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Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) never asked to see the ghosts of dead people in his daily life, but his strange inherited talent is now the only thing standing between the cursed town of Blithe Hollow and an all-out zombie apocalypse.

Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) never asked to see the ghosts of dead people in his daily life, but his strange inherited talent is now the only thing standing between the cursed town of Blithe Hollow and an all-out zombie apocalypse.


On average, each animator shot about 4.38 seconds of film per day, which means it took an entire week of production to complete 12.78 minutes of footage. 

The Town Hall Archives sequence encompassed two full sets with over 20,000 miniature cast books, over 5,000 paper items (paperwork, maps, files, et al.), and over 400 hand-folded file boxes. 

It took 18 carpenters, 18 model builders, 6 riggers, 12 scenic painters, 11 greens artists, and 10 set dressers to create some three dozen unique locations for ParaNorman. 

Norman’s signature hairstyle had 275 spikes. His hair was primarily made out of goat hair held together with hot glue, hair gel, fabric, and super glue, as well as medical adhesive, Pros-Aide make-up adhesive, thread, and wire.  Once built, it was hand-finished with paint and human hair dye.

Norman had about 8,000 replacement faces with a range of individual brow and mouth pieces, giving Norman a range of approximately 1.5 million possible facial expressions.

It took at least 3-4 months to craft a new puppet from start to finish, not including design or testing time. Sixty puppet makers created 61 characters made up of 178 individual puppets, including 28 individual full body puppets for Norman alone. 

The biggest number of unique faces used in a single shot was 545, spread across seven different characters. The shot, near the end of the film, is 42.7 seconds (1,024 frames) long and took over a month to shoot. 

Each replacement face was built from hundreds of layers of fine white powder in a 3D printer, a process that took about five or six hours to become ready to use on-set. Printing the faces took four 3D printers a combined total of 572 days of straight print time.

Replacement faces were used on puppets to allow a wider range of expressions for each character. Over 250 unique faces were utilized for one character to create a single shot that lasted only 27 seconds on screen. 

ParaNorman was the first stop-motion movie to utilize a 3D Color Printer to create replacement faces for its puppets in a process called “Rapid Prototyping." Over 31,000 individual face parts were printed for the production. 


LAIKA's ParaNorman video reveals how to make a boy who sees ghosts from scratch

LAIKA, makers of Coraline and the upcoming ParaNorman, gives us a peek inside their stop-motion animation process with this fun little "making-of" featurette.

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The CEO Who Plays With Dolls: ParaNorman Producer Travis Knight

Fast Company returned in the fall to get a firsthand look at how Knight balances his creativity–he made 15,000 frames himself, almost 10 percent of the movie–with managing a business.

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Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween: ParaNorman

ParaNorman, the story of a little boy who can speak to the dead, examines some very dark subject matter with the group’s trademark delicate touch.

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How 3D printing changed the face of ParaNorman

There's no signage indicating our destination -- no giant, looming cartoon characters or even a logo, just a faceless building in a maze of industrial parks, about 17 miles outside of Portland.

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With ParaNorman, Laika Aims to Push Animation Boundaries

For the last several years in suburban Portland a team of artists has been using new tools and perspectives to take a more traditional kind of animation, stop motion, further into the 21st century.

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35 Things to Know About PARANORMAN From Our Set Visit

In the middle of February, I was able to visit LAIKA Studios in Hillsboro, Oregon to get an early look at their upcoming 3D stop-motion movie ParaNorman.

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ParaNorman costume designs no small effort

What goes into designing a costume for film. But what about when the star is a 9-inch-tall puppet named Norman?

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Why ParaNorman Featured the First Gay Character in an Animated Film

The right-wing said this animated story of a bullied kid was part of the secret gay agenda. So we asked the movie's creators what they have to say for themselves.

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Travis Knight Talks ParaNorman, Expanding The Studio and Pushing Boundaries

While they have only produced two films so far - Coraline and ParaNorman - both movies are so brilliantly designed and have such wonderfully told stories that it’s hard not to start expecting greatness from LAIKA.


Annie Awards & Nominations

Best Character Design Award
Best Character Animation Award
Plus 6 More Nominations

BAFTA Nomination

Best Animated Feature Film

Academy Award® Nomination

Best Animated Feature Film


Best Feature Film

Online Film Critics Society
Chicago Film Critics Association
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Plus 12 other critics groups

Best Animated Feature


ParaNorman represents unparalleled innovation in handmade storytelling – a new future for a 100-year-old art form.”

Wired Magazine

“A handcrafted marvel with singular sensibility and sophisticated wit.”


“4 stars. A visually breathtaking 3-D stop-motion fantasy.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“There’s magic in ParaNorman.”

Rolling Stone

“Spectacular. So good it’s scary. The year’s most visually dazzling movie so far.”

New York Post

“It’s so real you could almost reach out and touch it. Gorgeous.”


ParaNorman may be the most fun you’ll have with ghosts and zombies all year.”

Los Angeles Times