Silhouette against the Stars

ID-1009962Ridley: So, for those of you who were knocking around here this time last year, you know we created a stop motion silhouette trailer for our book, Legend Unleashed.

Now I don’t know where the year has gone (it seems to have flown by on turbo wings), but we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck into creating another video for book 2, which will be the sequel to Legend Unleashed. Hopefully this time around we’re a little older and wiser, and better able to not get accidentally stabbed by the Stanley knife, meaning we won’t repeat old mistakes, but we reserve the right to make new ones! So, as part of my “research” (read, procrastination) I decided to look up some of the latest (and some classics) of stop motion silhouettes and I said I’d share some of them here. 

An absolute classic here from Lotte Reiniger, who was basically a founder of this style really. This was made in 1922, making something like this for that time, it must have blown away audiences. Look at the intricate, detailed work on the various ‘sets’ and characters, the fact he was able to easily portray a feather in a cap, or a sweeping dress in this medium is very impressive.


This I like as it’s quite quirky. I loved the addition of the colours in the girl’s hair and dress, and the bell style with the design in the middle of the skirt is just lovely. Also, the transitions between the different scenes, say where she’s floating up to the guy in the hot air balloon, were really well done.


The style in this is really different to anything I would have tried in the past, there’s way more colour in it for a start. I loved the changing background of the different newspapers, it does have me wondering how it was done as that was impressive, and the moon rising up was beautiful!


Another very different style, but still really pretty and some fantastic skilled work gone into its creation. Plus I quite like the song!


Here’s a music video, I think it was stop motion, though it looks so perfectly done, I’m sure there was some computer polishing at some point. The vibrant colours in this are just fantastic in it though, wish I could make something like this. Reach for the stars, eh? 🙂


Now technically this one doesn’t count, as it’s all done on computer and there’s not actually any stop motion involved, just the silhouettes, but it’s so beautifully done I just had to include it!


Lastly, here’s one of my favourite silhouette illustrators, Jan Pienkowski, his art is just so amazing.spread01_w400

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Book Trailer Unleashed!

Ridley and Latimer have been turned into chibis! Ridley: I only need one eye, like Sauron… Latimer: Takoyaki (octopus balls) anyone? No.. I didn’t think so.

Well, the book trailer is done! Here it is, as we promised! It’s all our own work (animation and art).

Hope you like it!

Product description of Legend Unleashed
When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…
Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life. Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.
After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.
They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.
However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.
Even Alastair may be more than he seems…

Ridley: It’s a stop motion animation with black silhouettes, kind of in the style of Lotte Reigner. Here’s some of the pictures below that I took while making it- and when I remembered to take them!

From drawing rough sketches of the different scenes and characters.

From cutting out the silhouettes.

From recording the animation.

The animation was carried out in my garage room (as you can see from the clutter! Go look back at the picture of the camcorder, do you see the empty Tayto box from many Christmases ago? Told you we love crisps in Ireland-see the post Irishisms, if you’re now going ‘Huh?’) Despite the chaos, this was the darkest place in the house, so the best room for animation creating! In a way, I made the light box. It’s a long frosted glass table that I got second hand (at an excellent price) and I went to Woodies (local hardware shop) to buy a light, which I placed underneath the table. It beat paying a 100 euro plus for an official A4 light box. The tripod and the camcorder aren’t mine, they were borrowed!

Latimer: At this point, please imagine me texting, and viber messaging Ridley, saying ‘how’s it going? yeah, yeah? Harder, monkey! Work harder!’, sipping my tea, crackin’ the whip. Editing on the side 🙂 (as Ridley bled real blood, I bled metaphorical editing blood).

Ridley: I recorded the frames of the animation with the programme ‘I Can Animate’, then I used Windows Movie Maker to gather the clips and create the video. Audacity was a programme I used for the music and sound effects. It’s fantastic to use, quite simple once you learn the ropes.

Latimer: I wish I could have strapped a camera to Ridley’s head while she did all of this. Because I would have loved to hear the, ‘oh dear god, noooo! what happened?’ moments. Next time, I will- I’ll document it!

Ridley: Latimer and I collaborated on it all (Latimer: she’s being nice, the animation is Ridley’s brain-baby- I was a sound-board for the story-board, music and descriptions- but really props to Ridley for this!), deciding on what worked in the animation once it was recorded, the font used on the slides and the type of music we needed to create the right ‘feel’ for the trailer.

For the parts like the chains behind the clock and blood drops, I used Deleter screen, which is used all the time by manga artists. The paper has grey tones and designs, which can be cut out and stuck onto your picture. It’s great stuff. I bought it with the trailer in mind when we were in Tokyo after we found one of the best art shops there, Sekadio in Shinjuku (Latimer: working holiday, the only way to holiday! Haha!).

 We were in heaven, except for the fact it was packed and all the aisles were really narrow! And I am a browser, I wander the aisles, which you couldn’t really do there! (Latimer: yeah, poor shop design really too narrow! and claustrophobic!)

Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time making this. It’s my first ever video, though I’ve always had a love for animation, second only to writing! Most of my favourite movies are animated. Aardman, Pixar, Blue Sky Studio, Dreamworks-I love all their stuff. In Ireland, we’ve Brown Bag films,  Boulder Media and Cartoon Saloon to name but a few of the companies here, all of which are making waves in the animation industry!

So as you can see, I relished the chance to create this trailer and join my two great loves, writing and animation. I just really hope people like it!