Nomint and WWF use real smoke to animate fossil fuel stop motion

Fire, ice and now smoke; Nomint continues its work with some of the hardest substances you can animate for WWF.

5 December 2023


Nomint and WWF have returned with more stop motion alchemy. Up in Smoke follows on from its 2021 film, which was animated frame-by-frame with 500 polar bear ice sculptures, and A Flammable Planet, a stop motion made with real fire (plus slow-motion, timelapse and long-exposure). Announced at COP28, Up in Smoke uses real smoke to communicate the impact of fossil fuel emissions and the urgency for global leaders to switch to 100 per cent renewable energy.

Nomint co-founder Yannis Konstantinidis has returned to direct the piece. The short features a choral version of When the Party’s Over, performed by the Social Singing Choir.

Like the duo’s 2021 film, the stop motion took a year to make. It was shot entirely on camera – pushing the boundaries of traditional animation continues to be an aim for Nomint. The central character was animated using a 3D printing technique, with over 700 individual sculptures printed in various poses. A behind-the-scenes film shows how a plastic box and tubes were used to control the flow of smoke. It also reveals the intricate hand-painted elements that came together to create supporting characters.

Up in Smoke emphasises the critical need for action against the climate crisis,” says a release. WWF will be calling on countries to commit to phase-out all fossil fuels well before 2050 at COP28. “Ambitious targets are also needed to accelerate the transformation of the global energy system to deliver 100 per cent renewable energy, increased energy efficiency and expanded energy access.”

A Flammable Planet collected a number of awards last year, including a D&AD pencil for Animation and Production Design.

GalleryWWF / Nomint: Up in Smoke (Copyright © WWF, 2023)

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WWF / Nomint: Up in Smoke (Copyright © WWF, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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