Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Stop-Motion Project- The Boy

 I thought it would be more interesting to add another character to the animation. Below is a brief sketch of what i had in my head. He is just a gormless boy bobbing along in the pool and somehow he's managed to squeeze his chubby physique into his tiny rubber ring. I wanted him to look gormless with unblinking staring eyes. 

Working from my sketch, I modelled him up in plasticine and when I was finished lovingly sculpting his little man boobs this is how he ended up looking. I've painted his skin in bright white, although I'm not sure if this will cause me some exposure problems later on.

I thought it would be good if he was to slowly turn in the pool as he bobbed along, keeping his eyes always, unblinkingly, on the mermaid. Therefore I  had to make him a complete head since all 360 degrees of him would be seen- rather than a hollow one like the mermaid's. I had a bit of a try at making the back of the head detachable since this would allow me to move the eyes around inside of the head between frames. It wasnt really working though, it wasn't subtle enough.

Then, after spending rather a long time on this futile attempt I had the brainwave to simply make the pupils detachable. Jeeeeeeeeeezzz! They're made from tiny dried black chips of paint -an absolute bugger to put in place and needless to say a nightmare if you drop one! I'm not sure how they're sticking on...they just are and it's working well enough.

He's very little in comparison to the mermaid- just 12cm tall, but he'll be more in the foreground so I think it'll work out ok. His mouth is just cut out from paper and stuck with a tiny bit of blu tack. I was testing out different mouths so didnt want to commit to anything by painting it directly on and this way if I decide to animate his mouth at a later stage I still can.

I defined his eyes a bit more by surrounding them with grey and now it's all starting to look a bit Tim Burtony but I think that's ok. Here are a few close-ups where he looks like hes seen some terrible terrible things...

So, since I wanted it to look as if he was bobbing along on the waters surface in his rubber ring I needed to come up with a device to allow him to move in such a way. I came up with a rectangular tube with a ping pong ball sitting on top. It's not a very secure solution but it works. However, due to this precarious mechanism I have dropped him several times and he has suffered a few casualties and has had to endure a couple of trips to A&E to receive hair and ear transplants and a nose job. He's a tough cookie though considering he's only plasticine (one of the most malleable materials I can even think of!) and only really has a few remaining dents and imperfections. From now on I will endeavour to be less violent towards him, he really hasn't done anything to deserve it and it would be tragic if i lost him.
  Behold, the ingenious invention. The ping pong ball just sits inside the cardboard circles and it all just sort of balances on top of each other.

Just a little detail im adding is the seagull in the background to just fly across the sky a bit. Seagull is just simply a body with 2 sets of detachable wings: one for flapping up and one for flapping down which I alternate between frames as well as shuffling him along a bit.

You can see him flitting across the sky in this little video:

And this video shows my first attempt at filming with the boy. He absolutely zooms across the water on a fast current rather than gently bobbing along so next time I know to move him and the water a lot slower from frame to frame.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Stop-Motion Project- The Mermaid

So I've been working on this in my free time for a little while now, I'm in the process of making a little animation. It's not something I've done before but I love to watch stop-motion and being a model-maker myself it was something I really wanted to have a go at. 
  I began by just messing about with plasticine, making different faces with different expressions and personalities because I'm not very experienced with making models of people, I've made quite a few rooms and buildings... but not many living things.

This pouty little man was my first little face. By the time I'd taken this photo I'd dropped him several times so he's a bit squishier than he once was. Despite this, I think he's done ok, I was quite happy with his overall expression - I think the large furrowed brows and mouth work well. I was thinking grumpy old man while making this one. This is the rest of the team:

This one was based on my own face

The shape of the smile and large square teeth were especially based on my own. I wasn't really expecting to make anything I was particularly happy with at this stage because I was only experimenting but after I'd painted this one I wanted to see if I could take it further...

Her eyes can pop out the back of her head so I'm able to move them around and have her looking in different directions. I painted her in monochrome because I was starting to think maybe I'd make her a bit gothy and maybe the animation could be mainly in black and white with hints of other colours.
  The body kept on growing and I decided I needed to make moving limbs, so I made these little wire arms which i covered in plasticine to enable them to bend and be moved (a basic armature I think)

Using the imotion app on my phone I began to play about with making her move, I made her do something flappy with her arms and blink a bit. She was starting to creep me out a little, something about all that relentless manic grinning... 

While making the legs it began to dawn on me more and more that they would not support the weight on the rest of her body so I avoided that issue and I fused them together and made a tail. The tail also has wire on the inside so that I'll be able to make it flip and curl. 

I was struck by the memory that I had angelina fibre somewhere in the house, I bought it about 5 years ago with no idea what to use it for, just because it was beautiful. I found my angelina fibre, I decapitated her and added more texturous, shiny hair...

  I hadn't really been planning anything, like what I was going to do next, it's all just unfolding in my head as I've been making.
  When the body was sculpted and painted I took her to the tattoo parlour for a heavy inking sesh. The tatts are sea themed so she's got jellyfish, a seahorse, a large ship and an arrangement of tentacles, seaweed and a ships wheel on her chest.

 She's sitting at an outdoor pool in the night time. For which, I painstakingly sat and cut out a million tiny cardboard tiles which I then stuck side by side and individually painted for the pool side. This is what I like to do with my free time. The idea that was forming in my head was to make my animation like a moving image (well duh)...but I mean like as if it was a painting in Harry Potter- subtle movements rather than maybe an actual storyline. Like blinking, flicking of the hair etc. etc.

There she is, having a sit. And then I bought her to life again, oh the power! I think this little video is about 40 frames or so and took me maybe 20-30 minutes. I broke the ladder half way through. Although unintentional I think it's nice how the light flickers like an old movie, its been put through an instagram filter which has given it a nice tint. I blew on her hair a bit between frames to try and make it look a little breezy by the pool...it's all in the details.

Whats next? I'm going to have a think about expanding on my idea. Perhaps adding more characters...