Like many stop motion animation fans I’m really looking forward to seeing The LEGO Movie coming out on February 7th. If you haven’t seen the trailer make sure to check it out!
Pretty awesome huh? Looks like an amazing stop motion movie. Or is it? If you look closely you’ll see that some scenes from The LEGO Movie trailer look digital, while other scenes look like they were animated using actual LEGO bricks. Some look like a mix of both. What’s going on here? I’m not sure. In fact, not too many people are sure whether this is a digital movie or a stop motion movie.
Because I was curious I did some research and found out that people have been asking the directors of The LEGO Movie about this for quite some time but the directors haven’t been very clear about it. Check out this panel from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller answer the question in the first couple minutes of this video:
I also found some tweets by Chris Miller from back in June that seem to confirm a hybrid animation style.
To curious: #TheLegoMovie is a hybrid film. CG w/ real Lego elements done in a photoreal stop-motion style. & a secret bit of live-action.— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) June 20, 2013
Day 1 of 5-day Lego Movie live-action shoot with Will Ferrell. pic.twitter.com/dX1SK49RJN— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) June 4, 2013
So the answer to the question “Is the LEGO Movie stop motion or CGI?” actually could be both! And from the sound of it the Directors don’t want to let us know exactly what parts are CGI and what parts may be stop motion. Either way it’s still pretty cool to know that at least some parts of this movie may be made from real LEGO bricks. That’s a win in my book!
On the day of the movie's release, more information is coming out about the production process. Here's another tweet from filmmaker Chris Miller
@DrewAtHitFix it was mostly CG with some stop motion & also some real LEGO still sets comped in. But Animal Logic made the CG photoreal.— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) February 3, 2014
The film was made using mostly CGI. Special care was taken to ensure the LEGO world reflected the dynamics and appearance of real LEGO bricks. The creators examined parts under microscopes to better understand how they wore down over time. Animators experimented with different levels of dust and dirt on surfaces, and added imperfections to models, like tiny gaps between bricks.
It's great to have confirmation of something we suspected all along. The creators of this movie were inspired by watching actual brickfilms.
Here's an article in the NYT with more coverage of the production. This article at CGMeetup has a few more images from the studio. Check out the images of Emmet's expressions, video of the CGI animation process, and a real LEGO mock-up of a ship in the film in the video above!
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