Yuri Norestin

Yuri Norestin experimented with cells to create a new style of animation. His animations give a  painting type feel and less like stop motion puppet animation.  

Yuri Norestin was jewish and raised in a Moscow suburb. He was originally trained to be a carpenter but then later changed his focus towards animation. His first film he directed was in 1968 which was, “25th of October, the First Day”. He later worked on a series of short films, such the “Hedgehog in the Fog”, “The Heron and The Crane”.  His work was notable for strict attention to detail, his atmospheric design. He achieved this using a multiplane camera, this creates an illusion of three dimensional depth. The 1979 film “Tale of Tales” which won the French Lille award for the Jury Grand Prize, the Grand Prize in the Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films, and Ottawa International animation festival for Best Film Longer Than Three Minutes Award in 1980. Was also acclaimed by a group of international animation experts to be the best animation of all time. Currently Norestin is working on an adaptation of Gogol’s “The Overcoat”, this project has been on and off for several years, due to the problems of finding funding for the project.

The techniques Norestein has used a multiplane glass to create a three dimensional look. The technique of a multiplane glass is to shoot through the glass, shooting through the panes gives it an unique effect. The technique would put things in and out of focus, creating depth of field. Usually images are painted onto the glass and then it is shot through. Sometimes puppets are used, and then moved through the background.

In the design in his pieces “Hedgehog in the Fog”, “The Heron and The Crane”, and “The Tale of Tales”. He uses the multiplane glass technique to create the textures and the effects in the background. The textures he created was all the foliage in the background and the fog. The fog is something amazing it morphs and looks like it has actual motion to it.  He does the same thing with the textures in another piece as well the “The Heron and The Crane”.  In both pieces the fog is used for mood as well as a way to change scenes.                                             (2:34)

(1:02). In both of these scenes the fog style of transitions comes across. In “The Heron and The Crane” , the fog transition is seen only in the background and is used as a depth field to visually show just how deep the forest is. Blurring out things in the midground and making the background hazy, while keeping the foreground highly detailed and in focus.

Other things he does with the scenery is he gives everything very deep textured feel.  All the textures look overly real or just real enough for it to pass. In all of his works the thing that sticks out is how textured and detailed the work is.

(scene from “Hedgehog in the Fog” 2:56) (scene from “The Heron and The Crane” 2:10). In the leaf picture, the detailed shown seems as if it was made of ceramic. The reason is because of the darkness of the veins in the leaf and the texturing around the edges. It appears to look like stone because of the rough edges, like cracked concrete.  There is a contrast to that in “The Heron and The Crane”, where it seems more like a painting.  this  painting style turned into his more normal and standard style of his work.  Although the design in the “The Tale of Tales”, it is a mixture of design for “Hedgehog in the Fog” and “The Heron and The Crane”. It also has its own style that is very different than the other two pieces. “The Tale of Tales” has more of an abstract and drawn appearance Not just an appearance, but in story as well, the story of the piece is non-linear.  

He thinks about at the mise-en-scene very closely, each of the scenes in his pieces are put together in such as way that the content of the story is not outmatched by the scenery. The lighting is always dark and clouded in the scenes, but the content is whimsical and happy. So the contrasts make the films more appealing to watch.

His technique and technology are connected they both play of each other. He created his pieces by experimenting with multiple layers of cells and using a multiplane camera setup. (Fielding,p.50) The multiplane camera setup is not something new it has been around since the beginning of disney. Which was around the time of Ub Iwerks, which was around the early 1933. A multiplane camera setup is a rack with glass plates that can be moved and adjusted to fit the needs of the project. A camera is placed on top of the rack facing down, so that it shoots the pictures beneath it. This creates depth of field and allows the viewer to focus on what is important in that scene. Norestin experimented using the multiplane camera system with multiple layers of cells. Doing it this way help create the deep textures in his pieces. The multiple cell layers gave him more of an ability to create depth within the depth he was already creating with the camera set-up. When creating the textures and the background he utilized the multiple cel set-up he created, to make the textures and the backgrounds. The reason is because you can only put so many layers of paint, ink, etc on one cel slide to create texture. So layering them on top gives it depth and a thicker,richer color style to them. Using this technique he created his artwork to  look more like a painting and less like cut-out puppets. (Kitson, pp. 42).  He would paint the edges of the cels black so that the light did not reflect through the edges.

The sense of motion in the his pieces are linear. The characters move but the background does not and vice versa. The way his characters move are very smooth, they all of anticipation and follow through. This conveys that even though that they are puppets they move as smooth as hand drawn cel animation. When the characters interact with certain elements of the environment, the environment reacts to it. In the same manner that we interact with the world, when he walk through grass the grass moves with us.

Works cited

Kitson,Clare. Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales: An Animator’s Journey. N.p.: n.p.;n.d. Print

Fielding,Raymond. Techniques of Special Effects of Cinematography. N.p.:n.p.,n.d.Print.

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