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I totally agree about stop-motion. I think it's an awesome an underrated medium, and there's something about it CGI just can't match.

I especially like the works of Jan Svankmajer, some of which are up on youtube.

This one for example

Well, I think the work of Pixar is equal to any form of animation. The beauty of Wall*E's Earth scenes, or the design of Paris in Ratatouille, are stunning.

However, I'm a fan of stop motion myself but would like to remind Michael of the Wallace and Gromit films, which have been successful for years and are made with stop motion. It's the characters people invest in, not neccessarily the mode of animation.

I agree. The "man in a suit" stuff can also be pretty convincing. No CGI will ever top "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" or "The Predator" in my book.

"would like to remind Michael of the Wallace and Gromit films"

I enjoy Aardman's work very much, though I liked the Wallace and Gromit shorts better than the W & G feature film. I also liked "Chicken Run" a lot.

Puppet films are still pretty popular - perhaps more popular than ever - but stop-motion as a special effects technique is pretty much done. I think that's unfortunate, since stop-motion enhanced with digital effects could be amazing.

Michael: what a wonderful surprise to hear about your visual side, particularly as you profess your enthusiasm for the art of Ray Harryhausen. I, too, was enthralled by his work, so distinctive and characteristic, along with that of his mentor, Willis O'Brien. For many years I liked to imagine what a marvelous conversation could ensue seated at a table with Harryhausen & his friends, Ray Bradbury and the late (great) Ackermonster, Dr Acula, Forrest J.. We also agree that stop motion animation is a distinctive artform with distinctive possibilities, an art I hope will continue. My own personal Harryhausen fave is "Jason and the Argonauts", though only by a small margin. I'll be checking out your new site. Along with seconding Sam's recommendation, let me add the Brothers Quay (look for "Street of Crocodiles") to the list, presenting stop motion animation with some captivatingly haunting visuals (while I'm at it: "Morgenrot" by Jeff Desom, music by Hauschka). Intriguing non-sequiturs for the optic nerve input. I recall back when Tom Hanks presented Ray Harryhausen with his lifetime achievement Oscar and how he gushed gleefully about the impact Harryhausen's work had on his childhood. I think we, like countless others, could have given a similar testimonial.

Actually, Michael, it's assuring to see that there's more to *you* than death. I tend to see you as a sharp, solid and sane intellectual (relax, I have you up on a nice foot ladder, not a pedestal). Your insights are engaging, and often quite compelling.
However, it's always nice to see your other facets of interest. Near death experiences, PSI, etc... can be very interesting and uplifting, but an overwrought obsession with them can be dreary at best, and lunatic fringe at the worst.

"However, it's always nice to see your other facets of interest."

I used to blog on a much wider range of topics, but I found that the afterlife stuff was what got the most reaction, so over the years I've gravitated toward that. (My political posts have also garnered reactions, but usually unfavorable ones!)

I'm waiting to see how this series of postings gets twisted around into a discussion of reincarnation.

It just occurred to me. It's obvious: reanimation!

This is just awesome Michael! I read all of your blogs here(for the last year or so anyway) but had no idea you were a sculptor! I used to make life sized posable animals, on my website if you click the cougar pic, it shows him in stages. I am always fascinated by the process! Thanks for sharing.

Very nice work, Donna. Chauncey Cougar is impresssive (though I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley). I love the walking stick, too. Great detail.

Thanks for looking! I tend to change hobbies every few years, but sculpture is my favorite thing.

Too bad we weren't friends as kids. I would have loved joining you in animating your creations.

When I was in high school, I did some object animation and I enjoyed the challenge of figuring things out. I even enjoyed the solitude of the work. It would have been great to find someone who shared my enthusiasm.

I'm not mechanically or artistically inclined, so I would have left it to you to built the models. But I would have gladly spent hours with you animating it or creating scenarios for battle.

Your final animation was the best. The rear leg had the illusion of massive weight because of the way the skin and muscle moved around the joint.

Good job!

Thank you, Steggy Saurus. I myself was surprised to see the muscles of the rear leg move so convincingly. It may have been a lucky accident.

"No CGI will ever top The Creature From The Black Lagoon or The Predator in my book."

This comment inspired me to rent "Predator," a movie I only dimly remembered. It's a lot of fun, especially in the second half. Great creature design by the late Stan Winston, a master of that kind of thing.

Maybe I should rent "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" next ...

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