Wednesday, August 16, 2006


So, have you seen it yet? I guess I should've plugged this a few weeks ago when it first came out, but better late than never! I spent over a year animating on it, and I'm really pleased with the final product. I've seen it twice. Once at the premiere with my wife, Karalenn, and a second time with my daughter, Makenzie. I thought I might be paying for taking Makenzie to a scary movie for weeks to come (she's only 6), but she was great. She ducked her head into my shoulder a couple of times, but has no nightmares to speak of. Phewsh! Other parents have not been so lucky. I was smart enough not to take Kendyl to it though. I don't cringe at all my shots, but some of them I will forever be wincing in pain at. I believe I was responsible for a total of about 45 shots by the time the movie was done. One of these days I'll put out a list of my shots, but I'm about to head out the door, so that'll come later. Anyway, here's a still from one of my shots:

19 comments:

Taylor Krahenbuhl said...

Amazing stuff Seth, congrats on working on a great film, I laughed really hard in that movie.

Kevin Keele said...

That still is fantastic, congrats dude!

ken said...

Wow, you worked on Monster House? Cool!!! Not seen it yet, will be sure to check it out when I can!

milojthatch said...

Really, what took so long with this post? :D Great job again!

Dave Johnson said...

Loved the film. Glad to know you worked on it!

Ken Chandler said...

Haven't been lucky enough to see it yet, but have been anticipating it's release for some time. I'll see if I can pick out the scenes you worked on. Must be very gratifying to work on something that so many people will see. Can't wait to see it.

Hans said...

Hey Seth,

Of course I've seen it, I see everything that's worth the ticket and a few that's not. Monster House is definetely worth it. I went with my wife and we both thought it was great. Very refreshing with some real scare in animated movies. I kinda got the same feeling as I did when I was little and watched the Goonies. I don't think it hurts children to get shook up a little, they can cope with more than just farts and silly jokes. Just like I'm not ONLY watching comedy all the time, why should children.
I know it was done with motion capture and it looked much better than "Polar Express" btw, so how did the animation process work. Did you finetune and add secondary actions, or is some of it fully animated from scratch?
Anyways, great job on a excellent film:)

Take care,

Hans

Seth Hippen said...

Hey guys,

Thanks for the comments. Hans, to try to answer your question, the amount of mocap used depended on the shot, naturally. Toward the beginning of production we were sticking closer to the mocap performances than we were toward the end because we didn't understand as well what the director was going for. After we understood each other better, we knew how far to push the animation, and were a lot more free to stray from the mocap than we initially felt we could. The body mocap, if you kept it, was usually mostly there. It would require some smoothing, and some punching up of the accents, but was often, I'd say, about 70% there. Hands were always completely key framed, and the face usually had about 70% key frame, 30% mocap. Some shots were completely key framed. The house, of course, was always keyed. I did the close-up shot of Nebercracker having a heart attack as he was facing the camera, and that was totally key framed; the same with the shot of Skull playing the video game telling it he just chopped off it's head again. Chowder emerging from the excavator and celebrating was all keyed. The little girl at the beginning was often all keyed too. I think every shot of Constance (the Giantess) was keyed, but I didn't do any of those. Anyway, I hope that gives you an idea.

Hans said...

Thanks for a good and informative answer Seth, just what I was looking for:)
Very cool that you did the heart attack scene, that was one of the scenes that stood out I think. So what are you working on now,...Surf's Up?

Hans

pinky said...

I guess I can't say too much about monster house, cause I haven't seen it yet, but I definitly do want to!
Your stuff is awesome, and congrads on getting so much well deserved attention to Monster house!

Arzu said...

your drawings are full of life and energy,beautiful!
Congratulations on working in such a great film.

KendylBendyl said...

Hi daddy. Monster House is like a chicken. It's not scary k? I like Monster House. I like to play with my legos dad.

I. N. J. Culbard said...

Very VERY cool.

Jo Bling said...

Seth- looking forward to taking my boy to see this movie, it's right up my paritcular twisted street by the sounds of it. I know a couple of people at Sony, including Robin Linn, director of animation on studio films like Superman and Spidey 3. Top fella. COngrats on your involvement man, and thanks for calling by the site. Do keep on visiting!

Jeepers! said...

I have not seen it yet, but I definitely plan too. I rarely have time to visit cinemas. I usually wait for the DVD release. I've heard great things about the film. From the pics I've seen, and the title, "Monster House", I know it's right up my alley.

-Roger

Blogerts said...

Seth, awesome movie. Just saw it today, and I had no idea what I was in for. I think the human movement was the most entertaining in CG form ever... realistic, yet cartoony. Intriguing characters, walks, and very distinct facial expressions on each character. Skull was hilarious, cops were hilarious. Very funny, very captivating movie. I'm going to buy this one.

S.T. Lewis said...

Yes! I have seen it! Sorry it took me so long to cast my vote in favor of this movie on your blog, Seth... but here I finally am.

We saw it in 3D, which I thought was going to maybe make me a little dizzy in a "Captain EO" kind of way, but it was actually a pretty cool way to see it. It was funnier than I expected (I loved Kevin James as the cop), and the story was cool and the animation was great... a huge step up from Polar Express, I thought (which I also liked, by the way).

I'm going to need you to send me a list of the scenes you did like you did for Polar Express so I can watch for them next time I see it. Great work, Seth. You're the most famous guy I know. We stayed after to find you in the credits, and you weren't far into them. That means you're important.

Adrian Ropp said...

Seth, you are my wife's hero right now because we saw Monster House on Friday, and she's a huge horror movie fan and a huge animation fan. So, basically, her head almost exploded she liked it so much.

I was pretty impressed that your crew took the animation to a higher level... Mo-cap's a tool, not a solution. Looks like Sony's starting to understand that now. I

I thought the story was quite entertaining, and the characters were appealling and watchable. Great voice work and I loved the score, and I, too, waited for your credit to show up. I was so sad to see that they forgot to add the "maestro" in front of your name, but I guess they don't want the other animators to feel bad.

Congratulations on a great film.

Seth Hippen said...

Thanks for all the great comments! I must say that the difference between this animation and the animation on The Polar Express was not an advance in technology. The main difference was the director's sensabilities and how much he allowed us to stray from the mocap. Second to that would be the design of the characters. Zemeckis (on Polar) would make us take out a blink if we had put it in there and the actor hadn't done that. I used to be a big fan of Zemeckis before Polar. Now?...Er, um... yeah.