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Creator / Jim Henson's Creature Shop

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Jim Henson's Creature Shop is a visual effects and puppetry company founded in 1979 by Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets. It was originally created in partnership with Brian Froud for the production of The Dark Crystal, and subsequently used for productions like Labyrinth and The Storyteller. It received its name to differentiate it from Henson's original puppet workshop in New York City.

Following Henson's death in 1990, his son Brian took over, and the Creature Shop was moved to Camden Town. A third location opened in Burbank, California to serve Hollywood. After the Jim Henson Company sold off the rights to the Muppets to Disney in 2004, New York's Muppet Workshop was renamed Jim Henson's Creature Shop as well.

In addition to practical effects, the shop also specializes in digital puppetry, using manual puppet controls to animate a digital avatar.

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Films featuring Jim Henson's Creature Shop creations:

Television series featuring Jim Henson's Creature Shop creations:

Creature Shop projects made using digital puppetry:

Tropes Associated With Jim Henson's Creature Shop Include:

  • All-CGI Cartoon: While the studio had experimented with digital effects in the past, it wasn't until Sid the Science Kid that the Creature Shop would pursue computer animation alongside puppet fabrication.
  • Friendly Enemies: They have steady competition with Stan Winston Studios in the practical effects market. Outside of this however, both have expressed admiration for each other's work and the Henson Company even follows them on Instagram.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Fans of the Creature Shop are also fond of Puppet Heap, who they occasionally share puppetry and fabrication duties with on Muppet-related projects for Disney.
    • They also have some crossover with Industrial Light and Magic, due to their reputations for visually striking creature designs and imaginatively high concept fantasy projects. It certainly helps that they collaborated together on the cult classic 80s film Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, among other titles.
  • Older than You Think:
    • The first cartoon to be animated using digital puppetry was the obscure Cartoon Network's series The Moxy Show, which premiered 15 years before Sid the Science Kid was made.
    • Henson himself was already experimenting with digital puppetry back in the early 90's with Muppet*Vision 3D, which had an animated character created with this method named Waldo C. Graphic.
  • Practical Effects: They're one of the biggest pioneers of the medium, and even with their formation of a CG unit they don't plan to abandon this practice anytime soon.
  • Production Posse: Outside of the Henson Company, they're also the go-to puppet fabricators for Sesame Workshop.
  • Puppet Show: Given how they're a division of The Jim Henson Company, it makes sense that a bulk of their work is for these types of shows.
  • Screwed by the Network: Several of the Creature Shop's pet projects have been either stuck in development hell or flat out cancelled due to the popularity of CGI and the expensive, time consuming process with producing realistic puppetry.
  • They Also Did: outside of film and television, the Creature Shop has also provided additional work for other projects.
    • The Shop is credited with providing character designs for the 2016 animated movie Rock Dog and 1998 the video game Rascal.
    • They're also responsible for fabricating Deadmau5's iconic mouse helmet along with its variations.
    • They were commissioned by Lady Gaga to create the life-sized horse puppet she rode on for her "Monster Ball" and "Born This Way" Tours.
    • They made puppets based off of the 1933 King Kong for a couple of commercials, including the one featured in the Energizer Bunny Supervolt arc.

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