Stop-motion animation in which puppet figures move frame by frame is known as puppet animation. Animators will typically create a physical three-dimensional scene, similar to a small theatre, in which the action will take place.
Puppets are typically outfitted with an armature (a flexible skeleton) that allows them to be smoothly positioned and animated. This also prevents the puppet from moving and keeps it stable while the animator photographs a frame of the scene.
The following are some fascinating facts about puppet animation:
The first puppet animation film in history was created by a Russian ballet choreographer:
Puppet animation debuted around the turn of the twentieth century. In 1906, the ballet master at Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, Aleksandr Shiryaev, created the world's first puppet animation film, with figures dancing in ballet steps against a still background of theatrical decorations.
The first narrative-based puppet animation film depicted an insect battle:
Stanislav Staryevich, a brilliant cinematographer, artist, and director, is also credited with the invention of puppet animation. He published "The Beautiful Leukanida," also known as "The War Between the Antennas and the Horns," in 1912. Staryevich's stop-motion film featured dead beetles, dragonflies, and grasshoppers, giving rise to the widespread belief that he was a skilled insect trainer rather than an animator.
The world's largest puppet animation film required 1,500 handmade puppets:
Between 1927 and 1939, Aleksandr Ptushko experimented with filmmaking, directing, and cinematographing a number of feature films. The feature "The New Gulliver," a successful hybrid of animation and live-action filming, was the pinnacle of his career. Few films in history have had such an impact on animation. For the shoot, over 1,500 puppets were used.
Soyuzmultfilm features a wide range of puppet animation and claymation styles:
Experimentation is encouraged by a figure's personality, speed, and rhythm of movement. Soyuzmultfilm's animation teams have been inspired to seek new ways to perfect their art through technology, form, material, texture, volume, plot, dialogue, music, acting ability, and a variety of other factors for nearly a century.
A full day of shooting yields approximately five seconds of material:
An animated film requires approximately 24 frames to be shot for every second of movement, which is equivalent to, say, the sweep of a puppet's hand. Furthermore, this only refers to the actual shooting, not the planning. A one-minute animation takes about six months to complete. A typical day for an animator consists of filming five seconds.
Soyuzmultfilm's most recent puppet-animation feature took 17 years to complete:
The film "Hoffmaniada" (directed by Stanislav Sokolov) is based on the works of Ernst Theodore Hoffmann, a German Romantic author. Each of the film's 100 puppets took a month and a half to create.
The final episode features the largest "crowd scene" in Russian puppet animation history, with 42 puppets moving at the same time. "Hoffmaniada" was shot intermittently between 2001 and 2018.