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Movies made by hand.


 732269F. New York Public Library The New York Times announced today that a new animated adventure featuring the inventor Wallace and his long-suffering dog companion Gromit is in the works. It promises to be a murder mystery set in a bakery, and I look forward to a reunion with this quirky man and beast duo.

Movies, you say, in a blog the focuses on the handmade? Even IF one of the characters is a knitter (and Gromit is), why mention the film here? Maybe it’s a stretch, but here’s my reasoning. Wallace and Gromit are the work of Aardman Animations, which uses three dimensional stop motion animation techniques to create films and shorts beloved on both sides of the Atlantic. In their films, including The Wrong Trousers and Creature Comforts (these and others are available at the branches for checkout–just do a keyword search for Aardman and they’ll come up), the animation is the result of labor-intensive hands-on stop motion filming, as each plasticine character is slightly adjusted, frame by frame, to simulate movement. So there’s definitely a handmade facet to this filming, see? NYPL has books that can help you learn more about this animation process: Cracking Animation and Creating 3-D Animation are two to read.

And if you want to look deeper into Aardman, there’s a typescript screenplay for the Aardman film Chicken Run at the Performing Arts Library too. (Will Wallace and Gromit’s bakery look anything like the New York City one above? Image from the NYPL Digital Gallery.)


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