Phil Tippett – Stop motion animator, producer, director, extraordinaire

Star Wars Episode VII came out the other day and the internet has been going crazy with spoilers and nostalgia and documentaries and old tv spots and anything remotely related to the Star Wars Franchise. The animated internet world is no different, with documentaries and interviews of animation in star wars appearing everywhere online. Anyway Phil Tippett is amazing and has worked on and had a massive impact on some of the greatest and some of my favourite films.

For Jurassic park Phil was credited as the Dinosaur Supervisor, which sparked people to question his credulities, i mean honestly, YOU HAD ONE JOB PHIL!!

Vice documentary – My Life In Monsters: Meet the Animator Behind Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and ‘Mad God’

From the videos description:

Phil Tippett is the Oscar-winning stop-motion animator and designer behind some of the greatest fantasy creatures and sci-fi set pieces in cinema history. From his humble beginnings as an alien patron in the iconic Cantina sequence from ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’, to pioneering stop-motion techniques used throughout ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’, to seamlessly merging practical animation and CGI in Jurassic Park and beyond. In ‘My Life in Monsters’, VICE chronicles Tippett’s legendary life work, illustrating the process behind his greatest creations, the emotional hardships of transitioning into Hollywood’s digital revolution, and completing his return-to-form, stop-motion opus with the brutal, dystopian ‘Mad God’.

MAD GOD – Teaser Trailer

[Uploaded to Youtube on 14 October 2010]

Phil Tippett interview on Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles – MAD GOD

MAD GOD is still in the process of being completed. This: is the official website, where you can find news, relevant info and links and actually buy the first part of the four part film. Here: is the kickstarter page for part one that finished long  ago but has some interesting stuff there, like ‘2,523 backers pledged $124,156 to help bring this project to life’ and also cool film stills and concept art.

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I am subscribed to this Youtube channel called ‘Tested’ which i found because of my love of Mythbusters and for Adam Savage; one of the hosts of Mythbusters alongside the amazing Jamie Hyneman. On Tested Adam and two other hosts make stuff, feature cool things, interview cool people and generally just post videos with cool stuff. Adam worked on movies and has a history of building and creating and crafting things so often they feature Adams creations and the processes he uses to make stuff. Anyway they have recently been going mad for Star Wars, naturally, as they are all big fans and Adam actually worked on Star Wars The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars. Anyway here’s a really cool interview they did with Phil about the Holochess used in The Force Awakens:

Making the Holochess for Star Wars : The Force Awakens!

From the video description:

[Note: This video contains a very minor spoiler about a special effects sequence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens]

One of the many surprises in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that delighted fans was the appearance of the Dejarik holochess game on the Millennium Falcon. Adam Savage went behind-the-scenes at Tippett Studio to watch Phil Tippett and his team create the stop-motion animation sequence, and learns a secret about how this cameo connects to the original Star Wars!

See the holochess pieces up close in these photos:…

Thanks so much to Tippett Studio for giving us access to this amazing process!

Phil Tippett’s Prehistoric Beast

This is the full short film by Phil that was featured and he spoke about in the Vice documentary that he was told was too scary for children.

From the video description:

This stop motion short film, made in a garage in 1984, was the catalyst that launched the wild idea of creating an independent business whose sole purpose was to create animation for movies. And so began Tippett Studio. Phil sort of had an inkling that Dinosaurs might be once again popular as PB preceded a wave of popular interest in dinosaurs spurred on in 1990 with the publishing of Michael Crichton’s book, Jurassic Park and the subsequent blockbuster movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993.


‘The Wonderful World of Pudy’ – The Line Project Final Film

For this project we were asked to create a 2D animation that tells a story using the three act structure of a character overcoming an obstacle in pursuit of an objective.

The film above is not my final film. There is no dialogue and the mouth movements when talking are not all cleaned up final versions. The film is not really complete either, but its already over 30 seconds so i cut it short and decided it would be even weirder than it already was. Cutting the story like that speaks volumes of my planning for this project.

I learned a lot about TvPaint (the software i used) from doing this little animation. I managed to squeeze a walk cycle, a little jump, (unfinished) dialogue, a bush coming to life, funny eye rolling and frantic arm-waving into this short animation. I think pushing myself to do more than required backfired a little bit here, the animation could have been a lot simpler and the story could have actually fit the brief. I had ideas which would have worked well for that stuff, but in the end i wanted to do something which was different and a bit subversive. I wanted to have a character that was funny and silly and when met with an obstacle would fail to overcome it at all. I think i spent too long planning and coming up with ideas, only to just move forward loosely with an idea and then further develop more ideas for said idea, leading to multiple ideas and characters and obstacles. It just became a bit confusing, and i could have obviously made my life a lot simpler and less confusing if i had properly organised myself and what i was doing. I think that i should have started animating a lot earlier than i did, and in the future i need to make sure i set aside more time for that.

Even though the project is finished I still plan to complete the film, the audio is recorded and just needs editing into the film. The foley for the film was all taken from the YouTube library, although i did record a little piano jingle for the intro to the animation, although i also recorded a few other intro styles as well (none of which are in this version of the film yet). In the end although the project will be over, if i can organise my time better i plan to do a few version of the film, because when recording the audio we tried a few different voices and said different stuff.



Vera Brosgol was born in Moscow, Russia in 1984 and moved to the United States when she was five. She received a diploma in Classical Animation from Sheridan College, and currently  works at Laika Inc. in Portland, Oregon drawing storyboards  for feature animation.

She has done illustration work for clients such as Nickelodeon,  Sony Computer Entertainment, and Simon & Schuster.  Her first graphic novel, Anya’s Ghost, was published in 2011 by First Second Books.

She loves knitting, baking, and trying not to kill her plants.  She hopes you are enjoying looking at her drawings!


“Snow-Bo” is the film I made with my roommate and good buddy Jenn Kluska in my third and final year at Sheridan College. It’s the story of a young boy, terrorized by his peers, who finds a friend in an unlikely place.

The film was made using traditional methods, animated in pencil and cleaned up with brush and ink. The backgrounds are watercolor on board, and the color and compositing was all done digitally. Sam Allison was kind enough to compose a song for me.

Credit-wise, the story and concept are mine, as are the background paintings. Jenn did about half of the rough animation, and a huge chunk of the color and compositing while I was locked in my room cleaning everything up. I couldn’t have done it without her. The film won the Nelvana “Best Film” prize at the end of the year.

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The Line Project – Progression

I have been working on my animation for The Line project on TvPaint, getting to grips with the tools and everything, so here are some progress videos of how its going.

I decided for now that the obstacle is a bush which wakes up and yells back at Pudy, but i may well change that into something else before Friday, i really don’t know. For this project i haven’t focused on the story as much as i have just learning different things in TvPaint. I have a walk cycle, expressions on a character, a small jump, dialogue which will hopefully look good and like the character is talking. So i have tried to use this project to get used to the software and produce something which displays a few different things, and hopefully i will be able to pull them off and make it look good.

The story has definitely suffered, although I’m confident the end product will be great, i should have decided on a story and just stuck with it, but i have this habit of just coming up with more and then getting distracted. So the story has gone in a few different directions as i have gone alone, which si great for changing things on the fly and adding new stuff, but it means that the whole thing can get lost along the way.

Anyway here’s the progress videos: