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Animation and Anime

Those Wonderful Jumping, Hopping Mice of CORALINE - CG?

Hey folks, Harry here... It seems I've seen quite a bit of talk about the alleged CG in CORALINE and a scene that many folks are pointing out involves all those amazing hopping synchronized mice that we've seen in trailers. I've watched this scene 3 times now. Once at BUTT-NUMB-A-THON out of context and twice in context with the entire film (Review is Embargoed, but it is also brilliant). You guys familiar with George Pal's short film work?

Ok - you see that animation? The form of animation that you're looking at involves a process called SUBSTITUTION ANIMATION. You saw it used in NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS... you know all those different Jack and Sally heads that were placed at 24 frames a second? The reason you go that route is it gives you a higher degree of control of expression and emotion, along with a great deal of accuracy with lip syncing. What you saw less of was body movement Substitution. In the above toons, you'll see Squaching and Stretching of forms that do not have armatures in place. The way this is done is by creating three dimensional figures at different stages of motion, this gives a very smooth and sensational look for the characters. I know this, because Henry Selick gave me one of the 500 mice that were created to make that astonishing sequence of the movie. And I say astonishing, because once you see the sequence in 3D, your jaw will drop. It is, frankly amazing. The picture below is of one of Bobinsky's Trained Jumping Circus Mice. He is suspended in mid-air by a tiny rod holding him up from underneath and this rod is digitally removed with a computer. Much like 'wire-removal' in stunt sequences... just applied to animation. As Henry informed our audience, in the old days they would have used "Spider Wire" which was so thin that the eyes rarely, if ever caught it. However, this sometimes allowed for shifting and wasn't as secure as a rod. So... a computer was used to remove the rod, but human hands carved, painted and placed a real solid object for each frame of the animation. ALSO.. Henry mentioned at the Q&A an even more amazing aspect of the film. A single camera lens shot the film in 3D. For every frame of the film, two separate photos were taken, then interlaced later for the 3D. This way they could approximate our visual depth perception on a miniature scale, which no camera exists to do. So essentially, they shot the movie twice and there was no miraculous new 3D technology, they did it mathmatically and with precision of human effort. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Here's Bobinsky's Trained Circus Mouse...

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