Multi-Disciplinary Animation Director Uses 3D Printing to Make Stop-Motion Autobiography, an Homage to Time Wasted on Digital Loading Screens

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[All Images: Raphael Vangelis]

I volunteer with the youth program at my church, and also with a community theatre across the street from church. For both of these volunteer gigs, I occasionally put together short videos, announcing our next play or telling the kids about an upcoming program or event. I shoot the clips with my iPhone, upload them to our laptop, and piece everything together in iMovie, adding title and credit screens and using whatever music is already in the program. It usually takes me a few hours to make a three to five minute video, and then I post it to the theatre’s Facebook page or send it to my youth pastor so she can get it to the kids. I enjoy doing it, and it’s not especially difficult, but when I’m finished with a video, I’m usually pretty glad to say goodbye to it. So I have the utmost respect for people who have the patience to work in stop-motion animation…those projects can take months, or even years, and here I am, ready to be done after just a few hours of cutting together video clips. A really cool trend we’ve seen over the last few years is stop-motion paired with 3D printing.

rafael-vangelis-and-3d-printed-stop-motion-pieces

The 3D printed creations for “Analogue Loaders”

3D printing technology has been used in award-winning stop-motion films like Kubo and the Two Strings and The Boxtrolls, in various commercials, music videos, and lots of really cool short films, like “SHeLvEd” and “Caveman and Robots.” London-based independent director Raphael Vangelis specializes in multi-disciplinary animation projects, like short films and music videos, that are driven by design. He works with several different mediums, from live action to 3D animation and stop-motion, and often combines them to best fit whatever story he’s currently working on. According to his website, he would call his style “Stop Motion graphics and Graphic Design infused 3D animation”.

His latest work is a two-minute video brought to life thanks to 3D printing. It’s a stop-motion animated autobiography and homage to time lost in digital limbo on program loading screens, called “Analogue Loaders,” and was recently chosen as one of Vimeo’s staff picks.

https://vimeo.com/raphaelvangelis/httpsvimeocomloaders

It took Vangelis about one and a half years to make the film, which he calls “the pinnacle of narcissism, essentially my animated autobiography, my new and definitely best short film so far, featuring … myself.”

“I tend to use quite slow computers because I am too lazy to upgrade them,” said Vangelis in his “Behind the Scenes” video. “So I noticed that I look at loading screens quite a lot in my daily life. At some point I just thought, why not actually use these loading screens and make an animation out of it, make something fun out of it, because looking at loading screens isn’t very fun, but everybody does it.”

rafael-vangelis-programs-for-stop-motionVangelis, who often explores the boundaries between the digital world and the physical one, wanted to take well-known digital symbols and turn them on their heads, by making them into something more analog and playful. All of the little scenes in his video are based on programs that he actually uses, like Adobe, Flickr, Spotify, Google Chrome, and yes, even Vimeo. But he transformed all of these recognizable programs and made them into his own versions, because he didn’t want it just to be a video where he was promoting, or sponsoring, different companies. For example, his personal take on Twitter is the Newton’s cradle physics experiment, but instead of using the normal five silver balls, he turned them into bird eggs, and one breaks at the end, symbolizing a failed Tweet.

Vengalis's take on Facebook

Vangelis’s take on Facebook

According to a Gizmodo article about “Analogue Loaders”, Vangelis purchased a 3D printer and taught himself to use it. He designed all of the separate pieces in 3D on the computer first, and then printed the pieces, painted all of them, built the different sets, and animated everything in stop-motion, except, of course, his brief, naked cameo near the end.

rafael-3d-printing“I wanted to make something tangible, so I used a lot of different materials,” said Vangelis. “In the beginning, I didn’t think I would actually put myself into it, though. But then I thought, this is essentially about me looking at loading screens, so let’s put myself in.”

Vangelis takes a completely hands-on approach for all of his projects, completely immersing himself in the work, from concept all the way to post-production. It’s pretty obvious to determine the deeper reasoning behind using the extremely slow process of stop-motion as a tribute to familiar loading icons, and he definitely sees the humor in it.

“I wanted to start making something fun out of something boring,” he said. “But now it feels like I looked at loading screens even more, so it’s quite ironic.”

To learn more about the process behind “Analogue Loaders,” check out the “Behind the Scenes” video for it, made by phaded:

Discuss in the Stop Motion forum at 3DPB.com.

[Sources: Raphael Vangelis, Gizmodo / Images: Raphael Vangelis]

 

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