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  • Writer's pictureSean Cooper

How Puppet Animation Started In One Minute!!

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

How Puppet Animation Started In One Minute!!

Puppet animation is a type of stop-motion animation in which puppet figures move frame by frame. Typically, animators will create a physical three-dimensional scene, akin to a small theatre, in which the action will take place.

The puppets are usually equipped with an armature (flexible skeleton) that allows them to be smoothly positioned and animated. This also keeps the puppet from moving and allows it to remain stable when the animator is photographing a frame of the scene.

Here are some amazing facts about puppet animation:

A Russian ballet choreographer created the first puppet animation film in history:

Puppet animation first appeared at the turn of the 20th century. Aleksandr Shiryaev, the ballet master at Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, created the world's first puppet animation film in 1906, 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, an outstanding cinematographer, artist, and director, is also associated with the birth of puppet animation. In 1912, he released "The Beautiful Leukanida," also known as "The War Between the Antennas and the Horns." The performers in Staryevich's stop-motion film were dead beetles, dragonflies, and grasshoppers, giving rise to the widespread belief that he was an excellent insect trainer rather than an animated film director.

The biggest puppet animation film ever made required 1,500 handmade puppets:

The years between 1927 and 1939 were marked by the experimentation of Aleksandr Ptushko, who directed and cinematographed a number of feature films. The pinnacle of his work was the feature “The New Gulliver,” a hybrid of animation and live-action filming that was an international success. Few films in history have had such a profound influence on animation. Over 1,500 puppets were employed for the shoot.

Soyuzmultfilm is home to a variety of puppet animation and Claymation styles:

The personality, speed, and rhythm of a figure's movement all provide ample opportunity for experimentation. For nearly a century, animation teams at Soyuzmultfilm 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.

A full day of shooting produces on average five seconds of material:

An animated movie needs to have about 24 frames shot for every second of movement, which is equal to, say, the sweep of a puppet's hand. Additionally, this just refers to the actual shooting and not the planning. An animation that lasts one minute takes roughly six months to complete. An animator’s daily plan is usually to film five seconds.

The most recent puppet-animation feature from Soyuzmultfilm took 17 years to make:

The film "Hoffmaniada" (directed by Stanislav Sokolov) is based on the works of German Romantic author Ernst Theodore Hoffmann. It took a month and a half to make each of the film's 100 puppets.

The film features the largest "crowd scene" in Russian puppet animation history, with 42 puppets moving at the same time in the final episode. "Hoffmaniada" was shot from 2001 to 2018, though not continuously.

A full day of shooting produces on average five seconds of material

Soyuzmultfilm is home to a rich variety of puppet animation and Claymation styles

Soyuzmultfilm is home to a rich variety of puppet animation and Claymation styles

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