From the Wikipedia: Stop-motion animation

Today’s From the Wikipedia entry is dedicated to A.J., the reader who yesterday provided a suitable mascot for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

A.J., it turns out, does not just traffic in still images, but also in Web video, which you should check out at his YouTube page.

From the Wikipedia: Stop-motion animation

This filmmaking technique is somewhat self-explanatory. A filmmaker manipulates an on-screen object between frames, creating the illusion of motion.

The most commonly recognized form of stop-motion animation is claymation, the familiar realm of Gumby and the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But the technique is nearly as old as film itself and was first employed by pioneers like J. Stuart Blackton and Georges Méliès around the turn of the 20th century.

More recent stop-motion animators include Tool guitarist Adam Jones, who normally includes elements of stop motion in his band’s videos, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who initially crafted that show’s characters out of construction paper for a video Christmas card.

Many have suggested that computer graphics render stop motion obsolete, because they allow for smoother and more realistic animation. But realism does not always trump style, and more likely, stop-motion artists will merely be challenged to re-envision their medium, much in the way portrait and landscape artists were at the advent of photography.

My former roommate Mike Carlo, himself a talented 2-D animator, often pointed out that with every new form comes concern among artists that old ones will vanish, yet somehow they never really do. Technologies may develop to make a medium inefficient, but unless they can perfectly mimic that medium’s aesthetic, they will never replace it.

So though stop-motion animation may be something of a dinosaur, it is unlikely to go entirely extinct, and for that we should be thankful. Because no matter how stunning we may find Shrek or The Incredibles, this will always look cool:

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