The Father Of Stop-Motion Animation Shows Off His Pre-CG Movie Monsters

Jurassic Park was one of the last nails in the coffin for stop-motion animation — a special effects technique that had brought dinosaurs to the silver screen almost 50 years ago. But before the advent of computer graphics it was considered the cutting edge of visual effects, thanks to the work of a man named Ray Harryhausen who was a master at the technique.

In this interview dating back to 1974 — a time when stop-motion animation was still very much a popular technique in filmmaking — Harryhausen discusses some of his more infamous creations, including dinosaurs and the multi-headed hydra. It shows how sophisticated modern visual effects have become, but the clips of his creations in action are still surprisingly convincing. Even when you know that towering Allosaurus is only a 45cm tall rubber model in real life. [YouTube via BoingBoing via Dangerous Minds]


    Before CG, there was talent

      give me a break, CG is like any form of animation and is VERY difficult and requires a LOT of talent. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

        Animatronics and puppets win any day over CG
        CG lighting still doesn't come close to the way light bounces off a real object, nothing in Avatar looked 'real'

        Yes I know CG requires a lot of work, (I've done it), but the only CG that has really remained solid all these years are the night scenes in Jurassic Park and Lost World, and there's a reason why it still remains the best, almost two decades later

        The darkness in the night scenes covered up the rendering shortcomings
        They only needed about 100 or so shots in JP, while animatronics covered the rest. The average film requires computer generated/augmented shots in the hundreds to thousands range, so obviously the work suffers
        They had stop motion animation pros like phil tippet and dennis muren, who actually understood the meaning of weight distribution, the dinosaurs in jurassic park always felt like they actually occupied the screenspace, whereas a lot of CG looks hollow/weightless.

        A lot of CG looks really sterile, for example the new Simpsons episodes are computer generated and have none of the visual charm of seasons 1-8

        There was a higher standard of work during Ray Harryhausen's time, and that goes across the board for the arts, not just visual effects.

    ... and patience.

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