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Feature Film

Animated Sequence in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

A number of readers have written to ask who animated the shadow puppet-inspired “Tale of the Three Brothers” sequence in the new Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was directed and designed by Ben Hibon who produced it in association with Framestore. Hibon recently signed with Nexus Productions for repping.

Here’s an earlier film Hibon made called Codehunters:

UPDATE: FXGuide posted an interview with Dale Newton, the supervisor of the animated sequence at Framestore.

(via Drawn)

  • I was pleasantly surprised when that sequence came up on screen, but found it lacking by the end. I felt like it was missing something stylistically. I was excited by the shadow puppet feel in the beginning but I think they should have pushed it a lot further instead of 3d models aping the feel. The filigree patterns were lovely though.

    • Jane

      missing something stylistically?! I’m sorry, I think you were watching the wrong thing! I thought it was visually stunning and told beautifully. I don’t think they could have added anything else.

      • Tina

        I completely agree. I loved the animation sequence. I get completely captivated every time I watch the movie, and when the story’s over I find myself wanting to watch more. Stylistically, it’s entirely unique and that’s why I loved it so much. From the visual effects to the beautiful animation this piece was nothing short of artistic genius.

  • Dude, that sequence in DH BLEW MY MIND. I had no idea it was in there and I was completely unprepared for it. It was such a gloriously creepy interpretation of the story, and it fit beautifully into the mood of the film. Fantastic examples of 3D animation avoiding shiny computerness!

    • VinceP

      I agree completely! I saw DH at the midnight showing and despite how tired I was, I woke up immediately when I saw the animation!! I thought it was very effective and a lot of fun. I was honestly expecting that sequence to be done in live action when I was walking in, but it was a very pleasant surprise!

      Also, I really like that Codehunters short, very cool! The character designs are a lot of fun and it has an interesting take on the ubiquitous grimy future thing. Definitely a good thing to make me smile on a Monday morning! I know a lot of people don’t like animations of this type; but I think they have their own kind of fun, and I’d much rather watch a well animated action film like this than a similar live action one with CG appended to the actors.

  • Chelsea

    (thanks Amid for posting this!)
    I agree the two comments above- the sequence was really exciting to see, and was a bit unexpected in this kind of movie. I do wish they pushed the puppet feel of it more though- it felt a little like unfinished 3D work in some parts.

    There were some really nice character design in it as well, especially ‘death’. I hope more information on this sequence surfaces…

  • animegeek

    This was truly a magical scene directed by Ben Hibon. His company, I believe is Stateless Films

  • Lala-Marin

    Finally-I’ve been waiting to see a post about this scene since Friday morning. (Of course, I realize not everyone watched the movie at midnight)

    It really came out of the blue, and I could not believe my eyes. The animation was gorgeous, and it was a fantastically effective way to tell the story of the three brothers. If Harry and Voldemort’s final duel was done this way, I would definitely approve.


  • Karen

    Another “style over substance” short. Boy, do I miss Character Animation.

    • jic

      Not only is Codehunters “style over substance”, but that “style” is completely generic.

  • it was quite a beautiful sequence and well utilized in the storytelling…a pleasant surprise and one of several refreshing ingredients in the film that distinguishes it from the rest of the series…

  • Man that was awesome just like the movie! I felt that it had both style and substance.

  • amy

    I was hoping you would have a thread about this! It’s a lovely sequence and it was sad when they faded back into live action. The design is beautiful, and it’s especially great to see this in a big-budget, mass market film like HP.

  • Steven M.

    I liked that sequence in the movie. Though, like everyone else, they probably should of pushed it further.

  • I was wondering if anyone recognize the fact that something like this was done before in another movie and I am racking my brain to try and remember where I saw it. Does anyone have a clue?

    • Jadey

      Could you be thinking of the credits in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”?

  • you might be thinking of HELLBOY 2

  • Actually, when the sequence first came up in Deathly Hallows, my first thought was The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello from 2005. Similar use of silhouettes, even though the camera circles the characters in the Three Brothers sequence.

  • As soon as I saw this I thought: “Cool. That’s the guy who designed “Borderlands” – a great looking X-Box game that combines CGI with what looks like hand-drawn texture maps.” A quick Google search told me otherwise. Apparently, the similarities between the game and “Codehunters” were obvious to quite a lot of people.


  • Ooo I’m a little late to this but just saw it last night. Like others here I was unprepared for an animated sequence and loved it! One of the best bits of that film.

  • catch22

    I was awed at this sequence. It is interesting that this simple act of primitive story telling, combined with beautiful abstract animation was in many ways more compelling than the film itself. To me, this shows the primal power of story telling. There is a reason why stories such as Homer’s Iliad have lasted millennia. I think our Hollywood overlords have a lot to learn.

  • Saw this tonight and thought the animated sequence was great and worked well in context.

    Ben Hibon produced a number of promotional flash animated shorts detailing the story behind Heavenly Sword, a game developed for the PS3 at Ninja Theory where I work in animation.

    These can be seen on YouTube or on the stateless films website here and are well worth a look.


  • Em

    I loved that little animation so much! The ending of the little clip was so sweet and the style of animation was amazing :D

  • Thom

    The animation was superb. So captivating. I think the director should be praised for commissioning it. Better than having one of the characters telling the tale. Exposition in a very fresh way.

  • Tom

    Saw it last night. *Very* cool animation! I know that I’ve seen that style before, long ago. But for the life of me I cannot place it! Certainly the technology has improved, but I could swear I’ve seen the same ornate “puppet figures” motion, silhouettes, and exaggerated faces hanging down from the cranium somewhere before. Perhaps even as early as the original Fantasia… most certainly it was an original Disney production. Anybody remember anything resembling it?

  • Does anybody know which software was used to make this truly enchanting scene ?

  • Pete

    I only wish the entire movie – nay the entire series – was animated by the Hibon sorte.

  • Phil

    I totally loved the cgi animation..it was like the best part of the whole movie…im so overjoyed the movie is in 2 parts..so dis tym it wasnt like they wer in such a hurry to finish the movie and erthing was in great detailes….big ups to the animation crew

  • Antonio Palao

    What a delightful surprise this unexpected sequence was. Emma Watson did a phenomenal job of narrating. Like any good storyteller, she managed to detach herself (or Hermione if you will) from the tale while still maintaining command of the audience.

    I. Was. Enthralled.

    Like many of the posters here, I think it may be my favorite part of an already excellent picture.
    So glad to know I’m not alone in my appreciation of the art of storytelling.

  • Justin

    I Can’t get over how amazing that sequence was. I am now hoping to actually see a full length movie based on the story of the tale of the three brothers. Also dumbledores story. These are great stories that couldn’t fit into the movie but would be perfect for their own films

  • yourface