Go Behind the (Crazy-Complex) Scenes of The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls is the first period piece from stop-motion animation studio Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman), and the first of their films to include creatures—the terrifying(ly adorable) subterranean dwellers who wear boxes. It’s the tale of the stratified town of Cheesebridge, where the rich live up high, nibbling piles of fromage and waltzing their nights away, and the misunderstood Boxtrolls dwell far below, scrounging for bugs and mechanical parts. The heart of the story is a boy, Eggs, who straddles both societies.

The movie is set in a Dickensian fantasy world, which allowed the entire crew of Laikans—hundreds of them—to give their imaginations free rein. The sets and costumes, the flexible puppets, the lushly shaded 3D-printed faces—they were all made by hand. To really understand how this laborious, intensive art form works, you need to meet the people who make such a production possible, from the set fabrication coordinator to the CG facial animator. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the talented technicians and artists who bring a movie like this to life—by hand, over many years, one frame at a time.

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