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"This is sometimes harder than it looks." —David Daniels
March 4, 2013 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Journey Through A Melting Brain (The Stratacut of David Daniels) David Daniels is the master of strata-cut animation, "a form of clay animation in which a long bread-like "loaf" of clay, internally packed with varying imagery, is sliced into thin sheets, with the animation camera taking a frame of the end of the loaf for each cut, eventually revealing the movement of the internal images within.... [I]n strata-cut, you build your imagery not just in X, Y, and Z space, but also considering time as a dimension, and the most important one." Daniels' films are mesmerizing explosions of color. In an interview with Art of the Title, he discusses the history of the process, his own trajectory, and how to make your own strata-cut animation (in a video demo at the bottom of the page).
posted by ocherdraco (21 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unreal. "Harder than it looks" . . . !

I remember I loved the "Big Time video when I was a kid, but I haven't seen it since. The '80s were the perfect time for his aesthetic to come along. Sally Cruikshank is definitely a fellow traveler and probably a fan.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:19 PM on March 4, 2013


I remember I loved the "Big Time video when I was a kid, but I haven't seen it since.

It is probably relevant to say that the entire genesis of this post was me not recognizing "Big Time" when my boyfriend sang a bit of it to me, and then watching the video on YouTube, and then googling to see who the animator was, and then both of us just sitting there gobsmacked watching how amazing and ridiculous his animation is.

Getting timing right is so, so hard in animation of any kind; Daniels has to have it perfect in every slice (and every slice has to be the right size!). If he gets to the middle of a log and the timing is off, the whole sequence could be ruined.

And then, he even ups the ante by being able to do perfectly timed strata-cut and stop-motion animation backward.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by ocherdraco at 7:29 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was going to post the main title of Freaked, but it's in the post already! Bravo for the Blind Idiot Godness!
posted by infinitewindow at 7:42 PM on March 4, 2013


From the interview link:
"Here is one way to think of the reverse engineering aspect of the work; if you were to take classic animation where you take key frames and, say, a Disney animator would take four frames to define key action, the in-betweener will come in for the in-betweens, but the key animator will only draw the significant action over time. So the key animator is gapping four or five frames out of the whole thing. It’s a four dimensional space seen in three dimensions. Time is simultaneous unto itself. The beginning, middle, and end all coexist at once and what we are seeing is human beings normally cannot: ourselves in extruded time. Time is this slice that we tick by but truthfully we are extruded pieces of spaghetti — much like stratacut — where we blob and shift and move and run. All our timepieces are connected but we can’t see them and don’t know it. In a sense, I’m putting those pieces together and giving you a sculpture of that time."
posted by ocherdraco at 7:56 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


What a fascinating, mercilessly difficult art form. His loaves of clay can only be appreciated by destroying them.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:14 PM on March 4, 2013


I hear it's huge on Tralfamador.
posted by yoink at 9:54 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. This is my favorite kind of post: Something cool that I've never seen before. Really well done.
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This indepth video of him talking through how to do a blinking eye is amazing.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:02 PM on March 4, 2013


Daniels is, like, an insane genius. I worked in animation production for almost ten years and still can't wrap my brain around stratacut.

If you want to melt your face off some time, get really high and watch "Buzz Box."
posted by dersins at 11:36 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


He would make the most awesome sushi rolls EVER.
posted by gomichild at 12:01 AM on March 5, 2013


Mindbogglingly wonderful.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:26 AM on March 5, 2013


CUT!
posted by hal9k at 2:17 AM on March 5, 2013


I had to watch the How To first because he can't possibly be doing this the way he'd have to be doing it. But he is. That is incredible.

THIS is what a 3D printer would be good at. If you could print infinity colors.
posted by DU at 4:10 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Bruce Bickford's Baby Snakes claymation work for Frank Zappa (SLYT).
posted by Paul Slade at 4:14 AM on March 5, 2013


I was so confused before I realized it was not this David Daniels.....
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 5:34 AM on March 5, 2013


in a video demo at the bottom of the page

Did anyone manage to find part 4 of this? The "part 4" link leads to part 3 a second time, and searching for it on Vimeo and Google didn't bring anything up.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:04 AM on March 5, 2013




Reminds me of Bruce Bickford's Baby Snakes claymation work for Frank Zappa


Yes. I thought Bruce may have invented this technique.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:43 AM on March 5, 2013


This is a form of polymer clay canemaking; I've never seen it used in this context but I've definitely done this sort of work before. The trick is making the image large and then drawing it down by stretching it--the same trick employed by Venetian glassmakers to create floral canework. The images do tend to morph a bit in even the best, most carefully made canes. Fascinating process, thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:44 AM on March 5, 2013


I don't know how you could do this and not go absolutely insane.
posted by odinsdream at 8:39 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know how you could do this and not go absolutely insane.

Oh, that's easy - just start out absolutely insane already.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:58 AM on March 5, 2013


L.P. Hatecraft: "Did anyone manage to find part 4 of this? The "part 4" link leads to part 3 a second time, and searching for it on Vimeo and Google didn't bring anything up"

I think this is the same demo.

Lots more stuff here.
posted by team lowkey at 11:01 AM on March 5, 2013


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