No Dice? No Dice?
Music Videos

No Dice?

This music video, Ankle Injury by British alternative musicians Fujiya & Miyagi, was directed by Wade Shotter of UK’s Factory Films.

CG — or stop-mo of actual dice? Discuss.

  • Andrew

    It would be prohibitively expensive to try do this stop-mo. Super cool though.

  • I’m gonna bet on it being Stop-Mo, simply because CGI would be cheating and would also take away the whole point of even doing such a video. Not quite as obvious it’s stop-mo as the White Stripes stop-mo lego promo was, though, but still impressive.

  • it’s a mix.

    the little character with the guitar that is reminicent of the white stripes video is stop mo. while the close up of the dude singing and such is easily CG.

    you just couldn’t do that C.U of the lead singers face in stop mo and have it look that smooth
    his head moves through the dice too clean
    it’s just not choppy enough
    and you can just…feel…that those parts aren’t stop mo
    90% of CG still has that “weightless” feeling (no matter how good of an animator you are…you’re still working with something that isn’t tangible so it feels weightless when you watch it)…and in those specific parts…i still can’t feel the weight of the dice….versus the traditionally done parts where you can tell the dice are real.

    other parts clearly are stop mo
    because stylistically they’re completely different from the super detailed pieces….the stop mo parts are simplified down to an animatable point….making them easily movable

    overall…i wasn’t too keen on the whole thing
    but hey….i might also be putting my foot in my mouth too
    so who knows

  • Nathan Strum

    CG. If it were stop motion, there would be at least some random shifting of the dice as they were animated, and some manufacturing variations in the dice themselves. Plus, there are no crooked rows or lens distortion in the video, everything is perfectly square to the edge of the screen.

  • Im with Justin in this, its a mix.

    The closeups with few dice would be worth doing in stopmo, however once the amount of dice goes op toe the thousands its just that silly to go with dice. Also its just something that would work really well with CG.

    From an artistic point of view I`d say its a mix as well. I mean, whats the point doing it all stopmo or all cg. Go with the most effective method.
    With a short like “Fast Film” it makes sense, artisticly to go stopmo.
    it just looks that good with handfolded paper. With dice? there is so little added extra expression with so many dice.

    so? both CG and real dice. depending on the shot.

  • I hope for the sake of whoever made this it’s a program/plugin that analyzes the block of video where a die will be placed, takes the average color/value and chooses the closest matching die in the library of dice images it has. It would be feasible to program and take considerably less time to do so.

    That isn’t to say this holds less artistic merit as to come up with this concept and execute it so amazingly well takes plenty of talent and work.

    As far as using CG being cheating: Why? I agree it would be cheating if this were supposed to be look like a 2D animated piece of work that was made by hand, but it looks to me like it was shot on video in the first place. Computers aren’t always cheating, but rather putting to use a new tool. For this project I think the computer would definitely be the best tool for the job and I bet someone spent a lot of time programming this effect. That said I think they could have told the computer to randomize the die placement/brightness ever so slightly and add lens distortion. :P

  • Keith Paynter

    My guess – CGI…

    Heck, since the software exists for taking multiple miniature photographs and turning them into another larger image, what then is the difference in taking a still frame from film and re-interpreting it, this time using a domino or dice template?

    Pretty cool nonetheless…

  • red pill junkie


    PS: Nice tune!

  • I’d say CG. I’d also add they should spend as much time on their music as they do on their videos!

  • Tron

    It’s a mix, but I would lean more towards CGI for when the zoom in maybe…

    If I did it, I would do it stop motion, on cine 8!!!! hardcore style…

  • David C

    I’m with Derek and Keith on this – it’s a computer generated mosaic, using photos of dice. This sort of thing’s been around for a long time – remember ASCII art?

    I haven’t seen the effect of changing the grid size, though. Nice effect.

  • I’m going to remain hopeful and say that this IS stop motion. I’d say that a computer was used to map out the pixels of the video, and then that information was translated by hand onto a mosaic of dice. That’s my best guess!

  • Mike

    The Bald dude looks CG-Generic anyway…like something off of Poser

  • Sean Dicken

    I say it’s a combo of photography and After Effects (or similar effects package)

    If I were to do something like this, I would do it in After Effects with a time-remapped photo sequence of all the different sides of the die (maybe a few different versions of each side for some subtle differences), and (theoretically*) add an expression to each time-remapped die graphic so it would change the number of dots based on the gray value of the underlying grayscale source video. That would be my starting point anyway. For the Colored stuff, I would try to overlay a pixelation effect of colored source material and set the pixels to be the same size as the dice graphics.

    If you consider After Effects to be ‘CG’, then I say CG with photographic source material.

    * I say theoretically, because I don’t really know enough about expressions to know if this is something you can do with ’em… but maybe there’s a plugin out there that will do this very thing.

  • you just couldn’t do that C.U of the lead singers face in stop mo and have it look that smooth
    his head moves through the dice too clean
    it’s just not choppy enough
    and you can just…feel…that those parts aren’t stop mo
    90% of CG still has that “weightless� feeling (no

    Justin, what are you talking about? None of that makes any sense in the context of this video! Whether it’s CG (probably) or not, the dice are just being used as pixels basically; they’re not moving thru space so there’s nothing at all that should be “choppy” or have “weight” if it were really done in stopmo as opposed to CG. Either method would look exactly the same, movement-wise, when used to rotoscope video footage.

    Anyway, I suspect all/mostly CG tho it’s hard to tell from a streaming low rez video like this. If I were shooting this for real there’s no way I’d have it all flat like that, would want at least some shots at an angle or an intro to “prove” that they were real dice! :) Also I’m guessing these guys didn’t have a Gondry/White Stripes budget but many of these shots look like they would be even more absurdly labor intensive…

  • Some of the camera moves are quite convincingly stop-motion-esque tho.

  • chris

    it would have to be real dice scanned in for their colour and texture then images or video mapped out in some program. it would work in a simlar way to transfering a photo in to a screen toned b+w image, just more complicated because its video, and with some colour. the movements are too accurate to be stop motioned, and also the dice are to perfectly placed.

  • E

    “Alternative music.” Alternative to WHAT? Sounds like top 40 pop to me. Nice video, though.

  • I’m with Derick on this, he covered it all for me. I hope it’s CG, because I’d hate to think of animators sweating over this boring video (sorry I’m not a big fan of processed live action). Would we think it was a better piece if we knew it was all hand done?

  • Charlie

    I think it’s a mix.

    Probably the one’s close up is stop mo, and the farther ones away (mostly the the pictures using all or alot of ones) are CGI. With the video Jerry showed us a few days ago, with the human animation, dice animation is probably WAY better than CG.

  • Sean Dicken

    For anyone who says the camera movement is too smooth, have you never heard of computerized Motion Control? It’s been around for decades and it’s used constantly in stop motion films. Go pop Nightmare Before Christmas into your DVD player and only pay attention to the camera movement. It’s definitely possible, as there is only movement in the Z-axis. You could do this with a standard geared tripod neck.

    For anyone who says the dice are too evenly placed, how hard could it possibly be to make some sort of grid registration that can hold the dice perfectly in place? It’s a freakin’ square grid! Not a high level of craftsmanship required. If they’re good manufactured regulation dice, they’ll will be square and will fit perfectly into a square hole without any wobble.

    These are weak arguments as to why it must be CG. I agree with Steve Segal in that the most compelling argument as to why it /should be/ CG is because of the tedium necessary to pull this off with actual dice. I would hope that no director would do that to anyone, not even the greenest of interns, when the net result can be had so simply otherwise.

  • who cares. it looks great.

    it’s a very well done piece, be it traditional or digital. i would applaud if it were traditional stop-mo, because of the fact that it was probably insanely difficult to pull off roto like that with physical dice, and i would probably equally applaud if it were digital, because at least someone realized that you can put a creative twist on things to make them interesting, instead of it looking like something straight out of a computer.

  • Steve

    i’m gonna guess that whoever did this animated some of the smaller scale bits by hand in order to have something to show to get funding for the rest, which is, yeah, probably cg to one degree or another…

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