Brr, there’s a bit of a nip in the air of late and it’s that time of year where here at the studio we’re counting down the days until we can sip mulled wine and eat ourselves into a stupor. Last week we treated you to our shortlist of books for animators (one for Santa’s list we think), well by now most of you should be done with your shopping and getting ready to settle down for the festive period. So let’s crack on this week with something sure to get you feeling more Christmassy than Santa necking a pint of eggnog.
By Vincent Patar & Stéphane Aubier
Produced by Panique / Autour de Minuit / Beast Animation
This one is a real joy, it’s got that colourful, toy box come to life vibe of Toy Story with an energetic stop-motion style packed with endearing little gestures and poses. The story is based around Cowboy (a cowboy) and the somewhat inappropriately named Indian (a native American) who are preparing for Christmas with their friend Horse (a horse). Tragedy strikes this trio when, excited by the organisation of the coming festivities, they accidentally destroy Horse’s yule log! Horse becomes absolutely fuming and cancels their gifts from Santa that year. Cowboy and Indian then embark on a Christmas eve quest to atone for their grievous actions in an attempt to retrieve their gifts.
By Blue Zoo Animation
Blue Zoo are known for their personal projects which seem to scoop up a healthy helping of awards and nominations whenever they’re released. This one from last year is no different - a Christmassy parody of an animated musical which takes a sassy, disenchanted glance at what Christmas has become for most of us: a consumer holiday where we all spend far too much money and throw heaps of tat at each other. With a tight 3D style, memorable characters and outstanding musical talent on show from Ben Champion, this is a very inspiring little video with a cheeky ending to say the least!
By Sergey Yazvinsky
My God, who would have thought that the tale of a vacuum cleaner could be so touching? A hefty dose of the charm offered by Winter Tale is how clean and smooth the photographic stop-motion animation is. The scene where the vacuum is decorating the Christmas tree is a beautiful, evocative sequence and there’s even a narrative here too! Such a clever video, this is exactly what you hope to see from an independent animation: stylish animation, thoughtful sound direction and a succinct story to go with it. Although I want a domestic robot so bad right now, you don’t even know. Seriously, I’d take a roomba.
By Ambar Navarro
Music by Hyperbubble
One for the electronic music fans - here’s a fun music video which makes cracking use of claymation. The detail on the synthesiser models is really impressive! All the keys, switches and knobs look actually really close to the real thing. The running sequence in the middle is a great example of how to display action in claymation too, there’s a lot to admire here. You might not thank me for showing you this after you get the catchy tune rolling around your head for hours and hours afterwards. Yeah, sorry about that.
John Lewis are known for their festive ad campaigns - we’ve all had friends who look forward to them a little too much.... Nowadays, they have more of a run for their money on their hands from the likes of other retailers like Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Harrods and who are increasingly taking it upon themselves to challenge the once dominant John Lewis at the Christmas advert game. Nevertheless, The Bear & The Hare sticks out to us with its strong festive message and astonishing combination of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation with stop-frame model animation, creating something memorable and magical.
This is something a little different, more of an interactive tool with a somewhat skinny looking Santa who just doesn’t know when to stop. A sequence of simple 2D animations are on show here but it’s a cute, stylish and humorous bit of fun. The idea is that Santa is absolutely famished - who can blame him really, dashing around the planet in 24 hours is no mean feat. So It’s up to you to feed poor old St. Nick back up to his tubby self! Give it a go, you might just crack a smile.
By Picasso Pictures
A beautiful little animation, this. Any number of stills could be a lovely Christmas card in their own right, capturing the whites, greys and reds which are so evocative of this time of year.
I love the verticality achieved here which is cut through by a sudden, horizontal dynamism during the middle of the video as well as the relieving little surprise at the end guaranteed to make you feel at least a bit warm and fuzzy inside.
By Romain Loubersanes
You’ll probably remember the bonkers Volvo ad where Jean-Claude Van Damme performs the splits between two Volvo trucks, no? Fine, thank me later. Thoroughly inspired by this ad, Romain Loubersanes quickly knocked together this parody - Van Damme ain't got nothing on Santa! We love how Santa’s rotund belly sags between his reindeer during this athletic feat. They’re some hard workers that really deserve this rarely seen recognition. Make sure you leave out a carrot or two this year!
By earth design works
I leave you with one last video which tells one snowman’s journey to find the snow he needs to survive. It has has a twang of Alice in Wonderland about it, combining 2D animation with a smorgasbord of beautiful, fantastical character illustrations in a dream-like setting that will make your jaw drop. His stubby little legs are just so darn adorable too, my only sadness is that I want to buy him as a decoration but he can’t be found anywhere online. Anyone that’s good at knitting - hit me up!
That’s just about all for this week, I hope we’ve got you into the festive spirit! Just in case you’re still struggling at finding a gift for that special animator in your life, check out our ideas for gifts that animators will love from last year. Have a merry Christmas and you never know - there might just be a festive animation from Fudge too someday!