Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Book Has Arrived!

Took awhile, but I finally have a copy of my book in my hands! The kids like it too. Jay had to take a picture to match the one she took 4 years ago with my first one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stop Motion Marvels

I'm proud to announce here the release of an amazing DVD I have been privileged to co-produce with my friend and colleague Steve Stanchfield and his company Thunderbean Animation...STOP MOTION MARVELS!

This disc has been in the works for about 7 years, and Steve and I would talk about it often, waiting for all the necessary material and research to be collected at just the right time. The material you will find on his disc is nothing short of amazing, particularly the lost shorts by the Kinex Studio. I was blown away by these films when I first saw them, and I'm so glad the secret is out for all the world to enjoy them. Steve and his colleague Stuart McKissick did a great job compiling all of the research behind these shorts, all laid out in a 12-page booklet that is incredibly well-written. Commentaries are contributed by Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh at Screen Novelties, Puppetoon animator/puppeteer Bob Baker, Larry Larson, Jim Danforth, and also Steve Stanchfield and myself (commenting through Skype between BC and Michigan).

I also re-animated Steve's ThunderBean logo in stop-motion using tiny clay replacement puppets, and have documented the production process in my new book.

ORDER A COPY TODAY! It may be the most amazing thing you purchase all year.

Lyfe Updates

Trying to fill the blog up with some random highlights of interesting things that have happened recently during the interim months of finishing my book and gradually coming out of hiding. Let's see...

Ariel was in a JELLO commercial! Through random pulling people off the streets of Ladner and offering to shoot them eating pudding cups, Ariel got picked to be in the final cut. For this 1 second of fame, she got $500, which pays for her plane ticket to Michigan & New York later this summer. We might need to get her in pictures if we want to travel more eh? Watch for her to flash in at the :20 mark.

I got to travel across Canada to give some Info Sessions for VanArts, visiting Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton. Didn't see much of Winnipeg at all, but I did get to meet a fellow artist from the online stop-motion community, Emily Baxter, known online as emmyymme...always a neat thing to meet online folks in person. Saskatoon was quite a beautiful city and I got to catch up with my old friend Augusto Kapronczai and see the animation studio where he's working. The whole time I was traveling across various time zones through hotels and family homes, my book was in the middle of the editing/layout process and the editors were scrambling to squeeze in all the was pretty crazy.

Let's see, what dad visited us and we had a nice time hanging out with the kids and seeing sights of Vancouver.

3 generations of Priebe!

I won an award from the Canadian Church Press for my Breath of Life article!

I am also featured in a book from Belgium about puppets. The author, Hubert Stuyvert, wrote to me about a year ago asking me to contribute some words and images about stop-motion puppetry, specifically how to apply it to teaching children. So I sent him a little blurb, and it's all been translated into Dutch. The rest of the book looks great...I wish I could read it, but apparently they're seeking a publisher to print some copies in English.

Found an old family photo of my ancestors, Bartholemew and Gertrude von Potassium-Spatula. Strangely enough they look so much like my own kids.

We've also had lots of weddings, lots of fun family gatherings, and lots of wine (well, me at least).

I'm gradually moving into a new role at VanArts, dissolving out of Admissions and into the role of Communications Director, which means doing more of the stuff I enjoy like videos, web stuff, publicity, and maintaining the website & social networking. I'll be learning lots of new stuff so expect some new developments coming soon, including a new website for myself on the side. Oh yeah, and the school is also moving into a new building. Woot.

And finally, my new book is now in stock. Here is my little teaser commercial for it.

The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation from Ken Priebe on Vimeo.

Ariel's Post

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Breath of Life Animation Festival 2010

It was another successful run of Breath of Life this year, with a great team of regular and new volunteers and participants. Workshops were led by myself, Gautam Modkar, Raghuram Vannemreddy, Blake & Nicole Standard, Bronwen Kyffin, Melanie Vachon, Mike Jahnke and Jenn Isaak.

Here's a reel of the day's animation! Good times!

Breath of Life Animation Festival 2010 from Ken Priebe on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cut, Print, that's a Wrap!

I've finally come out of hiding to the Boundaries again after several months of hard labor in the stop-motion mines, but this will be a quick announcement post to simply say the book is officially out of my hands! Also below is what I posted on for what you can find inside. I will post more later to catch up on this and everything else.

Ken Priebe's new book 'The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation' is off to the printers for release date of June 23, including a Foreward by Henry Selick!

SEE...the first full documented history on 80 years of feature-length stop-motion puppet films, from 'Tale of the Fox' to 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'. coverage of puppet-building techniques using plug-ins, silicone, rapid prototyping, replacements, and the inner workings of puppets by artists such as Dave Hettmer, Ron Cole and the Chiodo Bros. Uncle Creepy!

SEE...information on shooting with Digital SLR cameras, camera rigs, and stereoscopic 3D.

SEE...information on animation techniques and tons of coverage on digital compositing and visual effects.

SEE...8 new interviews with the following stop-motion artists:
-Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh & Chris Finnegan of Screen Novelties
-Pete Kozachik, ASC
-Trey Thomas
-Bronwen Kyffin
-Larry Bafia and Webster Colcord
-Marc Spess
-Ryan McCulloch
-Justin and Shel Rasch

AND...on the enclosed CD:
-QuickTime Animation Clips for studying animation principles, dialogue, and compositing, including 2 clips in 3D by Justin Rasch.

-2 additional Bonus Appendices in pdf format, with loads of content and pictures on...

~Stop-Motion Education (Courses at CalArts, Sheridan College, Academy of Art University, workshops by Jurgen Kling & Lee Skinner)

~The Stop-Motion Animation Community online and in festivals, with URL links embedded to take you DIRECTLY to many amazing websites and production blogs.

Available for pre-order now at!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who made it possible!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Puppets on the Brain

Here is a menagerie of puppet characters in progress, in the flesh, on the brain and in the world but not of the world...

At Spark FX several weeks ago, Jason Vanderhill, local curator of all things Colargol (Jeremy) the Bear, brought his collection of original puppets to show VanArts VFX instructor Shawn Tilling, another big fan of the show...

Took the kids downtown for the Olympic festivities and met giant-sized puppet mascots Miga, Sumi and Quatchi...

As I assemble various characters for the book, here's where I've been spending a good number of hours these days, in my newly converted drawing desk to a puppet workshop desk, getting light-headed from the latex fumes. The other night I was having a difficult time trying to find a way to snap some doll armature pieces together. Ariel, ever the concerned daughter, started talking on her pretend cel phone...'Hello, helpers? Can you come over and help my daddy with his puppets?'

Out on the deck, where it's better ventilated, she continues to be a big help as progress moves forward on a sea creature for Halfland!

Here's another guy hangin' around while he dries and ponders life as a puppet while his creator looks forward to burgers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Overdue Blog for 2010

Sigh...yes, I'm still alive. Way too pre-occupied with book writing, caffiene, family and work to keep the Boundaries filled, but that is no excuse. So Happy New Year! Woot!

I suppose I'll start by posting some pictures of our family visit from over Christmas-time. It was certainly one of the best Christmases we've ever had, and extra special since it was Xander's first one, and the first meeting for my mom and brothers. Very special indeed.

It was really nice to relax for a few days before returning to work. Since then, life has been pretty much all about coming home, playing with the kids for awhile and then cracking open multiple Coke Zeros to work on the new book. At this point, my interview chapters are pretty much done, pending a few more images, so the rest of it is the 'instructional' stuff on cameras, puppets, animation and effects, plus the history of feature-length puppet films. The next few months will involve lots more writing, along with lots of puppet-building and animation, which I really need to get crackin' on. I've been debating my preference for the book's title. Currently the publishers have it tentatively titled 'The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation', which is true in the sense that this book covers more advanced material than the first one. But part of me is wondering if 'The Art of Stop-Motion Animation, Volume 2' would work better. Any thoughts?

My stop-motion course has also started up again and I have 4 enthusiastic students so I'm expecting it will be a good run. In my opening history lecture, one of my students brought up a freaky stop-motion series she remembered as a kid growing up in Iran based on Rupert the Bear. I had seen hand-drawn cartoon versions of Rupert but didn't realize there was a stop-motion version too. So we quickly looked it up on YouTube, and I was absolutely TERRIFIED!!! The shots of these freaky puppet heads zooming towards the camera is incredibly disturbing. Of course I love stuff like this, but this is almost too much.

My online students start up again in a couple weeks too. Also this week is Spark FX, which I'll be volunteering at and checking out a few events...looking forward to catching up with whoever I run into from our local animation/fx community.

I shall try to post more as I move forward into my marathon of book writing and other stuff. We shall see.