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The Computer-Animated FilmIndustry, Style and Genre$
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Christopher Holliday

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427883

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427883.001.0001

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Pixar, Performance and Puppets

Pixar, Performance and Puppets

(p.127) Chapter 6 Pixar, Performance and Puppets
The Computer-Animated Film

Christopher Holliday

Edinburgh University Press

As a way of remedying the wider absence of computer-animated film acting within scholarship on film and animated performance, this chapter makes a significant assertion that, in its production, the computer-animated film genre actually cross-pollinates stop-frame techniques with those associated with marionette theatre as part of its style of performance. In the workable geometry of its virtual bodies (skeletal structure, anatomical coherency, joint segmentation and armature), computer-animated films evoke the wealth of string marionettes (as well as rod or hand puppets) moved within a live performance setting. Such puppet-like forms of acting holds the computer-animated film distinct from performances in popular Hollywood cinema achieved through stop-motion frame-by-frame techniques and traditional hand-drawn methods. However, this analysis not only supports the central concept that puppetry has become a more significant concern of the computer-animated film than in other animated media, but also provides a counter-narrative to scholarship that affords generality to motion-capture as the dominant mode of cyber or virtual puppetry. Puppetry can be understood, I argue, as an altogether more inclusive category, and this chapter promotes puppetry as opening up performance in computer-animated films and revealing the sliding scale of puppet processes involved in its creation of acting.

Keywords:   Performance, acting, puppetry, marionette theatre

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