the block from Pat’s apartment in San Francisco, until it closed in 2012. It had 150 animators who could often be found at Flying Pig Bistro across from Pat’s (where this blog is being written.) A former Cinderbiter animator, our friend Katherine MacDonald, got here from Toronto and Sheridan animation (where Pat studied). This week, some mutual friends there are putting on the Toronto Animation Arts Fest (TAAFI). Former Goblinarium team member, Jonathan Wasserman, is moving the other way to Toronto. We’re hooking him up with the TAAFI team an animation community exchange.

Jonathan came from the animation community of Israel, where he worked at stop-motion studios. He brought us perspective for an important question:

Is there a place for stop-motion animation in interactive media?

We were unusure if this kind of animation had ever been used for mobile media. (The interactive game Neverhood was an important example for PC CD-rom.) Standard computer graphics are versatile for low budgets, compared to the painstaking set-up process of photographing physical art. But once it’s set up, it has unique properties as art. That’s our interest…

Jonathan showed us that it does exist. Some Israeli animation friends of his created the stop-motion iPhone app, Milgrom:

We’re happy to have at least one example to show it can be done! Do you know of any others?

The animation movie business is tough for independents. Even a loved director like Henry Selick is gloomy about it. But there are good opportunities for creative entrepeneurs, and studios who create content for new media on a small, independent scale.

We like this quote from Variety:

Chris Sanders, helmer of DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods,” said while big grosses for animation are great news, he’s worried that today’s animated studio fare is “monumental.”

“That’s one of the things that’s very much on my mind,” he said, “I think we need to create a variety of types of animated films, some that are not going to cost as much as others. Not every story is giant.”

Personal, independent storytelling is our focus!