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!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Dasos: Intro Animatic Finished

 Whelp, full transparency here.... I don't like showing rough stuff like this. It goes against my artist nature of trying to impress people. BUT I said I would blog every step of the way just in case it would help others. So here it is! This is the animatic to the intro into the Dasos series. So lets' break down what I did:

The first animatic had 4 letters to Santa and it ran over 4 minutes. Way too long!

Second animatic added two animal cut away scenes to try to compensate for the length. There was a squirrel and a bunny. Still didn't really address the length.

Third animatic ditched the third letter to Santa, which was a letter read by my niece, Angela. Sorry Angie! I tried ignoring the comedy rule of three's but they wrote that rule for a reason!

Fourth animatic cut out a good half of the long letter to Santa. It was painful to cut out so much of my brilliantly written (and recorded) Dickensian era ominous letter to Santa, but it cut the final intro down nicely and made everything nice and tight. I also re-recorded all of my dialogue to get the shortened letter, but also address some low quality on all of SDS' lines.

The version you can watch above is what I call Animatic4.2. This version simply ads some more frames of character expressions and reactions. I'm still not pleased with how SDS sounds almost exactly like the reader of the long letter. I could re-record and keep screwing with it, but I'd rather move on.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Stop Motion: Animatic

   Now that the PBY is out of the way, I can concentrate on the stopmotion project. I drew out all the frames for the intro animatic and today I'll be recording the last bit of dialogue for it.  

So the order of work is: Storyboard, Script, Animatic. 

In parallel to that it's: Character design, fabrication, set design, fabrication.

     This seems to be how I've been doing things. Since the intro is parody of an existing thing, creating the 'story' to the intro is easy. I can just watch the Rankin-Bass movie intro and make my own custom changes. Mine is very different but borrows heavily. In the Rankin-Bass movie, Fred Astaire's character is named Special Delivery Kruger or 'SD for short'. My characters name is Special Delivery Stuckey. 'SDS' doesn't dance, has no Postal snow mobile and doesn't talk to animals or the mail as in the movie. He talks directly to the viewer. The whole premise is that he's the unfortunate loser who deliver's letters to Santa the day AFTER Christmas, when kids just want to complain about everything. The joke of the whole thing is that the fourth letter is an adult who has been stalking Santa for years and finally has him right where he wants him and writes a lengthy Dickensian letter saying as much. This intro intentionally has nothing to do with the story of Dasos. That's the second overall joke. I intend to have a series of Dasos animations hosted by SDS. As the series goes on, we get to see all the weird habits and problems of SDS as we learn more about Dasos.
     I haven't worked out the Dasos story yet. It's REALLY hard coming up with a good story line out of nowhere. I guess it's more accurate to say coming up with story lines is easy, it's committing to one that's hard. 

PBY Finished!!!!!!

  I'm posting this late. I actually finished the PBY before my deadline of 6/18/18. With family visiting (the reason for the deadline) I put off posting anything until now. 

I greatly enjoyed seeing this project through to completion. I'm glad I accepted the challenge to put rivets on her. They really add another level of dimension to this project. Figuring out the circuit to let the 4 lights work off one power source is great too! The first photo above shows the breadboard configuration allowing this to work. 

I'm going to take better photos. These photos are HORRIBLE. I love the lighting in my garage, but I have a spotlight right on the PBY. In person, it's great. But to an iphone camera it's difficult. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

PBY: Almost DONE!!!!

I got the beautiful red propeller warning stripe on the side, and all the lettering and emblems!
In fact, I only need the blisters, light frames, antenna wires and lights hooked up and I'm all done! I've been working on this for.... two years? Longer?

I can't wait to have this done. Frankly, I could hang this up right now and I would be very happy with it. But I'm so close it would be stupid to stop now! I have a smaller project next, the Disney monorail shadowboxes. That will only take a week or two. and THEN... and THEN!!! 

5' long Nautilus with real copper sides, functioning oculus portal and lighted interior!

PBY: Vacuform!

I built a perfectly functioning Vac-U-Form for $12!! Granted, I had all the wood already, the shop vac, screws and the hot glue. I just had to buy a $12 window screen kit for the frame. I ordered a large sheet of thin clear plastic from for super cheap, and cut it up into 8 pieces of 12"x12" sheets (thermoform plastic). I set up two pieces of wood on either side of the stove top burner on the oven, set the plastic in the frame on top of the wood, and waited for it to heat up properly. Basically, you turn the burner on high and wait till you think it's sagging enough. (Pro tip: it needs to sag more than you think). The good news? If you screw it up you can probably use the same sheet twice. The first one I pulled a little too early and it didn't get around the seam at the bottom of the blister window sharply enough, so I just did it a second time! I'm very very happy with my results!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

PBY: Upper wing 99.9% complete!

  I just need to add new headlight frames around the headlights and the upper wing will be COMPLETELY finished! It's about 6' long! A little taller than me! I glued on the freshly airbrushed exhausts and tomorrow I'll cut out the new frames!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

PBY: Lookin' Good so far!!!

 Looked up some youtube videos on how to do exhaust on models. Decided to go with a non airbrush method. I think my airbrush would always look like airbrush (millions of tiny dots). Instead I got my old chalky pastels out and brushed them on with a stiff short brush. You can even go in with a good eraser and cut off where it starts. That's key in making it look like the dirt accumulates and starts from behind panel lines. I went a bit too large on the silver paint chipping, but it's a HUGE model, so it's okay. Those two silver wires sticking out of the wing between the engine are hand holds so you can hoist yourself up onto the wing for maintenence. That's why there's so much paint chipping there. There would  be a lot of wear and tear where you lift yourself up. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

PBY: paint!!!

  Trying to get the PBY finished by June. I'm finally on the paint step! It's exciting seeing it all come together and see the rivets work! As you can see, I chose the Naval three tone paint scheme for my PBY. I actually think I might be able to get this done by the end of this month!!! Then I can start on my Monorail display project. After the Monorail displays I do the big one.... a 5 foot long scratchbuilt Nautilus! I can't wait!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Stop Motion: Hands and Mouths

  According to the book Maria got me for christmas, you don't make mouths for every letter of the alphabet, you make them to cover the word phonetically. That makes sense! It's also far fewer mouths to make. The hands don't need to be too crazy either. He only needs to hold a bag, open envelopes (which in the Rankin Bass special, the envelopes sort of "fall open") and maybe give vague gestures. I'm going to use the old muppet trick of having one hand pose per camera shot. That way I'm not screwing around trying to make tiny clay fingers move and stay consistent. We'll see how it works... or if it works...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Stopmotion: Rankin-Me

   I was making incredible headway with this guy up until Christmas, but then I ran out of steam. These are old photos, he has an entire suit of clothes sewed out of felt. At this point, I need to sculpt all the mouths, a few sets of hands, make the hat.... and he's done!!!!

I thought it would be funny to introduce the Dasos story like it was an old Rankin-Bass Christmas special.