The cutest thing you’ll see all day
When deciding on an art style for Studio Ghibli’s first feature-length foray into 3DCG, Earwig and the Witch, director Goro Miyazaki was inspired by stop motion animation, particularly the works of the studio LAIKA:
In terms of inspiration, there was the issue of how to create the characters in 3DCG. Nowadays, for something like hair, usually we go with the method where every single strand gets reproduced. At the beginning, characters start out as two-dimensional drawings. They’re designed by pencil and paper. That sense you get at that moment, is something you want to reproduce as much as possible. So, if something like hair is drawn as a picture in a certain hairstyle, and then each and every strand was transposed, there’s a sense that it’s not quite right. For a bushy mass of hair, are we really going to create each and every strand? I don’t think that’s quite how it should be.
There’s a studio called LAIKA – they’re the ones who made Kubo and the Two Strings, and films like that. I had seen their work, and the people from LAIKA actually came to Ghibli one time with their puppets. As I looked at their puppets, I was like, “Oh, so this is how to make them.” That’s why, for the depiction of something like hair, I was thinking to have it be reproduced maybe more like stop-motion animation. Instead of reproducing everything realistically, there were various deformation techniques introduced, and in some cases, it’ll have more of the aesthetic look of stop-motion animation.
After wrapping Earwig and the Witch, Miyazaki combined his fascination with stop motion with his love of puppetry, leading the production for the Ghibli Museum’s first-ever puppet show featuring characters from the film!
In this three-part behind-the-scenes series, you can follow the puppet show’s journey from initial lessons to final touches, and watch the Ghibli Museum staff grow with the help of director Miyazaki.
Special Puppet Show “Earwig and the Witch” at Ghibli Museum Part 1
Special Puppet Show “Earwig and the Witch” at Ghibli Museum Part 2
Special Puppet Show “Earwig and the Witch” at Ghibli Museum Part 3
Earwig and the Witch is now available on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack, Limited Edition Steelbook, Digital, and is currently streaming on HBO Max
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