Interesting Tidbits from the Director’s Commentary for “Kubo and the Two Strings”

1. Kubo’s eye is indeed missing. It’s gone.

2. The monkey netsuke is a family heirloom.

3. Sariatu is holding her power in reserve for the day she’ll have to protect Kubo. That’s why her health and mental state are continuously deteriorating. 

4. Kameyo is Kubo’s one friend in town. His one friend. 

5. Kubo’s hair is actual human hair combined with silicone.

6. Puppets sweat. The silicone’s oils seep out of the surface under the heat of the lights. They have to be patted down occasionally.

7. Kubo was born in the Beetle Clan Castle.

8. When the Moon King attacked Hanzo’s fortress, he was aided not only by the Sisters, but also by his own army.

9. The Moon Beast’s design is supposed to be evocative of the constellations in the sky.

10. Confirmed: The villagers do indeed love Kubo.

11. The little images that appear in the margins of the end credits are meant to make it feel as if Kubo’s story is an old myth.

12. “Kubo is meant to be something of an Orpheus figure – a boy gifted with divine music who could coax rocks and trees to dance with the beauty of his work.”

Homemade Special Effects

Today, we’re hoping to inspire a little animated fun! We’re using a neat animation method called ‘pixilation’, in which humans are used as stop-motion puppets, to get from Point A to Point B. So grab your tablet or your smart phone or your camera, and come make human stop-motion with us!

Why walk there when you could slide there? Just like in stop-motion animation, the puppet moves just a bit for every photo that’s taken. So: Step to your left, Photo, Repeat!

Here’s the oldest trick in the ‘Special Effects’ book! In George Méliès’ ‘A Trip to the Moon’ from 1902, he infamously turn the camera off, had the subject leave the screen, and turned the camera back on to continue the shot, thus creating cinema’s first disappearing act! So, remember that film is just a series of photographs, and that you, too, can teleport!

Fly there! This one also counts as a daily work out. Just like we did in the slide, except with a jump! And a very well timed cameraperson… So: Step to your left, Jump, Photo, Repeat! You’ll notice we did a few jumping photos in place at the beginning and end to really make the puppet look like she can fly.

Have fun with it! What do you have in your home that you can play with and add to the animation?

Our favorite part about animation is that truly everything is possible! So whatever kooky idea you have, you can make happen with just a little planning and the right tools. 

For more details on how we made these animations, be sure to watch Animation basics: Homemade special effects - TED-Ed

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Sainsbury’s Christmas Ad 2016

Tis the season for breadcrumb representation (not to be a humbug!). Maybe by 2020 a same gender couple will be the main star of one of these cute family-themed holiday ads!