Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Stopmotion: Some Adjustments

  I know these photos are a bit dark, but the lighting in that room isn't great. Day two of the shoot, I've modified the camera tripod. Firstly, if you're shooting on carpet... DONT. I originally wanted the entire third scene to have a slow zoom into SDS' face. I had to stop because turning the lense to zoom incrementally each frame was causing the camera to go all sorts of crazy places. This was, I think, because of three problems: 

Firstly, the carpet lets the tripod sink and shift at will. Getting it back on track each frame isn't impossible, but it eats up valuable time and isn't smart. I SHOULD have known this. I had learned this lesson from the first establishing shot which was all camera movement and nothing else..... but I guess I got lazy. I solved this (hopefully) by putting a piece of plywood down and hot gluing pieces of wood around each leg so nothing can shift. 

Secondly, the tripod knobs weren't tightened. No wonder the camera wanted to shift, nothing was secure!!! I think because I knew this was going to be a test run, I didn't care about taking my time and doing things right. I was too excited about puppeting a stopmotion puppet! So I tightened everything that I could on the tripod. I even took off the neck strap so there would be less in the way of the cords and me. 

Thirdly, the tripod is a lightweight aluminum one. That means the heavy-ish Canon Rebel T1i is making the whole thing top heavy. A lot of sway happens with this setup and keeping things tight gets harder. As you can see above I corrected this with a large magnet and 5 railroad spikes to weight the bottom. I had to do this for the opening shot, but thought I could get away with not doing it since the camera doesn't actually have to move. 

I also did some touch up painting on the face of SDS. The first frame last night, I chipped paint off with my fingernail. If you look at the video the left side of his lip has a little black mark. That's another lesson: sculpt your characters with same colored sculpey so they're inherently colored. That way scuff marks and chips wont show so bad. 

Tomorrow night, I'm ready to film again!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Stopmotion: My first real stopmotion thing!!

Here's the third shot! It's the first time I've ever really truly animated in stop motion. I did my logo run cycle years ago, but I feel like this is the first legit real go at it!

Don't worry, this is my first test run. I'm going to redo this scene a few times this week and animate it better. I'd like his bending down into the bag to be smoother, the camera work needs to be smoother as well. I want to put a big flat board down under my tripod so the zoom can be a little better. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stopmotion: Lighting tests

Here's the evolution of the third shot (2nd to be filmed). Maria and I decided to go with the fourth lighting set up, with dark blue. The establishing shot is clearly depicting all this happening before even the sun comes up, so I'm happy going a bit dark on this. I'm really happy with the letters tube and the push on lot's of color! The incandescent light in the room is very happily casting that little orange at the edge of the mail! Perfect for a newly rising sun!

Don't worry the other shots will be a bit brighter. This needs to be dark because the camera is looking up from the bottom of his dark cold bag of letters to Santa. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Stop Motion: Face Set

  I'm finally back in the game after the distraction of the holidays! Tonight I watched a Youtube tutorial showing me how to upload dialogue to Dragonframe and set lip sync images to it. That set of faces is called a 'Face Set', and it looks like Dragonframe lets you upload custom ones! Above is the face set for my character. These are all of the important mouth positions that my stop motion book depicted. It seems like you just compile these into one photoshop layered file (hopefully just a .psd).

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Big Bird of the Galaxy

 I HAVE been busy. Here's an acrylic painting I finished recently. It's 36 x 48". I worked on this throughout September with the idea of donating this to the charity auction at Universal Studios Creative's first art show. Despite having made sure the subject matter would be okay, the piece was still refused several days before the event. That pissed me off, but at least I get to hang it up at home. This is a painting based on an ink sketch I did at Ringling oh so many years ago. His halo and illuminated text are all real gold leafing I did myself!! (not real gold though). It's my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Stopmotion: Dasos Intro Establishing Shot

Here it is. The actual establishing shot! Woo!

Stop Motion: Establishing Shot filmed!!

    This is the setup for the establishing shot. It also happens to be the segway to the main story at the end, so I can use it twice! I tried lighting everything from the sides with cardboard cut filters to make the lights thin strips. That didn't work. It hit the mountains and cast shadows. I couldn't light from the front because it would flatten everything. I had to have the light of the sun come up from the bottom to properly replicate the sunrise. I had cotton clouds made and they didn't look too bad, but I prefer the clean cloudless sky to something that looks distractingly out of place. Also, I planned on having the clouds attached to a single giant piece of plexi so I would just move that at increments across the background. Solid plan, but once I had the entire scene canti-levered over a bed I didn't want to add the extra complications. This is a three light scene. One light towards the back that only lights up the moon, one light for the background and a color changing LED strip that lights up the mountains. 
     You can see the makeshift weight I attached to the bottom of the tripod for stability. I filmed this 4 or 5 times. Each time the final shot would sway left and right with the cranking of the tripod. The final shot I had to use the live toggle feature on the Dragon Frame 4 remote on each frame to correct left or right. It took more time but it worked!!!
     The final picture shows the cardboard strip I attached to the tripod with the pencil as an arrow to know exactly how much to lower the camera each frame. This worked great, but as a beginner, the final video seems a bit too abrupt when it starts and stops it's movement. 
... I'll get better with time. 

I'ts incredibly satisfying being at a stage where I get to sit down and actually film with all the stuff I bought! The next step is filming the segway before I tear down this scene and start building the next one!