Athena Studios wanted to wish our friends and customers a happy holiday through stop-motion animation. We decided not to use a traditional scaled puppet or Claymation approach, however, and to instead use a person as our stop-motion puppet. We wanted to include some of the elements that make the holiday's special and used decorations and other objects that might be found around the holidays.
The concept was to create a box where the objects would be placed and then combined in a special way to make a holiday scene. Two identical boxes were used, one for putting the objects in and the other a special breakaway box with our final holiday scene. Artists at Athena decided to create the final holiday scene using paper cutouts and spent days creating presents, furniture, a small menorah, a tree and sleeping dog. All of the objects had to perfectly positioned in the scene so as to not collide when the box was closed.
holidays open card
Our animator worked with one of the artists, who became our hand model for the project. He posed her in the scene and she held perfectly still while he captured her movements frame-by-frame in DragonFrame stop-motion software. Some objects which were too large to fit into the box had to be removed from the scene, cut and then carefully placed back in the scene to not give away the gag.
Clean plate shots were shot for removing rigging and imperfections in the shots. Lights were used in the fireplace to simulate fire. Additional visual effects were added to the Christmas tree and fireplace to bring them to life. Music and sound effects were added to provide a true holiday touch.
This is a great example of how different mediums can be used for stop-motion.
animating scene
holidays collage