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Mastering the Magic of Stop-Motion Animation: A Look into Laika Studios’ Films and Techniques

Laika Studios: A Look into the Masterful Creations and History of the Stop-Motion Animation Studio

Laika Studios has made a name for itself as a cinematic powerhouse in the world of stop-motion animation. Through its award-winning films like “Coraline,” “ParaNorman,” “The Boxtrolls,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” and “Missing Link,” Laika has established its reputation for producing visually stunning and emotionally resonant storytelling in an increasingly digital age.

In this article, we will explore the history of Laika Studios, its talented filmography, and its upcoming release, “Wildwood.”

Laika’s Films and Awards

Laika Studios has made an impressive lineup of critically acclaimed feature films since its debut in 2009 with “Coraline,” based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. The film tells the story of a young girl who discovers an alternate world filled with some uncanny beings who want her to stay with them forever.

“ParaNorman” followed in 2012, a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age story with zombies.

In 2014, Laika released “The Boxtrolls,” a fantasy-comedy feature based on Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters!” It tells the story of an orphan boy who grows up with a group of mischievous trolls.

The film has garnered two Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

With its 2016 release, “Kubo and the Two Strings” was a breakthrough for Laika and the epitome of the studio’s stop-motion animation prowess.

Directed by Travis Knight and starring Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, and Matthew McConaughey, the film follows a young boy on a quest to find his father’s magical armor suit while overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles. “Kubo and the Two Strings” also earned two Oscar nominations and won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Feature.

The studio’s latest movie, “Missing Link,” is an epic adventure-comedy featuring the charismatic voice talents of Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, and Zoe Saldana. In this film, a fearless adventurer named Sir Lionel Frost investigates a legendary creature called the Sasquatch.

“Missing Link” has received numerous nominations and awards, including Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globe Awards. Laika’s Upcoming Film: “Wildwood”

Laika’s next project is “Wildwood,” adapted from the novel by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis.

The filmmakers will team up once again with “Kubo” screenwriter Marc Haimes, and the story follows a young girl named Prue McKeel who must brave a magical forest to rescue her kidnapped baby brother with the help of a group of eccentric humans and animals. The film is a co-production between Annapurna Pictures and Laika, and it’s scheduled for release in 2022.

Laika’s History: Will Vinton to Laika Entertainment

Laika Studios has roots tracing back to Will Vinton Studios, which was known for its claymation commercials in the 70s and 80s. It introduced the world to the beloved characters like “The California Raisins,” among others.

In 1998, Nike Inc. acquired Will Vinton Studios, and its founder, Phil Knight, became involved with the studio, becoming an integral voice in the evolution of the studio.

After experiencing financial trouble, Vinton departed the company in 2002, and Phil Knight founded Laika Entertainment in his place. Laika would specialize in stop-motion animation, beginning with short features like “The Moaning Lisa,” a satirical look at “The Mona Lisa” painting, before eventually moving on to feature films like “Coraline” in 2009.

“The Corpse Bride”

In 2005, Tim Burton, an animation visionary, collaborated with Laika Studios in his production of “The Corpse Bride,” a stop-motion animation with an eerie, Gothic aesthetic. It’s a love story about a man named Victor who marries a corpse bride by accident and tries to rectify his mistake when he realizes his true love is elsewhere.

Warner Bros. produced the animation, and it was an international box office success.

Lauded by critics, “The Corpse Bride” showcased the potential of stop-motion animation in Burton’s distinct style. Laika’s Feature Films

Laika’s feature films offered a sense of profound magic in the storytelling process.

These movies stand out due to their unique voice, great characters, and fantastic artistic approach. One of the most apparent elements in Laika’s films is the use of puppets – miniature models that the animators manipulate by hand to create movements that mimic real-life motions.

Tadahiro Uesugi, in particular, stands out as Laika’s signature character designer, having worked on all the films to date.

In Conclusion

Laika Studios continues to push the boundaries of stop-motion animation by telling characters’ stories in the most imaginative and visually appealing way. Through the studio’s considerable talent and visionary leadership, it has solidified its place in contemporary film history by producing some of the most enchanting and innovative animated films of the 21st century.

Stop-Motion Animation Techniques: Laika’s Innovative Production Methods

Stop-motion animation has always been a popular technique for filmmakers looking to create a magical and immersive world. From “Coraline” to “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika Studios has pushed the boundaries of stop-motion animation, producing some of the most visually stunning films of the past decade.

In this article, we’ll delve further into the studio’s filmmaking process, looking at the techniques used to create its award-winning productions. Coraline’s Production

“Coraline” was Laika’s first feature-length film, based on Neil Gaiman’s work and directed by Henry Selick.

It follows Coraline Jones, a young girl who discovers a tunnel that leads to a parallel universe that eerily resembles her own life but more perfect in every way. The production of this stop-motion animation was an impressive feat, using a 3D system for shooting, making it the first stop-motion animated movie to be filmed in 3D.

The team utilized a 140,000-square-foot warehouse in Portland, Oregon, to construct miniature versions of Coraline’s Victorian mansion and a sprawling apple orchard. They handcrafted countless tiny objects, from furniture to plates, to give the characters smaller-detailed attributes.

The Mansion itself was built with many rooms and is the largest film set ever employed in stop-motion animated film. ParaNorman’s Production

“ParaNorman” was Laika’s second stop-motion animation release, directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell.

It follows Norman Babcock, a young boy who has the ability to communicate with ghosts, and his struggle to save his town from a curse brought about by a witch’s curse. Unlike “Coraline,” which was shot using a 3D system, “ParaNorman” was shot using Canon 5D Mark II cameras.

The characters and set pieces, too, were more extravagant and detailed. In making the characters, the Laika team used 3D-printing technologies, shaving off half of the time that it would typically take to create them.

The Boxtrolls’ Production

“The Boxtrolls” was Laika’s third stop-motion animation feature directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi. It tells the story of a young boy, Eggs, who must save his family of quirky creatures from the evil Archibald Snatcher.

With a 72-week production time, it’s one of Laika’s most extensive films yet. The production team employed 30 animators who worked meticulously to complete just four seconds of animation per week.

This production required 24 still frames per second; that’s 20,000 props and characters using recycled and reusable parts for an environmentally conscious alternative. Kubo and the Two Strings’ Production

“Kubo and the Two Strings” is Laika’s most ambitious film to date.

Directed by CEO Travis Knight and based on an original story by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, it tells the story of a young boy on a quest to find his father’s magical armor suit. The production was unique, with the use of a 16-foot monster and a 400-lb, wing-span equipped Beetle, both having flight simulators to capture realistic movements and the illusion of flying.

Laika’s Future

Laika Studios is always looking to improve and innovate further, including researching and incorporating computer animation into their stop-motion animated films. Stop-motion animated films are often troublesome to animate, with small objects required to move into position in tiny increments; this is where computer animation could be useful to speed up production times.

However, this poses a debate among animators and production members alike on whether to move entirely towards computer animation or continue handcrafting miniature puppets. Laika is always expanding into new territories, with “Wildwood’s” announcement, they will continue capturing stories that resonate with audiences while staying true to their roots in stop-motion animation.

In Conclusion

For nearly two decades, Laika Studios has been making fiercely independent animated films, which continue to wow audiences by blending mythology, themes, and characters, telling stories that have yet to be seen on the screen. They produce highly imaginative and technically accomplished productions through innovations, wherein its talented artists and technicians, explore the full capabilities of stop-motion animation.

Laika continues to push the animation industry forward by challenging the limitations of animation, and with new technologies being explored, we look forward to what Laika has coming. In conclusion, Laika Studios has made a significant and unique contribution to the world of animation with its visually stunning and emotionally resonant stop-motion animated films.

From “Coraline” to “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika has refined its innovative techniques, resulting in creations that are unlike anything else in the industry. Through this article, we’ve explored the history of the studio, its filmography, production techniques, and the future direction that Laika is taking.

Laika’s pursuit towards pushing the animated film industry forward is exciting, and the questions and answers below highlight key points covered in this article. FAQs:


What makes Laika Studios stand out from other animation studios? Laika’s use of stop-motion animation techniques sets it apart from other animation studios.

They have honed their skills and brought a unique perspective to the film-making process. 2.

What’s the most challenging part of stop-motion animation? The most challenging part of stop-motion animation is the amount of time required to complete a single shot.

Animators are required to move small objects into position in tiny increments that take hours and sometimes weeks to perfectly frame and capture. 3.

What is Laika Studios’ next release? Laika’s next animated film is “Wildwood,” an adaptation of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis’s novel of the same name, which tells the story of a young girl’s fantastical adventure in a magical world.

4. Is computer animation replacing stop-motion animation at Laika Studios?

Laika is researching and incorporating computer animation into their stop-motion animated films to speed up production times. There is a debate among animators and production members about whether they should move entirely toward computer animation or continue handcrafting miniature puppets.

5. What is unique about Laika’s production process?

Laika’s production process is unique in its attention to detail. Every prop, object, and character is crafted meticulously to create a magical and immersive world that feels alive.

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