Aardman are one of the worlds number one animation companies, they produce a huge amount of animation that we all see on television and in films. The Aardman company have lots and lots of different job roles to make their productions successful. These include Animators, Assistant Animators, Storyboard Artists, Layout Artists and CGI Modellers.
Stop Motion Animators bring models or puppets to life, animating them one frame at a time to create a performance and provide the action outlined in the storyboard. They follow a brief from a Director, Animation Director/Supervisor or Studio Director, and may also refer to established characterisation developed by a Director or Key/Senior Animator.
Assistant Animators in stop motion animation support the Animators and help the work of the department to run smoothly. They must make sure that the models or puppets are on set, completely equipped, clean and ready to shoot. They need to ensure that the costumes, props and sets are correct and that continuity is maintained.
The storyboard artist’s job is to provide a visual representation prior to the filming of a feature film or television production. Taking the script or teleplay, the storyboard artist will interpret the objective, whether it is to tell an effective story or represent a product for sale, and deliver a storyboard: a collection of visual scenes which will show the director how he/she may be able to shoot the project
A layout artist collects and assembles type styles and images, such as illustrations, photographs and drawings, to create a visual design in a computer or on paper. The layout artist is one of several types of commercial artists known as graphic designers who deliver ideas and information through visual communications.
Modellers build three-dimensional computer models of everything that is needed for a CGI project. Further on in the process, Riggers will rig the models to enable them to be animated and Texture Artists will apply texture which will be further enhanced at the lighting stage when tone and depth are added.
How They are Made
Aardman animations are always from clay, or plasticine, and to animate with this takes a huge amount of patience. To create even a short 5 minute production with clay you would need to invest a huge amount of time, for example, their feature film Wallace and Gromit The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit which took a total of five years to make, including planning, filming and all editing. That is a huge amount of time for a film. They actually used a total of 300 man crew with the majority of those being animators, but some of them would create the body parts and others would assemble the sets and get ready to film. Obviously they would then take images with a camera while moving the objects ever so slightly and then to put them all together to create a moving image. As easy as it sounds it is actually an incredibly difficult task to do, and can be easily messed up by moving something wrong, or dropping something. It can be very temperamental and is one of the more stressful lines of work in the business.