The Animator's Toolkit from Mielenero on Vimeo.

A meta feast for animators, The Animator’s Toolkit brings the work of the animator to life for us all. Martina Tondi of Mielenero Studio says the piece, “Wants to unveil the capabilities of stop motion animation to bring ‘to life’ inanimate objects.”

The short, featuring an articulated puppet dropped into a boxed set, proceeds into his anguish at being trapped there, unable to escape. Tondi describes it as, “A man trapped, distressed, living in an endless loop in which he passes from being a sentient life form to a manipulated object without his own will.” Delving further into the themes of the piece, she explains, “The short movie also talks about the relationship between the animator and the puppet, one can’t exist without the other.”

In deciding on a puppet, Tondi says, “We chose a Stickybones figure because of his stylized human features, it has no eyes to see, no ears to listen, no mouth to talk and his skin is dark grey: it’s clearly a tool,” and one can’t help but think of all the modern associations we have with that word. “The title,” she continues, “is a reminder of Richard Williams’ ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’, the bible for any aspiring animator.”

The team animated the scene at 25 fps, with a Canon EoS 6D Mark II and Dragonframe 4. “The biggest challenge,” Tondi said, “was to bring this character to life in a convincing way, we wanted it to move as realistically as possible, to convey to the audience all the different emotions that he feels throughout his arc, first his confusion, then his fear and anxiety realizing he is trapped. Also the length of the shot made it pretty challenging for the animator to give the puppet actions a good rhythm.”

Up next, the team is shooting a commercial scheduled to be released in November. They are also working on the pre-production for a puppet animation short movie that we’ll start producing next year. We’re looking forward to seeing more!

For more behind the scenes, check out this process video:

The Animator's Toolkit backstage from Mielenero on Vimeo.