Visual Effects at LAIKA: A Crossroads of Art and Technology
Making expansive worlds with enormous effects and several characters has always been a daunting task for stop-motion filmmakers. The reason is simple – if it’s in the film it has to be built. From puppets to buildings to salt shakers and the salt within, an artist needs to create tangible, real-world objects in order for them to be captured in-camera with real-world lighting. “Coraline", LAIKA’s first feature film, was captured almost entirely in-camera. But as the scope of LAIKA’s films grew, the studio embraced technology to create unique, stylized universes unlike anything seen before in the stop-motion genre. LAIKA’s hybrid approach evolved during production of the studio’s subsequent films: “ParaNorman", "The Boxtrolls”, and their current feature, "Kubo and the Two Strings”.
In this presentation, VFX Supervisor Steve Emerson guides attendees through the history of visual effects at LAIKA (in-camera and digital) and the evolution of the studio’s production processes over the past 10 years. He examines LAIKA's live-action approach to visual effects, the specifics of their workflow, the technology they’ve embraced, and what the future holds.