Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mad Animation God Phil Tippett

Phil Tippett is a legend in the animation and special effects industry for his pioneering efforts related first to stop motion, later go-motion, and now mostly CG-effects.

Probably most famous for his work on The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Phil has forged quite a career with effects in films -- from Dragonslayer to Robocop to Willow. That all changed with Jurassic Park, however, when his initial stop motion tests were met with praise, but the new computer animation tests Steven Spielberg had seen convinced him and Phil to turn to computer generated effects for good. Tippett's team, however, still had a big hand in the film. Check out the pre-visualization for a raptor sequence in the film:

Another, from the infamous T-Rex encounter:

Phil has been posting these and other stop motion gems on his YouTube account recently. Its no wonder, then, that he's been making the rounds on the blogosphere for his renewed interest in starting up some stop motion projects again -- namely, his aborted 90s stop motion feature "MadGod" which he plans to turn into a short.

It looks like stunning, certainly, and I hope the story matches the visual splendor shown in the recently released trailer:

There's been talk that one of the reasons he's reentering the stop motion arena, other than the fact he loves it, is that now more than ever its easier to get it done. Phil got out of the stop motion game before digital frame grabbers became the norm. Now that everything is done on digital cameras with computers to aid in feedback, he can theoretically cut down on a lot of the guesswork and production time involved. Phil chose Dragon Stop Motion to work with. Its made by stop motion animators, for stop motion animators -- and besides my hands and the camera, its maybe the most important tool I use on a regular basis. The glue gun comes in a close fourth.

Phil on Dragon:

"DRAGON’s breadth and depth as a shooting package is really remarkable and is a tool that has allowed me to resurface doing the the kind of hands on work that got me into this fine mess to begin with."

I personally can't hope enough for the success for his new short. Maybe it'll lead to more in the future from Tippett and Co.

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