Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Madame Tutli-Putli - the eyes have it

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Madame Tutli-Putli @ NFB website

Ok folks, I don't know what's going on these days in the world of stopmotion, but a sea change is ahappenin'. Already we've had the incredible Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton, and now there's the astonishing Madame Tutli-Putli by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski of Clyde Henry Productions in Canada. These guys are basically fledgeling animators - or at least this is their first professional endeavor in the field. Previously they made posters and graphic art by taking pictures of their own bizarre collages featuring highly stylized sculptures of their own making along with found objects. In fact, very much like what Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studios does (this next picture reminds me very strongly of Chris' work, but more fully realized and detailed).

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If you're unable to watch the videos on the NFB site, the same videos are also to be found, like everything sooner or later, on YouTube. I highly recommend watching all available videos including the behind the scenes material - I love hearing these guys talk about the creative process!!!

Every aspect of this film is groundbreaking and absolutely stunning to watch, but probably the most groundbreaking effect is the eyes. They're completely alive, like no animated eyes ever have been - in fact they're real human eyes composited in through computer magic to give unprecedented life and character to these puppets.

Well, I could go on and on, but I think it's best to let the videos speak for themselves - I've probably watched each one a dozen times already, and I'm still blown away every time! I can't wait for this one to come out on DVD!!!


Shelley Noble said...

My God, Mike, what a great find! What manner of revolution is taking place in stop mo indeed!?

This is yet another masterpiece arriving!

I found the human eyes on the puppet unsettling in the trailer. But found, in the interviews with the makers, their work process to be so interesting and admirable that I'm willing to give the whole film a proper go.

I commend them for the thought and detailed craftsmanship they've put into this film.

jriggity said...

yeah guys! I too was so impressed by this whole production....Super High Quality.

Not a bunch of beginners ....they have lots of talent supporting their vision.

I too will be picking this up on dvd when released.


jriggity said...

WOW ! I didnt know they animated it too..

even more impressive!!


Andrew Liebau said...

Jason Walker, the computer-whiz / professional portraitist who achieved the amazing human eye effects on Madame Tutli-Putli and the other characters, has posted some neat images of the process on his site -

-Andrew Liebau-

Darkstrider said...

Hey Justin - Yeah, I wasn't trying to call them noobs or anything! ;)

I just meant it's their first pro film - I don't know how much they knew about stopmo going in, but I imagine they did some serious on-the-job training! And of course they were already awesome artists who seem to share a communal mind!

Thanks for the additional info Andrew!

And Shelley of course - thanks for the glowing appraisal! I hadn't thought of the eyes as creepy, but I can see it now.

Looking at the two pics I posted here, I'm really struck by the painterly way they handle composition and color. Everything is suffused with that soft parchment yellow color - it's in all the other colors, drawing them all together cohesively. Beautiful!

Shelley Noble said...

Woo. Great link about Jason's technique there, Andrew!

M, fyiski, I wouldn't want to insult the brilliant Clyde Henry's by calling their masterpiece creepy exactly... more... disquieting? I don't think they wanted to be anything in the creep family, prolly striving hard to get more emotion out of the pupps, right.

Remember too our guy in Israel, Adam Bizanski, used photos of he and his girlfriend's eyes for the genius (my fav of all time stop mo) paper cow video for the Shins ( albeit with a crude analog solution. I have to say, I find Adam's more primitive style to be completely fulfilling on it's own.

But I also completely agree with your description of the CH's artistry! Gorgeous gorgeous!

Hard to do my thing when this level of work is being done. shrug.

Shelley Noble said...

Did you see this little interview with Jason about the eyes deal?

Andrew Liebau said...

Regarding how much they knew about stop-motion when starting this, here's a short clip the Clyde Henry studio made in 2000 using stop-motion.

Darkstrider said...

Wow Andrew!!! Excellent find!!!

Strange mix of extreme sophistication with crudity - both in aesthetic and animation technique. The attention to detail is definitely there, but it's really aggressively grungy and visually confusing. Reminds me very strongly in fact of the early films by Suzie Templeton. You can tell they were already powerful artists but new to animation itself. My how they've improved!

Darkstrider said...

And Shelley!!! Your interview post lead me to Laurie Maher's site: where you can watch her entire film "How Audley"! She sort of transforms herself into Chaplin and Audrey Hepburn and does a good imitation of Buster from Race the Wind.....

She's got a fascinating quality about her - a suitable inspiration/muse for Tutli-Putli.

Darkstrider said...

Next awesome find for tonight -

You can see some of their collages and a few rather breathtaking films, most of which seem to use stopmotion. (I say seem because it's hard to tell at times).