Brian McLean and Steve Emerson Talk THE BOXTROLLS, Advances in 3D Printing, Translating Live-Action Visual Effects to Stop-Motion, and More

     January 19, 2015


I thought Laika’s The Boxtrolls was one of the best animated films of the year, and based on last week’s Oscar nominations, so did the Academy.  The movie revolves around Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright), a young boy who has grown up with Boxtrolls, friendly underground creatures who are being hunted by the nefarious Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley).  The film is an absolute delight filled with gorgeous animation and plenty of humor.

Last month, I went out to visit Laika in Portland for the Blu-ray release of The Boxtrolls.  While I was there, I got to talk with Director of Rapid Prototyping Brian McLean and Visual Effects Supervisor Steve Emerson.  During our conversation, we talked abut advances in 3D printing and how they were used on the movie, the technological challenges playing into the production design, how live-action visual effects translate into stop-motion animation, and more.  Hit the jump to check out the interview, and click here to pre-order the Blu-ray.

Brian McLean and Steve Emerson

  • 0:25 – Advances in 3D printing and new challenges presented by The Boxtrolls.
  • 3:45 – How the technological challenges played into the style of the characters, production design, etc.
  • 4:33 – Emerson explains how live-action visual effects translate into stop-motion animation.
  • 5:51 – The excitement over building “Allergy Snatcher” and the challenges of building the ballroom scene.


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