ByKatrina Stagg, writer at Creators.co
Katrina Stagg

The Boxtrolls panel and exhibit on Saturday, October 18th at Gallery Nucleus drove home what we all already assumed about stop-motion animation… It’s an amazing feat.

Laika Studio, the creative geniuses behind Coraline and ParaNorman released Boxtrolls on September 26th, 2014 and lived up to the bar they have set for themselves all while pushing the envelope of technology. A highlight from Saturday’s panel was how the Boxtrolls got their "look". The creative process is truly remarkable!

Book signing at Gallery Nucleus
Book signing at Gallery Nucleus

Anthony Stacci and Graham Annable (directors) discussed how The Boxtrolls came to be visually. The Boxtrolls characters are a part of a much more robust story from the book "Here Be Monsters!" by Alan Snow. The idea to make this movie was given to the talented French illustrator Nicolas De Crecy who created what Stacci described at the “primordial image”, the Boxtroll chandelier. Giving rise to the esthetic of what would become The Boxtrolls movie.

Nicolas De Crecy's BoxTrolls Chandelier
Nicolas De Crecy's BoxTrolls Chandelier
By Nicolas De Crecy
By Nicolas De Crecy

De Crecy’s work was then passed along to Michel Breton who created background and environmental studies. Similar to the underground (Boxtrolls chandelier) the above world was captured by the chandelier done by Brenton representing the pinnacle of their society.

The Above World Chandelier By Michel Breton
The Above World Chandelier By Michel Breton

Atypically, the world of the movie was realized before the characters. This put character designers in a tough spot according to Stacci. Mike Smith created the character studies as silhouettes similarly to the background studies and thus The Boxtrolls were born.

Character Studies
Character Studies
Character Studies Fish & Shoe By Mike Smith
Character Studies Fish & Shoe By Mike Smith

German expressionism, which was a major influence in both the environment and character designs, was implemented in the design of the puppets. The armature department has one incredible task.

All puppets have a metal skeleton inside consisting of multiple types and combinations of joints. Each puppet is cast in both silicone and foam to take advantage of both materials beneficial attributes, “best of both worlds” according the Jeremy Spake, Head of Armature. These delicate maquettes have to be durable because the “...animation department are like cavemen, if it’s breakable, they will break it.”

Egg Armature
Egg Armature

3D printing has been used in all of Laika’s projects, but The Boxtrolls pushed its use even further. Not only were the character's faces printed in color but they were able to layer color deeper within the object to make them appear more realistic. Literally filling Eggs’ cheeks with red as he blushed. An artful and beautiful way to put 3D technology to use.

There are too many departments that deserve mention to discuss in this article; Costumes, paint, story, animation, all of which make this masterpiece come to life. If you are feeling so inclined to dive deeper into the mastery that is The Boxtrolls, check out their book “The Art of The Boxtrolls”.

"The Art of The Boxtrolls" is currently on sale at Gallery Nucleus and online where most books are sold.

The Art of The Boxtrolls
The Art of The Boxtrolls

[The Boxtrolls](movie:862414) exhibit along with Director Graham Annable's "Hidden People" and story artist Vera Brosgol's "Hip Check" [Fantasy Roller Derby] exhibits are up at Gallery Nucleus until November 2, 2014.

Make sure you check them all out!

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