Hey Gang,

We are proud to announce the release of Stop Motion Magazine’s Issue #16 – The ParaNorman Issue!!!


As you may already now ParaNorman is the latest film released by LAIKA and Focus Features. We were lucky enough to hook up with Focus and LAIKA to bring you this very in-depth issue. What you will find in this issue are exclusive interviews with some of the creative geniuses behind the film. We interviewed Directors - Chris Butler and Sam Fell, CEO/Lead Animator - Travis Knight, Georgina Hayns - Supervisor of Puppet Design and Fabrication, Jeremy Spake – Armature Designer, Brad Schiff – Animation Supervisor, and Tristan Oliver – Director of Photography. They gave us detailed and amazing interviews to questions only a magazine dedicated to stop motion could ask.

You can download it free now at stopmotionmagazine.com (Direct Link: http://stopmotionmagazine.com/?page_id=518)

Also, there will be PRINT ISSUES!!!

We are going to offer print issues of our current and past releases for purchase. So now you can collect SMM at a reasonable price, $10 an issue. You’ll still be able to get the download issues for free, but by purchasing a print issue you will help us to continue circulating and creating new issues. Also this will allow SMM to grow and bring you more in-depth coverage. We hope you are as excited as we are.

So go now and download you free copy of Issue #16 the ParaNorman Issue. AND GO SEE THE FILM!!!

Keep Animating

John Ikuma
Executive Editor
Stop Motion Magazine

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Ah! That's great to know! Truth to tell, I've never personally purchased GI-1000, that's always been the choice of prop-shops I've worked at so, I'm really experienced with it but, for my own private work I've always purchased other types and brands.

I'm about to start work on another puppet for the film 'Legend of the Golden Fishcake' and for that, I've decided to go back to casting in SkinFlex III urethane rubber. I've really had it with the problems with silicone. (rips and tears, sliding on the armature, not being able to glue it well and punched-in hair too easily pulling out - just to name a few)

I've cast and animated a good number of silicone puppets and I think it's good stuff and I'll continue to keep it in my toolkit but, it's also created too many headaches for me - headaches I never encountered with urethane. Just today I had the wire completely rip out the side of a finger on my Cyclops puppet... AGAIN! The tear 'strength' on silicone just sucks in comparison to latex or urethane. The wire rips out through silicone pretty frequently and yet I've never had that happen even ONCE with the other two types of rubber.

Silicone puppets are like dense JELL-O, every sharp edge on the armature or thin strand of wire easily cuts right through it like a hot knife through butter.

Hey Ron, it's great to hear you are able to do something for Fishcake!  I wanted to, even roughed up a sculpt, but crunch time came suddenly for both of the films I was already working on and I had to back off.  

Have to agree - tear strength is so poor for the platinum silicones, the last thing I would want is a silicone with even less strength.  But Corpse Bride used the silicone over foam latex method so it's clear they were using tin cure silicone in the UK for that,  and now Laika in the US has used that method.  So there must be suitable tin cure silicones out there, in the US and UK at least.  

Or maybe it's having a puppet repair crew on hand, and several spare puppets of each main character standing by, that makes silicone viable for these feature film productions!  For us one-man band types,  everything comes to a halt whenever a puppet breaks down, and we have to spend hours fixing it and waiting for stuff to cure before we can shoot another frame.

BINGO!!! I was thinking that while I was typing my last comment... when there's a puppet making crew at your disposal, silicone works great!

The hair on my two duplicate casts of the Cyclops puppet took me 5 days of work to punch in all of the hair on the legs and body each. So when the wire rips out of a finger and I can't glue it back in... I got a major problem on my hands!

Didn't you see this "But and I mean a BIG "But", I have seen a GI-1000 in non-tented" in my comment?

Ron Cole said:

John - I've used GI_1000 gazillions of times and the blue color is more than just a slight 'tint', it's more of a deepish sky blue. So there would be no way to easily paint over it without needing to build up a totally (thick) opaque layer of silicone paint over it.

The fast-cast catalyst is the one that's clear, that's REALLY fast stuff! but I suppose it's possible to get out a casting with it but, there's a couple of problems with that... there's not chance to de-gas it so you're gonna have air bubble problems. The other problem is that silicone cast with the fast-cast stuff tends to be more brittle and rips more easily so, that's not a good option for a puppet.

I don't think I've ever used GI-1110 so that might be what they used but she did mention that the silicone manufacturer (Silicones Inc.) worked with them to produce a good formulation for them so, my guess is that they just removed the tint from the regular speed catalyst.

Corpes Bride also used Silicones Inc

John - My bad   The first time I read your comment, I assumed that in saying 'non-tinted' you might not have known that the fast cast catalyst is clear.

I love all the BTS stills included in this; it's cool to see exactly how they set things up.  And, y'know, exciting to see them using the oh-so-familiar Dragon controller...

Finally saw Paranorman last night; needless to say, I loved it.  The funny thing was, at one point I look down and realize I'm dressed as Norman, totally by accident.  It was a happy moment.

So has anyone had a chance to look at the Art of Paranornman book - does it have a lot of technical - how it was created material/explanations ?

I guess what I really am interested in is how they create the sets since most attention is on puupets and cameras.  Maybe Anthony can describe what he saw.  Thanks. 

I've got the book, and it's a real doozy!! Personally I think it's fantastic and highly recommend it to everyone who's even wondering about it. 

As for technical stuff - there are loads of great pictures of puppets in various stages of disassembly, faces taken apart, pictures taken in the puppet shop, and also the model shop where you can see props and set pieces being constructed. Not a lot of written explanation though - but the pictures are nice and big and you can pore over them obsessively. 

One thing I can tell you - by the time you finish the book you'll fully believe Travis Knight is a superhero of stopmotion. 

For my money the real high point of the book is the concept art. Gorgeous!! Dude - I want these people to do concept art for MY films, then I'll be super-stoked about making them!!! 

I finally just got through reading the whole Paranorman issue (cuz I been so busy) and I totally loved it! I think what I liked most was how you managed to get interviews with people from as many different area of the production. So it wasn't just all about the puppets or just about the animators... but a real mix of views from many positions on the entire production.


Great Stuff!

Hi Steven, I'm not sure how to answer your set question.  I decided to focus solely on animating on this film so I had no input on set or puppet building.  In general, the sets are typically made out of wood and are built sturdy enough to withstand the weight of a person, so they need a support structure underneath the set all while maintaining as much clearance as possible for tie-down access.

Steven Hauben said:

I guess what I really am interested in is how they create the sets since most attention is on puupets and cameras.  Maybe Anthony can describe what he saw.  Thanks. 

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