Laika Shows Us How They Make Stop-Motion Animation Look So Ridiculously Perfect

If there’s one name that’s become synonymous with stop-motion animation, it’s Laika. The Oscar-winning animation studio has brought us iconic films like Coraline, ParaNorman, and Kubo and the Two Strings. As they prepare for their latest venture, Missing Link, Laika has brought its best animators to San Diego Comic-Con to show us exactly how they bring these stories to life. And now... we’re going to show you, too.

Laika has brought its Laika Live exhibit back to San Diego, and it’s an impressively fun experience. The large exhibition featured tons of props, puppets, and sets from some of the studio’s most popular films, with animators in their stations showing how they make, move, and film these creations. Characters from all their ironic films were on hand to take photos with fans, and Coraline star Teri Hatcher even stopped by to declare that playing The Other Mother was her favorite role to date. It’s a special year for the studio because they’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of Coraline, based on the classic Neil Gaiman story.


The studio also gave us a peek at their next film, Missing Link, with animators telling us it’s pushing the boundaries of stop-motion animation—especially with how they represent breathing and fur movement. It stars Zach Galifianakis as Mr. Link, a mysterious creature discovered by researcher Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) in the Pacific Northwest, and they go on an adventure to find Shangri-La and Link’s long-lost family. The film also features Zoe Saldana and is set to come out April 19, 2019.

Be sure to check out our video for a gorgeous look at Laika Live. We’ve also got a slideshow below featuring some of our favorite highlights.


Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.



“One week of animation work amounts for just 3-4 seconds of screen time.”

Given its running time of 100 minutes, that would mean Coraline took about 29 years of “animation work” to create. So how does this figure actually break down? Is it like a team of 20 animators produces 60-80 seconds of screen time in a week, broken down to 3-4 seconds per animator? Or are there multiple teams working in tandem?