Portland’s Laika studio (Coraline) has scrapped all its plans for creating CG features and will instead focus on making stop-motion films exclusively. The studio laid off 63 computer graphics employees today, according the website SlashFilm. UPDATE: Studio publicist Maggie Begley wrote in to clarify: “It’s not accurate to say that the studio is abandoning CG altogether. They will continue to use CG opportunistically in stop motion films and will continue to develop CG projects in house for further down the road.”
I personally think the decision to specialize with stop-motion is great move – not only for the health of the studio, but for the art of stop-motion animation itself. And this is shaping up to be a helluva year for stop-motion. I just attended an advance screening of Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox today. It’s not from Laika, but it’s an outstanding film – which, compared with 2009’s other stop-mo releases (Coraline, Mary And Max), shows the wide range of this technique. I’m delighted to know this ancient hand made animation process has a somewhat healthy future.