Even as studios abandon cell animation and all the attention in effects tends to go do digital rendering, there’s something to be said for real-for-real — photographing real-world things, making real things in miniature, and setting the real world into motion. While it runs afield of our usual subject matter, this video definitely qualifies as creating digital motion: marvel as an elaborate set of computer-controlled electronics makes tiny airplanes taxi, ad flags on the road flutter in miniaturized wind, choreographs intricate sets of perfect lighting, and even launches a plane on “takeoff.” These German engineers seem bright enough to put that Space Shuttle model into orbit and start servicing the ISS if they had to.

The project is the latest addition to the make-anyone-a-kid-again magic at the aptly-named Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. Blog post announcing the news on their official site:

Below, a video of the painstakingly, achingly-delicate construction process – with a lot of the electronic wizardry that goes into this place.

It’s a reminder in all motion graphics and digital motion of the power of the physical – a revelation that could be applied as much to the production of abstract or imaginary imagery as, for those with these kinds of chops, real-world locations.

Thanks to Thomas Paulsen, whose work you’ll hopefully soon on our sister Music site. (Old news to some of you, I imagine, but certainly nothing we or similar sites have covered! Now I have to get back to Hamburg.)

  • franz

    I just rewatched THX1138 yesterday and though the anmiations and specials efx looked so much better than all of the rendered stuff imo. Its a pitty the art of old shool animation is not used motion pictures anymore. Well its only about profit nowadays isnt it?

    • Bill

      you were probaly watching the remastered version with CG effects inserted. the original is pretty unremarkable in almost every way.

      • Bill

        You idiot.

  • Carlos Hernandez

    Awesome! Little big planet! 

  • franz – haven't watched 1138 in a while, but agree old school animations really set the standard! Harryhausen roolz!

    'real-for-real' –is that yours, Peter? Awesome!

    Animations are pretty great here, but they go too fast in the CU's.

  • Incredible! I'd love to see them take on something like D-Day, or something from Lord of the Rings.

  • Something about the plane's motion gives away that they are miniatures. They just don't seem heavy enough. It's like their motors aren't struggling at all to propel them. Still beautiful, though.