Some time ago I spent two busy weeks in Finland, supporting my good friend and fellow designer Suvi-Tuuli Junttila with this stop motion project. In a short time of extremely concentrated work and sleepless nights we created two stop motion animations to promote Suvi’s work as an author and illustrator of children’s books.
With no previous experience in the stop motion technique, we learned a lot during this intensive time. The animations have finally been completely edited and sound was added by Maura Korhonen. Both animations are based on a book Suvi is working on. Watch the animations below.
Acorn's adventures I & II
Acorn’s adventures – Part I
Two friends joyfully stroll through the foliage.
Acorn’s adventures – Part II
The two friends playfully move through the soft moss.
Setting up the scenes
Planning and setting up the scenes requested a lot of thinking ahead. Every detail needed to be perfect for the final photo shooting. That is why we tested out each step and detail in advance.
For the first part of the animation we ended up shooting through a backlit glass plate to create the shadow play of the scene.
All actors were professionally casted to find the right fit.
A night of miniature movements
After setting up the background we had to shoot through the night. Otherwise the leaves would have withered and moved. This would have made it impossible to keep the background steady. Millimeter by millimeter we patiently moved our two actors through the screen.
You can watch a making of video of this part below!
Setting up the mossy scene
Different kinds of moss and branches were casted. We harvested the moss on a hill in Helsinki. After the shooting it was planted in a garden so it could live on.
A working space in the dark
While summer was thriving outside, we had to keep the room completely dark during set up and the shootings to keep the light atmosphere consistent. Being able to sit down during the shooting of the second scene was a huge improvement!
In order to reduce the amount of retouching, we had to make sure that none of the elements would move during the 12 hours of shooting – including the position of our feet, as the floor in our studio was not stable.
Placing the characters in 3D
While we moved our characters in 2D for the first scene, we switched to 3D for this one. This brought along the new challenge of carefully placing the actors in the right spot for each picture. We used the live view of dragonframe as a guiding help.
Stop motion – a technique for the patient
Animating non-digitally is no walk in the park
Watch this video to learn about the challenges of animating the movements without digital help.