I've always preferred CGI to be stylized and cartoonish like this rather than hyper-realistic. This is a weird mix of both though, with the emphasis on realistic textures and surfaces. Weird DoF choices throughout though. I guess they were trying to make it look miniature by using shallow depth of field in the long shots. Seems too self conscious to me. All in all though, I had a hard time convincing my brain it wasn't really stopmotion, even though the characters moved in impossible ways (unless it was done with full-figure replacement stopmo). The main thing I disliked was the overemphatic use of hard shiny highlights. But a very nice film regardless.
I agree with the DOF and hard highlights. There was also a certain amount of jitter to the moves that wouldn't be present in modern stop motion because of technological advances in recent years.
That said, I think this is really well animated (as that is something we can all agree on), and it would look AWESOME in 3D because of the tilt-shift style of the selective focus. Everything looks knick-knacky, and small. I thought that was a big odd, as the only time you would want to give away the scale of your sets and puppets is if you were to compare them to the size of the people manipulating them. In this film, there is no interaction with the real world, so the miniturization effect seems kind of unnecessary.
Yeah, it doesn't quite seem to know what it's trying to do - are these supposed to literally be miniature porcelain figures in a miniature world? If so, then why do they act like they're just regular people in the normal world?
I've thought about letting things look miniature. Obviously we've had some discussions on the subject in here from time to time, and I don't see why it wouldn't work to let DOF reveal the miniature nature of things, as long as it's a film about miniature things, about little dolls or puppets, which aren't meant to imitate real people in the real world. But it seems like if you're going to do that then you should capitalize on the idea that they aren't really people... I don't know, this one just seems to want to straddle that line without coming down on one side or the other.
Marc Spess made a good point on Facebook, and that is "maybe the shallow depth of field effect was used to hide some of the aspects of CG that don't look realistic".
Stop motion shall never die! We must fight! hahaha :P
Very odd style indeed! But oddly enjoyable and quirky... i really dug it!
It almost looks real. But I don't think we have to worry until they stop manufacturing violins and pianos, guitars and drums, leaving only synthesizers left to emulate what once was real. Synths are cool, though, and they are capable of producing unique timbres of their own, beyond emulations. This is a very nice animation, and impossible to animate authentic porcelain figures, unless doing extreme replacement stuff.