Aardman Animations (UK)

From CLG Wiki

Background: Aardman Animations, Ltd., also known as Aardman Studios, or simply as Aardman, is a British animation studio based in Bristol, which was founded in 1972. Aardman is known for films made using stop-motion clay animation techniques, particularly those featuring Plasticine characters Wallace and Gromit. After some experimental computer animated short films during the late 1990s, beginning with Owzat, it entered the computer animation market with Flushed Away. Aardman films have made $972.1 million worldwide and average $163 million per film. All of their stop motion films are among the highest-grossing stop-motion films, with their first feature film, Chicken Run, being their top-grossing film as well as the highest-grossing stop motion films. In 1999, Aardman made a deal with DreamWorks to co-finance and distribute films. Together they produced Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Flushed Away. However, not too long before the release of the latter in 2006, it was revealed that Aardman and DreamWorks would not extend their contract due to creative differences. But, in the next year, Aardman made a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment (which was renewed in 2010). Aardman had produced 2 films with Sony: Arthur Christmas (the studio's first 3D animated film), and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (known in the US and internationally as The Pirates! Band of Misfits and was also Aardman's first 3D stop motion film). The deal ended in 2012 with the disappointing performance of The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2015, Aardman bought a majority share in New York-based animation studio Nathan Love. The studio's name is taken from Aardman, one of the characters they created for Vision On (a show for deaf children), which was the very first thing Aardman worked on. Aardman had a brief distribution deal with Lionsgate to release films in the US starting with The Shaun the Sheep Movie in 2015. It ended with the disappointing performance of Early Man in early 2018. In 2019, Aardman began a deal with Netflix, which has been distributing Aardman films globally starting with Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie in late 2019-early 2020.

1st Logo

(July 15, 1989-January 1, 1999)


Nicknames: "The Clayface", "The Materials"

Logo: On a sunny sky blue background, we see the top of a clay green planet with a river running through it, trees, etc. The planet turns right and a red/yellow polkadot bowtie shaped butterfly places itself on a patch of blue and white, which appears to be a suit. As this is happening, the letters

A

A

R

D

M

A

N

in various shapes, arrange and form themselves to the right so they are in separate wooden boxes which form in the same time. A brown pillar, a staircase, A wooden pillar with a yellow and black zigzag plank, and two pieces of wood also arrange and form themselves as a picture frame. A smiling clay face drops from behind the top part of the frame to the suit where we can't see the eyes. Then four clouds drop into place in the sky, as

Aardman Animations

presents

(in white)

fades in below. All of this takes place inside a small white box against a black background.

Variants:

  • Sometimes, a still version of this logo exists with different text and a copyright notice below.
  • On Not Without My Handbag and The Wrong Trousers, the logo is shown to be altered: the smile is different, the number of red pots on the bowtie is slightly reduced and the last "A" in the vertical stacked "AARDMAN" is in a different style.
  • The print logo does exist on the end card of Rex the Runt: it has the font from the next logo and it seems to be the face speaking through a megaphone with stars (with the one from the next logo) shooting out of it.
  • There is an alternate version of this logo shown on the VHS Aardman Animations Vol. 1. The box, instead of the normal animation, shows a time-lapse video of a man in a set building the logo together. After a while, we zoom in to the logo and the finished result is the altered variant, and "Aardman Animations presents" is in an different font.
  • At the end of the VHS Aardman Animations Vol. 1, the normal logo plays, but the text says "Coming Soon: Aardman Animations Vol II", in a different font.

FX/SFX: The river, the butterfly flying, the face dropping down, the clouds dropping, and the whole scene turning. Very impressive animation that has aged really well over the years.

Music/Sounds: Two ominous violin notes, followed by a 3-note flute tune, a musical "thud" as the head falls into place, and two more short bass violin notes as the clouds fall into place and bounce. At the beginning of the logo, water can be heard.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • A slightly lower pitched version was found when Cartoon Network aired The Wrong Trousers on April 21, 2012 and on later North American prints of A Close Shave (due to the PAL-to-NTSC conversion).
  • On the Aardman Animations Vol. 1 variant, we hear an eerie tune with several synth toms, crash-like sound effects and a harp-like noise when the logo zooms in.
  • At the end of A Close Shave, we hear sheep bleating over the logo.
  • At the end of The Wrong Trousers, we hear the final note of the closing theme.

Availability: Seen on many Aardman shorts, most notably the Wallace & Gromit shorts A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave; it was removed on the 2001 DVD containing all three shorts (from BBC/Warner Home Video, a still version with copyright information was seen at the end of TWT and ACS) but was put back in for one W&G short (A Close Shave) on Wallace and Gromit in Three Grand Adventures when it was released by DreamWorks (and the 2005 region 4 DVD release containing all 3 shorts). The logo is intact on the CBS-Fox VHS prints of those shorts, so check eBay, Amazon, or a local thrift store for those tapes. Also seen on Netflix's prints of those three shorts when they decide to put them on again.

Editor's Note: This is a favorite of Aardman fans, and stop motion fans in general.


2nd Logo

(1998-2000's)


Nicknames: "The Machine", "Gears"

Logo: On a light cerulean-blue background with three matching gears, we slowly zoom toward a blue square with a red star (with gears inside) on it. It has little arms, legs, and a head, and is running on a green gear-like object that has some of the letters of "Aardman" printed on it in red and green and some letters in red are spinning around in different directions on black sticks by teal and green gears. Surrounding the square are clouds, hands, cars, trees, anthropomorphic planes, houses, buildings, and people rotating around on different colored gears. A human hand then reaches out from the right, grabs the square, and presses its head like a stopwatch, freezing the scenery. "Aardman" is formed below.

Variants:

  • On Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit, a short version was used.
  • A in-credit version is used on later episodes of Rex the Runt.

FX/SFX: All the animation used, which is done in a strange, sketchbook-like style.


Music/Sounds: A sly jazz tune with ticking that stops when the logo does.


Music/Sounds Variants:

  • On the Pathé print of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the opening theme of the movie is heard.
  • On Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions on Disc 2 (Cracking Extras) of the 2 disc edition of the DVD of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the logo is low pitched. This can only be seen when you press "Play All".

Availability: Seen on later episodes of Rex the Runt, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and the Pathé print of Chicken Run, though it was absent on the DreamWorks print (due to the length of the DreamWorks logo at the start of the film. However, a still version of the next logo below is seen at the end). It did, however, appear on the Chicken Run video game for PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC.

Editor's Note: An interesting logo


3rd Logo

(June 23, 2000- )


Logo: On a black background, we see the current Aardman logo, taking the workmark and one of the stars on the top left of the text from the 1st print logo. The entire logo is also red and has tiny spots surrounding the logo.

Variants:

  • Sometimes, there is a copyright notice below the logo.
  • On TV shows and at the end of films, the logo is a still image.
  • On Wallace & Gromit's Cracking Contraptions, the Shaun the Sheep game for Nintendo DS and 2016 Morph episodes, a white background is used.
  • Sometimes the logo is white or black.
  • On Shaun the Sheep, this logo is shown at the top, with the CBBC logo (a green egg shape with a big purple C on it and the BBC logo below in white) in the center. Copyright info is shown below.
  • On Timmy Time, Wussywat the Clumsy Cat, Digby Dragon, The Peculiar Adventures of Hector, episodes of the reboot of Morph on YouTube and Purple and Brown, the logo is in-credit. The white version is also used in credit on Creature Comforts and later episodes of Shaun the Sheep, while the black in credit version appeared on some videos on the Morph YouTube channel.
  • Sometimes, the star is slightly shifted further away from the word.
  • On Flushed Away, an animated version, mostly like a prototype version of the 4th logo. The text appears by rolling up on a invisible roller, and the star pops in after it emerges.
  • A filmed variant was spotted on a Russian print of Flushed Away.

FX/SFX: None.

Music/Sounds: None, just the ending music of the show or the film.

Availability: Current; the variant is seen on Aardman-produced TV shows. Seen at the end of Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Flushed Away plus shows such as the English version of A Town Called Panic, the television version of Creature Comforts (along with the American version),and Shaun the Sheep. The logo variant can also be seen on Flushed Away.

Editor's Note: None.


4th Logo

(November 23, 2011-)


Logo: On a black background, we see the Aardman logo peeling up out of the blackness, while a printed reflection is seen at an angle below. When the logo fully appears, the reflection fades out, leaving just the logo.

Variants:

  • There is a cinematic variant, where the print blocks of "Aardman" are placed in the machine. A pair of tweezers puts the star print block in its matching slot. Then we zoom out and pan as the machine starts up and we see on the other side that "Aardman" and the star is printed on the conveyor belt. This was initially exclusive to online before making it's debut on Early Man. The regular version described above is a shorter version.
  • On Shaun the Sheep Movie, there's a custom variant of the logo. On a gray background, we see the sheep from the TV series the movie, based off of huddled around, before moving to reveal the letters of "Aardman", printed on their bodies. They accidentally form "Amadran", and 2 of the sheep move around to form "Aardman". A tiny staircase is pushed into the picture, and Timmy (a character from Shaun the Sheep) climbs onto it while wearing a red star.
  • On A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, there's another custom variant of the logo. On a black background, a spotlight is seen turning on, revealing one of the sheep in a tuxedo, standing with a keyboard and a stand with sheet music. A off-screen voice quietly attracts him to the screen, surprising on the sight of us. He then plays a few trumpet notes on it, which light up part of the text above one by one in different colors, followed by a few more with tuba notes. He then notices the sheet music and flips it to the next page, and then puts his hooves on the keyboard, causing the "Aardman" text in its entirety to be revealing in glowing orange. He then turns off the keyboard, causing the star to appear and then walks away with the sheet music as the logo turns into its print variant and the spotlight switches off. The text then fades out, leaving the star as it zooms away, becomes white, and becomes part of the starfield as the opening of the movie begins.

FX/SFX: The CGI sliding animation.

Music/Sounds: A quiet grinding noise plays as the logo slides in, then silence, or the opening music of the film.

Availability: Seen on Arthur Christmas, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Early Man. It's expected to appear on future Aardman films.

Editor's Note: TBA.

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