Following on from our successful collaboration with Blue Zoo and their popular children’s show Numberblocks, we had the opportunity to re-create more of their hit CG programme as stop-motion scenes. These clips are used as part of their Youtube series aimed to encourage children to further their maths learning.
Style: Stop Motion / Puppetry
Client: Blue Zoo, Learning Resources
Last year we took Numberblocks themed Mathlink Cubes, created by Learning Resources, and reimagined them as the characters from the show through stop motion. Since the release of the Mathlink Cubes, Learning Resources have been expanding their range of merchandise. These include numbers 11-20 cubes, stamp sets and ‘Numberblobs’. To promote the release of these products, we re-created sections of the following episodes using assets from the toy sets:
- Odd Side Story
The intention for these clips is to inspire children to craft their own versions of the show. But instead, using household items and art materials which they may have easily to hand. Therefore, the majority of our props were created using recycled cardboard, colouring pencils / paints and any other scrap materials.
Tenvaulting was one of our favourite sets to craft this time around. We made a simple (but big) cardboard stadium and a colourful stadium audience consisting of hundreds of numberblobs. The sets were built to look like a family living room and a child’s desk, to encourage playing at home. We shot Tenvaulting using our motion control rig, which we admit isn’t a domestic item. However, it did allow us to emulate the dynamic camera move from the original programme.
Animating Playful Plushies
This time around we had a new challenge – to take plush products and bring them to life using puppetry. The scene chosen was a song and dance number which required full movement of the puppets’ arms and legs. To do this, we needed to modify the toy to become a puppet. However, we needed to keep the toy as close to its original state as possible.
Being no strangers to traditional puppet design, we opted for a combination of rod and string controls for best articulation. The two characters (One and Two) were supported using a wrist-mounted bracing system. Strings were attached to their arms and bodies in a marionette style. The legs were attached to green painted rods. These were supported and operated by the index and middle fingers of the puppeteers wearing green gloves. Our puppeteers wore green morph suits so they and the rigs we were able to be keyed out in post-production.
To synchronise the singing, and to bring life to the eyes, we animated 2D faces to look like stitched replacements. We then tracked them onto the puppets’ faces.
For the set design we took a Punch and Judy approach, creating a miniature cardboard theatre for the puppets. We created interchangeable cardboard layers which could be dropped into the scene. Again, the brief was to keep it looking playful as though the scene could be set up at home. These layers were filmed separately from the puppets and composited together in post-production.
Check out our 2021 collaborations here.