Monday, March 21, 2011

Sumo Science

Yay, springtime has finally arrived! With that I wanted to post on a little animation featuring spring themes that are very "little" indeed. In fact, this animation is so tiny it holds the Guiness Book of World Record's achievement for being the "world's smallest stop-motion animation". Please enjoy, Dot:

I love the bumble-bee ride over the ocean of pencil shavings. :)

Dot herself is only 10cm tall!...

Much too tiny to manipulate in any traditional way, so instead 50 different poses of her were created using the resin drippings of a 3D printer (cool)...

...painstakingly painted, and then switched in and out of each frame to simulate her movement. Any smaller and her tiny appendages would not be able to stay attached.

The entire movie was shot on a Nokia 8 cell phone with a microscope. That's right, a cell phone. It's specifically called a CellScope, invented by Professor Daniel Fletcher and his team at Berkley. It allows for doctors in developing nations to snap pictures of magnified blood samples and send them to anywhere in the world for instant analysis. It's brilliant, and it saves lives.

Ed Patterson and Will Studd, a team of duo-directors who call themselves "Sumo Science", were hired under Aardman studios to shoot the film (yay for Wallace and Grommit :) ). On average they shot about 4 seconds of animation per day, meaning it must have taken them about one month of shooting to complete the whole thing. Not too shabby.

Both Ed Patterson and Will Studd graduated from UWE Bristol, and since then have been working under Aardman Studios helping out on such projects as Wallace & Gromit, Planet Sketch, Purple & Brown, and animating various commercials.

Have you ever seen those shorts of Purple & Brown on YouTube? Ah, the hilarity:

Sumo Science uses traditional stop-motion techniques with everyday objects and sometimes 2D animation. I had a chance to look at some of their past work and I especially like their Innocent Orange Juice ad:

Apparently these commercials are so popular in Britain they have a few parodies. Here's one for fun. :)

"Plump... and ready to burst." Mmm, I want an orange.

Here's a funny "Stuff vs. Stuff" episode. They're only vegetables, but you can't help but grimace when they get hurt:

Here are some of Sumo Science's creative Idents meant to occur in between commercial breaks:

And finally, here are two animations of theirs I just like: The first is simply called, Plates. The second is a 2D animation of glowing Clockwork Plankton. Very dreamy:

Have you ever seen such creativity be expressed by two people in so many diverse ways? Each animation is as unique and original as the next. It's good to know that stop-motion and 2D animation are not dead--quite the opposite; in fact, these styles seem to be teeming with new methods and fresh ideas coming from all over the place.

I have no doubt Sumo Science will continue to be a leader in the forefront of this stop-motion "reawakening"; constantly brightening our days with the cooky antics of their characters and the colorfulness of their imaginations. It is a welcome renaissance.


1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    While exploring the 'Playback locations' of my videos on Youtube, I was introduced to your lovely and inspirational blog. As an animator and artist myself, I'm always looking to explore and learn about what arouses and motivates others, something that your site excels at.

    It is a complete honor being displayed alongside of the masters of Sumo Science, but I must admit that I'm not British (I'm American) and the main reason I created it wasn't to parody, but to figure out, once and for all, how they did it.

    I follow a few stop motion forums and they all erupted when the commercial was released.Information was scarce at the time and people were speculating whether it was CG or stop motion and, if it was traditional stop motion, if they used real oranges.

    Rather then join in the debates, I went on a shopping spree, bought a bunch of different types of oranges, and began cutting. It was at that point where I decided a parody would be more fun and flipping the orange around so that it was pregnant instead of carrying it on it's back fit my style and personality far more.

    To add to both it's allure and believability as a 'banned commercial,' I reached out to the forum to find someone in Europe willing to do the voice over work. Almost instantly, someone eagerly replied and I was treated to the wonderful Northern UK accent that now resides in the piece.

    A short while (and a few hundred oranges) later, it was great to able to return to the forum and present pretty clear proof that they could have easily gone with traditional stop motion and used real oranges. After all, if an amateur working part time in a 2' x 2' area using nothing but hot glue, armature wire, and bamboo skewers could accomplish something, there's no limit what full time professionals with a budget and proper equipment could do.

    Far more information than you cared for, I'm sure, but I thought I'd give you some insight to my creation. If you haven't already, I invite you to explore my other animations as well, although I warn that some of my work isn't for everyone:

    Thank you,

    Sean O'Hara