ParaNorman is a film to be released tonight, a zombie flick that’s fun for the whole family. Its not just another 3D computer animated film – its entirely stop-motion. Portland-based LAIKA studios, which brought you Coraline a few years previous, uses a 3D System ZPrinter individually manufacture every single head for every single character. All 32,000 heads cover the whole gamut of smirks, smiles, frowns and frustrations. And of course, lots of screaming. (It IS a Zombie flick).
LAIKA’s Creative Supervisor of Replacement Animation and Engineering Brian McLean (I call him, the Headman) has this to say,
ParaNorman is an enduring and emotional story that is driven by strong characters and exquisite designs. In order for us to give the characters the facial expressions and emotional range needed to support such a wonderful story, we needed to try something unprecedented. By using a color 3D printer we were not only able to push facial performance to new levels, but we were also able to achieve a level of detail and subtlety in characters face that a few short years ago would seemed impossible. This technology, combined with a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication from talented artists and technicians, has created something truly unique and beautiful.
If you liked the trailer for ParaNorman, check out this commerical made by LAIKA and directed by Wes Anderson where an 8-year old talks about how he thinks telecommunications work. You know, I thought the same idea too.