Federick Back has been winning awards for his simple animations since the early 1980s. I watched a few and they look like children's book illustrations that have come to life. Their naive, simplistic style lends itself well to stories about children playing and cosy family scenes. They remind me a bit of The Snowman.
Watch Crac! here
John Kelly uses a mixture of real objects, mixed media, and drawn images to illustrate the concept of 'Procrastination'. He effectively uses a monotone, human voice (presumably his own) and sound effects along with everyday examples, to create humour. I actually prefer 'The Seed' which combines simple drawings with folded paper in a simpler way than before, and doesn't rely on speech to tell the story.
Gili Dolev 's 9 minute long 'Happy Duckling' is a multi award-winning children's film about a boy and his duck. Though digitally animated, the characters and sets are made to look like they're made from paper and live inside a pop-up book. The characters control the set using tabs which I think is a novel idea and looks cute.
Watch The Happy Duckling
Nexus Productions is a site which showcases a variety of commercial animators' work.
My favourite is Jonas Odell who has made music videos for Franz Ferdinand and Goldfrapp. I also like Mighty Nice's 'kinetic typography' (a change of subject means a change in typography)
Watch them all here
Ferenc Cako uses sand to cleverly create simple scenes in front of the camera. He skillfully scatters sand from his hand to make dark areas then works quickly into it to create lines, destroying them with another wipe of his hand as soon as they are finished, to move onto the next scene. He manages to shift focus and 'zoom' in and out seamlessly to tell stories. This is not stop-motion in the strictest sense, it's really film, but I like it the most out of all these videos.
Watch Hungarian Dances
5 more coming soon...