Animation studios STOOPID BUDDY STOODIOS and ALMA MATER unite using handmade stop-motion animation for THE LEGO® MOVIE Title Sequence

As the LEGO craze continues (THE LEGO MOVIE has been the #1 film 3 weekends in a row, grossing over $270 million worldwide), people are drawing more attention to the technical process behind the amazing digital tools used, which is no easy feat. Emmy and Annie award winning animation production house STOOPID BUDDY STOODIOS, founded by Matthew Senreich, Seth Green, John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner joined forces with visual studio ALMA MATER to create the exciting and unique end credits sequence.

While the animation in THE LEGO MOVIE was created using digital techniques, the team at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios used traditional stop-motion animation to realize the intricate end credits. The sequence was conceived and directed by Alma Mater’s Brian Mah, who collaborated with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios’ Ethan Marak to oversee the animation. The work is notable for being one of the largest and most intricate stop-motion LEGO animations ever attempted.

The final shot of the sequence took four motion control passes to complete, with three animators working simultaneously to increment hundreds of individual LEGO bricks. With an average of four objects moving per set that totals around 10,000 animated increments to create this twelve second shot!

Says Stoopid Buddy co-founder Matthew Senreich, “It’s astonishing how much work goes into such a short sequence. Animator Benny Zelkowicz had to move 150+ LEGO pieces per frame!”

“It was a great collaboration” says Alma Mater Director Brian Mah. “Ethan was constantly finding ways of making the sequence stronger. With the help of his DP, Helder Sun, the team did a fantastic job bringing the scenes to life with animation and cinematic lighting (which isn’t easy on miniature sets with super intricate and reflective plastic parts).”

STOOPID BUDDY STOODIOS is a state of the art animation production house founded in 2012 by Stoopid Monkey Production’s Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, and Buddy Systems’ John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner. The facility is a two-building complex located in Burbank, CA, and is home-base for both individual and joint ventures for the partners, as well as regularly hosting outside projects. The first production under the new company’s banner was the Robot Chicken/DC Comics Special followed by Season 6 of Adult Swim’s top-rated, Emmy and Annie Award-winning series Robot Chicken. Upcoming projects include another DC Comics Special as well as Robot Chicken Season 7.

ALMA MATER is a visual studio founded in 2012 by Brian Mah, James Anderson and Kathy Kelehan, dedicated to a tradition of beautifully executed and thoughtfully considered design, live action, and animation. In addition to their work on THE LEGO MOVIE, recent projects have included commercial campaigns for clients including Patrón, McDonald’s, and Sonicare, and promos for The Science Channel.

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