The making of The Pirates-tooks 5 years to complete

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists! is the brand new animated film from the national treasure that is Bristol’s Aardman studios – the folks responsible for Chicken Run and, most famously, Wallace & Gromit.

However, the production of this film tooks 5 years to complete. With every foot-high puppet repositioned up to 24 times per second of film to create the illusion of seamless movement, making the 88-minute movie was a hugely labour-intensive process.

It took 525 people – including 33 animators – five years to put together, a patience-stretching process that yielded a mere four seconds of screen action per week.

‘That works out at between 800 and 1,000 man years,’ says Matt Perry, art director.

‘So if he started somewhere between 1066 and the 12th century, one man alone might have made this film.’

A total of 10,318 puppet mouths effect the speaking action of the principals; 28 latex versions of the film’s star, the Pirate Captain, take on the physical traits of the actor (Grant) voicing him.

The Pirate Captain’s ship is a ‘weld job’ – two renderings of 18th-century vessels bolted together. It weighs in at a ton, fully rigged, with over 44,000 individual moving parts and two miles of rope.

The numbers here are staggering – from the 400,000 gold coins that had to be repositioned for continuity through every shot of the Queen’s palace to the myriad gemstones on the jacket of the Pirate King

The most problem is The Pirate Captain’s beard, the erratic movement of which was solved, through exquisite boffin pluck, by attaching a guitar tuning head and controlling the thing by wire.

In The Pirates! Band of Misfits 3D, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain – a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!

Pirate Captain, voiced by Hugh Grant

Mr Bobo

Cutlass Liz, voiced by Salma Hayek

A mock-up of Blood Island

Mouth expression models - there are 10,318 in all


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  1. fuhh..lamanya..mesti detail kartunnye.. =)

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