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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pixilation (from pixilated) is a stop motion technique where live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject in an animated film, by repeatedly posing while one or more frame is taken and changing pose slightly before the next frame or frames. The actor becomes a kind of living stop motion puppet. This technique is often used as a way to blend live actors with animated ones in a film, such as in The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb by the Bolex Brothers, which used the technique to compelling and eerie effect.

The first work known to use the pixilation technique was Emile Courtet's 1911 film Jobard ne peut pas voir les femmes travailler (Jobard cannot see the women working).

Short Films

Music videos

"Road to Nowhere" by Talking Heads
"The Hardest Button to Button" by The White Stripes
"Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel
"Point of No Return" by Nu Shooz
"Heard 'Em Say" by Kanye West
"Hello Again" by The Cars
"Shopping Trolley" by Beth Orton
"The Box" by Orbital
"The End of the World" by The Cure
"Paralyzed" by The Used
"Vermillion" by Slipknot
"Time Won't Let Me Go" by The Bravery

Michel Gondry uses pixilation in many of his videos.

The pixilation technique was also used for the opening of Claymation, Will Vinton's 1978, 17-minute documentary about his animation studio's production techniques, the first time the famous trademarked Claymation term was used, now a term synonymous with all clay animation.

The Czech animator Jan Švankmajer also uses pixilation in most of his work; most notably Food. Jan Kounen's Gisele Kerozene (1989), a short film that shows witches riding around a city on broomsticks, is another influential example of this technique. A recent example of the technique is the Stephen Malkmus' video clip "Baby C'mon" [1].

Pixilation is also used in Andrew Huang's short video, Fluxis.

An effect similar to Pixilation can be achieved by dropping occasional frames from a conventionally-recorded film. While obviously easier than the stop-frame technique, this doesn't achieve the same quality.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pixilation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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