Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Coraline Bendy toys

I just saw Neil Gaiman's blog where he got the most awesomest, coolest Coraline Box of all... an actual Coraline animation puppet with cat!!!:

Ok, turns out this isn't actually one of the Coraline Mystery Boxes.... it's more a special gift for Neil as the author of the book from his friend Henry S. But it made me say $@#$!..... I WANT one of those!!!!

So a quick Google search turned this up:
Photobucket - Coraline Bendy toys

Coraline bendy toys!!! And look at what they're standing on.... makes them look like actual animation puppets. As if they have tie-downs. Hmmmm....

Well, I kind of doubt they really do though. That would just be TOO cool!! More likely these are pre-production pics of actual puppets, intended as a "suggestion" of what the actual toys will look like. I hope they don't suck... but these are made by NECA, known for some of the best toys in the industry. So I have high hopes.

I wonder how many of us big, manly animators are going to have these girly dolls standing around in our basements in January?? Playing dress-up with them? (they come with multiple outfits)

Weird, but they should be pretty animatable. And who knows.... they just MIGHT actually come with tie-downs already in the feet!!!

Ok, just found this -- apparently you actually get 3 different bendy toys, each with a different facial expression and different outfit and accessories. Kind of cool, but not as cool as interchangeable faces (and tie-downs!!).


Ok, Jeremy mentioned prototype bendy toys on Flickr, and here's what turned up:

Prototype Coralaine Bendy toy at ComicCon

This one has a selection of replacement faces -- we can keep our fingers crossed, but somehow I doubt the actual production version will have them. Seems like they would have mentioned it in the advertising on one of the sites I already linked to above.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cross your eyes

Here are the images again, only this time I photoshopped them to reverse the sides. Now you can view them using the (much easier) Crossed Eyes technique. This is something I can do even when the images are on the computer monitor. If you were unable to see the effect in the last post, chances are you can do it now. Here are detailed instructions on how. Also, click on each image to see a larger version.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

3D images from Coraline



These are the 3D images I got in my Coraline Box. They came with a nifty 3D viewer; sort of like an old-world Viewmaster, but you don't need it to see the effect. These are what's called Magic-Eye or Parallel-Viewing images. Take a look at This Site to learn how to do it. It's kind of tricky.... I can do the Crossed Eyes method a lot easier. In fact, I can't actually parallel-view these images here on the computer... I can do it if I hold one of the cards up in front of my face and look at something way past it, then slide the card up into my field of vision quickly. You might want to print these images out and cut them apart - cut each posted image into three separate strips horizontally. Don't want to make them too big... apparently the eye can only handle smallish images in parallel viewing. The cards I was sent are about 6 inches wide or so.

Thanks to Mysterious Ron for letting me know these actually AREN'T made for crossed-eye viewing, as I had originally posted!! Well, they kind-of work that way, but as he said in the comments, they 're reversed - what's supposed to be far away looks close and vise verse. Weird though - the stairwell image actually looks great that way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coraline Box #9 has surfaced!!!!

I got a freakin' CORALINE box.... do you HEAR me??!!??!?

This is amazing.... it feels like getting a Golden Ticket to get into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (the original one of course!)

This is by far one of the coolest marketing campaigns I've ever heard of.... and absolutely perfect for a stopmotion film where the props are small enough to easily be mailed. Why not? Instead of just chucking it all in the trash, send bits and pieces to people who will not only appreciate it, but blog about it and spread the viral love!!! Oh man... viral love... not even gonna go there.

So, with no further ado, here are the opening pics.









I love the old-fashioned tin and wood 3d viewer!!! No mirrors or anything, it's essentially the same kind of 3d images I posted on my blog back when I was all excited about 3d technology... you just have to learn to re-focus your eyes to see it. The viewer helps by framing things to block out everything beyond the border, and allowing you to slide the picture card backwards or forwards to get it in better focus and find your optimal viewing length. In a little while, when I'm past this rush of excitement and able to do things more coherently, I'll take some pics of the 3d images they sent... they should work on my blog.

But the most exciting thing for me is the Other Father arms.... I wonder if one is torn open deliberately to show the inner workings? It's wrapped-wire technology! The little tag next to the arms (which is lost in glare in the above pic) says O. Father Pumpkin Hands / Jointed / Wire / Silicon.... which I didn't understand until I looked very closely into that tantalizing tear in the wrist of the left arm. There's a tiny little ball-and-socket joint in there!! I guess that would help eliminate breakage at one of the high-stress areas. I can't believe I'm already thinking about this, but I know Im gonna have to slit that sucker open the rest of the way and take some detailed pics of its inner workings. The other arm is pristine. Heck... I think I'm gonna have to animate one of them too!

What an incredible treat this is!!! I've been all excited for the last few days, when I discovered I would be getting one of these (it's been extremely hard to keep my mouth shut, but it seemed prudent). It's made me into one of Coraline's 50 biggest fans.

Here's the text of the letter I was sent:

Since ancient times, strangers who work on feature films have sent strangers with great websites mysterious gifts in the hope that they can connect over a mutual interest and come to love each other. Some people think that recieving random gifts from strangers in the mail is illicit. Not when the gifts are awesome, right?

Inside this old box is a one-of-a-kind collection we've amassed and catalogued with you and you alone in mind.

Why? We at Laika are nearing completion of Coraline, our first full-length animated film. For the last three years, 351 of the world's oddest and most talented animators, artisans, and puppet fabricators have been hand-making one movie. Led by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, this team has created the first stop-motion feature shot in 3D. Based on the beloved best-selling children's classic by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a fairy-tale nightmare steeped in classic storytelling, craftsmanship, and the old-fashioned art of moviemaking magic. That means everything is handmade. Every leaf, drawer pull, and roast turkey. Even the rusty shower water.

The plain truth of the matter is, we are pretty obsessed with stop-motion. Like you. That's why we admire Darkmatter. It's artistic. It's wise. It's got an unconventional POV and you've got a voice worth hearing. Henry likes to say the magic of stop-motion is, it is a live performance. "You start someplace and know where you want to end but you can't say exactly how you'll get there." Please keep up the super work. We'll be reading.

Coraline is coming out this february. If we have guessed correctly that you are a curious person with access to the internet, perhaps you'll look for more cool things about this film. This is not a secret we hope you won't want to share. And so, we say thank you for your time. Enjoy, and hello.

The Coraline Team

Building movies by hand in Portland, Oregon
(983 miles from Hollywood)


I couldn't stop myself... I cut open the torn arm!!! It's pretty amazing all the technology I found in there... cloth and thread all wrapped tightly around wire, bound together with flexible adhesive, and that incredibly tiny balljoint, plus a tie-down in the hand.... Hey, why not have a look: Dissecting Father's Arm on Flickr.


Wow... this just in from Jeremy's Do Something Constructive blog - there's a new password for the website that unlocks all the previous movies plus a few more! Try OTHERWORLD. Word.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 -- and Do Something Constructive

I just discovered an incredible blog called StoryFanatic.Com, where the author expounds on the differences between a STORY and a TALE. I quote:

A Story is an Argument

There is a significant difference between stories and tales. A tale is merely a statement; a linear progression from one event to the next culminating in one singular outcome. It can be thrown out immediately and disregarded as a one-time occurrence primarily because it has relatively little to stand on. A story, however, offers much more to an audience member.

Apparently his ideas come from a source called Dramatica, which I have yet to investigate. But go to the blog.... see for yourself... he says it much better than I can. Looks like an exciting find for sure!

I've added the link under Blogs (Other) in my sidebar, and also a link to my friend Jeremy Spake's blog Do Something Constructive. Jeremy just came off a stint working on Coraline and now he has plenty of time for blogging, so check it out.


Ok, I looked into it a bit, and I see Dramatica is a sort of cut-and-paste system of creating a story.... decide which type of Character each one is from the official Dramatica list, plug them in alongside your allowed Dramatica themes and plot devices, trace a few lines from box to box, and get your Resolution. Well, not quite that simple, but it definitely sounds like a plug-in system. Could definitely be useful in helping find new ways to break down character and story, but I'd caution against wholeheartedly plunging in (plugging in?) to Dramatica. Though I do like the talk about the difference between a Tale and a Story.... as I have a great interest in Tales like those of Edgar Allen Poe and H P Lovecraft. A Tale is also a thing that can be told in short format, which would be a very challenging showcase for a really sophisticated Story.

I'll be reading this blog quite a bit though. Some really good stuff to be found there, even is Dramatica sounds suspiciously like the storytelling version of Scientology.....