Non-human Armatures, Understanding a Niche Design

If you look at most animations today you'll see a running theme; most, not all, armatures are based on a humanoid or a bipedal character. This has many factors, mainly down to story or the imagination of the creator, but there is also a subconscious decision too. humanoid designs are easier to understand because, basically, we are surrounded by them, we see them in the mirror everyday, observe them in the streets and even watch them on TV. The humanoid form in biology is one of the most complicated feats of bio-engineering and evolution, concurring issues like balance and controlled falling (walking). All of which have been mastered in ball and socket armatures and continues to improve with new technologies and techniques.

But what about the non humanoid designs, like the Quadrupeds, Theropods and Avian types?
When stop-motion armatures started to be developed more seriously in the early years of cinema, many of the effects were based on non-human characters, such as dinosaurs. On…

Primal... The best none dialog, prehistoric animated adventure that ticks all the right boxes!

"Primal" is a new short animated series from Genndy Tartakovsky (also known for Samurai Jack, Dexter's Lab and Hotel Transylvania). The series is a fantasy adventure set in a fictional prehistoric world where dinosaur and cavemen exist at the same time (so this is not for those who want a historically accurate depiction in the animation format) currently there are five 22 minute episodes released, with another five due out in 2020.

I'm focusing one the first episode "Spear and Fang" and looking at the camera work and use of lighting, as well as the main feature that caught my attention, no dialog!

Despite the story not having dialog, the most part of the story is told through body language, emotions and sound, artistic liberties are taken with the creatures, for example Fang the Tyrannosaurid, have anthropomorphic personality feeling more like kids in the playground reenacting a dinosaur fight more than a wildlife documentary.

Spear the caveman however, be…

2019 Early Man Exhibition, and a visit to Aardman Gromit!

In June 2019, I went to visit Bristol for the M-Shed "Early Man" exhibition, and whilst I was there I was invited by Merlin Crossingham to have a tour around the Aardman studio, I even took the half finished XT-Rex puppet with me to show Merlin and get some advice and pointers on it before I applied the skin.

Early Man Exhibition
The main reason for attending this exhibition was to take a close look at the armature designs and sets used for the natural environments, luckily they even had the Ray and Harry puppets on display, next to Ray Harryhausen's Ceratosaurus and Triceratops hard models.

When you first entered the exhibition, you saw the dinosaurs models on display. Nick Park was heavily inspired by Ray's work growing up and wanted to have the same feeling of awe and inspiration to other young budding animators as they walked into the exhibition. It certainly worked on me.

As you walked round the corner you found the forest set with all the cavemen puppets, it wa…