Terry Gilliam’s paper cut-out animation

Let’s not forget the hand-made. In the olden days, back then before computers…. people made animation by hand.

Terry Gilliam describes how he achieved the raw dynamism and anarchic humour of his paper cut-out animations for Monty Python. From Bob Godfrey’s brilliant ‘Do It Yourself Animation Show‘, 1974.

Here’s some of Gilliam’s work in action for Monty Python:

Questions to ponder: does our work actually benefit from technical perfection? Or is there something that gets lost – some form of energy or dynamism – when we spend too much time getting it just right?

Seeing Gilliam’s use of real hands in combination with paper cut-outs reminds me of this fantastic car commercial that uses many, many hands. The initial simplicity of ‘What Hands Can Do‘ reminds us of the hand-made and takes us back to what the very first images projected through shadows may have looked like and then it builds to an extraordinary complexity. This commercial is a perfect example of a post-digital aesthetic – seamlessly combining the hand-made with the digital, using the best of both worlds.

Terry Gilliam’s paper cut-out animation

The evils of alcohol: early French cut-out animation by Marius O’Galop and Robert Lortac

Marius O’Galup (1867 – 1946) was an illustrator and animator who created around 20 short films using paper cut-outs. The public information films shown below from You Tube were made around 1918.

Robert Lortac (1884 – 1973) created around 20 films for Pathé, which were either educational or children’s stories. He went on to work in animated commercials until the late 30’s. The quality of these films he made in 1922 is not good, but still interesting to look at in terms of style.

For more information about the early French animators Marius O’Galup, Robert Lortac and Emile Cohl, see Valérie Vignaux’s interesting article in the Animation Interdisciplinary Journal: Entertainment and Instruction as Models in the Early Years of Animated Film.

The evils of alcohol: early French cut-out animation by Marius O’Galop and Robert Lortac