Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stop Motion Animation

For the last year I had the most contact with stop motion animation that I ever had in my entire life. Obviously this is due to my boyfriend Jacek, who is very much into stop-frame and directs and shoots his own animations.

This year he has completed two and a half films - "A.R.T." that can be watched here,"Not Growing Up" of which shooting is still in progress and "Once Upon the Time" which was a 1,5 min intro of my Baika Dolls and can be watched (link soon)

Sneaky shot from "Not Growing Up" scenery planning

However the final pieces do not show how much effort is involved in making a stop motion animation. As I had a chance to see everything behind the scenes and I must admit that this is a hard work including a lot of forward thinking and planing.
Jacek is registering his process on his blog:

Interesting thing about stop-motion animation is that it is very traditional and sort of 'old school' of making films, but it is still very popular and appeals greatly to both adults and children, despite all the 3D computer graphics available. In the beginning I considered stop-frame films as a niche but as I'm more into them, I started to notice how stop-motion studios are around and how widely is the method used.
For example today I have found Raspberry Film studio that has very impressive site with nice graphics and lovely raspberry colour theme. Their animations are interesting when it comes to models and scenery, but I the stories could have made more sense.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trzymyszy - cardboard toys

And again I find myself sighing about a toy design...

Trzymyszy (from polish: three mice) is a designer duo that is designing and producing cardboard toys for children. Inspired by their own kids, two graduates of  Warsaw Art Academy decided to make DIY houses and planes from card that can be build and painted by children according to their own taste.
I believe this is a great idea which encourages kids to make their own toys. Besides, how many times did the packaging box become more entertaining toy than the actual content.

house and its creators

pilot and his aeroplane

this clock looks amazing - I wonder if the gears turn - how cool would that be if it was actually working

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Irrational toys

Something I really appreciate about childhood is its irrationality - kids perceive the world according to what they see and experience. The rest is dictated by their imagination often stimulated by stories, tales and legends they hear or watch. As adults I don't think we can fully understand and appreciate the beauty of this imaginative and irrational thinking. Therefore I really value toys that are produced to satisfy children's abstract rationale.

One example of a irrational toy I have seen recently on and it's called Echo. It is a soft creature without face but with a big ears and a peculiar wooden trumpet instead of mouth. The ears are connected to the trumpet using the string-phone fashion so Echo responds when a child is whispering some secrets into its ear.

It was created by Emi Schenkelbach.

via Yankodesign

Another really nice design which stayed in my memory since I have first seen in in Mint Design shop in London a year ago. It is called Buba and it was produced by Alon Meron.

Buba is a guardian against dark matter and its magical power comes from children's fallen milk teeth. I think this is a beautiful story. And here again  Buba doesn't have face - he has two rows of sharp teeth that scare the ghosts and monsters of the night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cyberdog shop at Camden

Although I have been living in London for almost a month I don't really have time to explore it properly. So whenever I actually manage to go somewhere, I find those amazing, unique places I never expect to see.

This Saturday for instance, I went for a walk at the Camden market. The market itself, that spreads within the walls of the old stables makes a real impression - especially on the busy day like Saturday. But the highlight of the day was my visit to Cyberdog shop that occupies on of the humble old stable buildings. From outside it looks just like another shop but entering inside is like entering another world - something between Startrek space-shuttle and techno-love-parade. It is all lighten up by UV lights and full of cosmic clothing, glowy-robotic accessories that are presented on shiny-robot-mannequins that have LEDs which flash following the rhythm if loud electronic music. All the staff and dancers (yes!) are wearing abstract looking outfits and have coloured hair. Also the 3 stories underground interior is matching the space style entirely. And although I am not a fan of techno-music and science fiction movies I really enjoyed exploring the store and even trying on some peculiar outfits. It was a holistic cultural (shopping) experience that I must admit impressed me a lot.

I am in two minds actually, as on the one hand I know it is all commerce and the fact that Cyberdog is almost an amusement park/discotheque is purely to make more sales, but on the other is it really bad? It has presented me a culture - a world that is completely alien to me without being brazen or pushy. And as an aware consumer who digested Naomi Klein's 'No Logo' I still justify it.