The pioneer of stop-motion animation who gave life to some of cinemas most imaginative creatures, has died at the age of 92. Today, we remember the artist…
It's sad news that the great Ray Harryhausen has died. Ray pioneered new film visual effects and techniques and did so on his terms, even if the budgets never quite matched his vision.
The family of Harryhausen announced his passing in London. He was 92 years old.
If you wanted to bring a skeleton army to life or have a Greek colossus stomp your heroes into mush in the days before digital, you called the one man who could make it happen: Ray Harryhausen.
As one of the most highly acclaimed stop-motion animators of the pre-digital era, Ray worked on some all-time classic movies, including War of the Worlds, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, and the epic Clash of the Titans.
The creatures Ray animated would always steal the scenes from the human actors – he managed to make them gruesome but also emotive. To achieve this Ray would immerse himself in the movie project, creating rough sketches before drawing a scene and then preparing the sequence’s storyboards. Only then would he construct the models and begin the task of animating the titanic battle that would ensue.
Working in clay to create his models, Ray would then painstakingly design the creature’s moveable skeleton before covering the armature in latex and the days of animation could begin.
Inspired by traditional painters John Martin, Gustave Doré, Charles Knight, and Joseph Michael Gandy, whose painting Jupiter Pluvius depicted an enormous statue of Jupiter, that statue would form the inspiration for Ray’s version of Olympus as seen in Clash of the Titans.
These days Ray has become an inspiration for an army of filmmakers from George Lucas to Peter Jackson, who all credit him as an influence.
He'll be greatly missed, but like all the greats he's left us with great art, experiences and memories to cherish.