Stop Motion Project Part 1: Research

For this assignment, I chose Ray Harryhausen. I have watched animated sequences from films he did. I watched Mighty Joe Young (1949), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and Clash of the Titans (1981). At the time that all these were made, special effects were no where near as advanced as they are today. Back then they would either have to build a costly full scale replica of whatever was being shot. Traditional animation couldn’t get the job done too because it was time consuming and wouldn’t look like a real physical thing in front of the camera. At the time, Stop motion animation was used to give the illusion that something was there.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-2-56-40-pmIn Jason and the Argonauts, stop motion animation and live action was combined to give the illusion that these skeleton figures were fighting with the humans.  Stop motion was chosen because it would bring the skeletons to life in a believable manor. Costumes wouldn’t work with this without looking fake.


In Clash of the Titans, the pegasus is flying across the sky. This had to be achieved through stop motion animation. If this were in live action it would of filmed on a green screen making it look less believable. In stop motion, the whole scene can be made out easily and is clearer for the audience.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-2-47-19-pmThe Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was animated in stop motion to help give the creature the illusion that it was giant. It was animated at a low shot to also add to the creature’s size.screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-3-14-39-pm

In this scene, the creature is being shot at. It’s animated with the creature’s reaction in mind. The point being to make the audience believe what they are seeing is an animal on screen and not just some stop motion puppet.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-3-23-10-pmThis is a scene from Mighty Joe Young. He is animated reacting to the audience throwing stuff at him. There is so much attention to detail in his movement and facial reactions. If this were in live action, a person in an ape suit would have been used. It would look fake compared to this and would not be able to get nearly as much expression out of it.


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