Photographer’s Year-Long Stop Motion Project Imitated by AI in Four Days


A photographer and filmmaker spent a year painstakingly handcrafting a stop-motion music video but then took just four days to make a second animated film for the same band using artificial intelligence (AI).

Greek artist Nicholas Kouros spent “hundreds of hours” collecting images for the meme-themed music video Ruined by the metal band Blame Kandinsky available to view on YouTube here.

“Most of Ruined was made using public domain paintings and art found on museum websites like Rijks or the Met,” Kouros tells PetaPixel.

“My partner @bassmentrats worked on a number of illustrations of more contemporary stuff, such as a teenager’s room or the re-imagined dystopian streets of Hopper’s Nighthawks.”

Warning: The video contains graphic images that some may find disturbing.

Kouros and his partner also used popular memes such as “Spiderman in a hospital,” which had to be upscaled through Gigapixel AI.

Making the collages
camera setup
Camera rig

Once Kouros had all of his material he then worked on making the collages in Photoshop; creating puppets, backgrounds, and various moving objects which were all printed on matte paper to avoid reflections.

“Cutting out all individual pieces was a serious task. Some of the setups were so labor-intensive, I had friends over for days to help out,” says Kouros.

“Every piece was then assembled using various methods, such as connecting through rivets and hinges. We shot everything at 12fps using Dragonframe on a DIY rostrum setup with a mirrorless Sony a7S II and a Zeiss ZE f/2 50mm Macro-Planar lens.”

Collage making
Nicholas Kouros

After everything had been shot, the RAW image sequences were imported to After Effects and later graded in DaVinci Resolve.

Kouros says he enjoys animating with paper after growing discontented with keyframing in After Effects.

“I really enjoy working with a tactile medium, like paper. It just feels more right for me,” he adds.

The resulting video is a chaotic masterpiece with a clever story told by memes woven throughout.

“During quarantine, memes were one of our main ways of communicating daily, as they clearly encompass such a wide range of emotion and ideas, albeit exclusively through irony and humor,” Kouros says of the concept.

“Out of hundreds of memes shared, I chose the most significant ones to me and used their narratives to try and tell our story. This is a cynical and morbid collection of my vision of the future.”

Shortening Worktime with AI

Speaking of morbid visions of the future, Kouros created a second music video but this time he used AI and the video took a fraction of the time to make.

“In direct contrast with my previous work for the same band, Vague by Blame Kandinsky, it took a little over four days of experimenting, used a single line of AI text prompting, and 20 hours of rendering,” Kouros explains.

“The text prompt line used was: ‘Occult Ritual, Rosemary’s Baby Scream, Flemish renaissance, painting by Robert Crumb, Death.’”

Kouros describes his experience with AI as “fun” and was impressed with the results that the image synthesizer gave him.

“In my opinion, this specific style of animation won’t stand the test of time, but it will probably be a reminder of times before this AI thing really took off.

“I embrace new tech as it comes along and I have already started making images with the aid of image generators. I’ve actually learned more about art history in this last year using AI, than in seven years of art schools.”

More of Kouros’s work can be found on his website and Instagram.