Friday, March 28, 2008

Animation number two...

This is 'My hobbies', it's the follow-up to my first animation.

I've finally been able to make my second stop-motion animation. I'd waited days until Daz was working away for the night. I can't have him turning on electrical appliances whilst I'm animating because it makes the light dim which makes the video flicker.

Well it turned out that I may have well animated with him in the house, because my animation ended up being plagued by flicker anyway! First I thought it might be because the sun had begun to come up towards the end of shooting (I shoot at night because I work better) and my room isn't 100% light proof, but it had also begun to get light towards the end of the first film, and there's no flicker there.

I think the flicker is partly down to working with high winds and lashing rain outside causing the power to surge and dip. The most flickery part of the video (close to the end) was shot between 6.30 and 8am, and I think that every person in the area turning on toasters and boiling kettles might have caused some havoc with the electricity supply.

I also had trouble with my webcam, which seemed to develop a mind of it's own half way through, and increase the colour saturation. It doesn't even have a funtion to change saturation so I couldn't correct it! It also seems to 'bleed' darker colours into lighter ones if they are put next to each other. There is probably a technical term for this but I don't know what it is.

Making this animation was much more of a challenge than the first one, and although I don't feel it is as successful as the first, I did learn far more whilst making it.

The first and most important thing I learned:
lip-syncing an animation to a recorded soundtrack - EASY
giving a puppet natural looking body movement - HARD
I need to spend a lot of time looking at the way humans and animals move before I do it again.

The other things I learned:

Don't animate at breakfast time.
Don't cover circular epoxy putty feet (with tie-downs) in a thick layer of plasticine. When you try to screw in the tie-down bolts, the foot rotates and the wire leg twists inside the clay instead of tightening the nut.
Don't animate on a wobbly table.
I need to concentrate on being less clumsy.
Don't wear a baggy sweater when animating. Loose sleeves cause havoc.
I need a better set up, because currently I have to animate side-ways on, and I have to reach over the camera to adjust the puppets. I found out how impossible it is to line up a camera again after knocking it mid animation.
I need a better camera.
I need an angle poise lamp which doesn't gradually droop as it warms up.
I might need to find a way to keep the light level constant. Dimmer switch and a lux meter maybe?

I can't wait to animate something that isn't made of plasticine. I enjoy working with it, but it has so many bad points, mainly to do with maintainence of puppets. Plasticine gets dirty, hairs seem to be magnetically drawn to it's surface, the colour from the mouths transfers to the body and you have to scrape it off and smooth it over, bits drop off under the hot lights and it's impossible to get them back in the same place, the armature wire comes to the surface if you aren't careful, some brands are rock hard and refuse to bend, other brands go too squishy under hot lights, you catch the puppet with a fingernail and it takes five minutes to repair the surface.

I can't wait to animate something woolly!


Eamon said...

GREAT work!

Woolly Monster said...

Thanks :)

robotegg said...

HI Ceri. I'm across the pond in the mountains of NY. It seems there hasn't been any comments since March, so I hope your still reading them. I love your characters! Very original and colorful. Most stop motion animators are bent on making their characters as real to life as possible. I guess this is an attitude that go's back to the days of using stop motion as the only means by which to inject "non-existent" creatures into live action. Well, those days disappeared with the advent of CG. Your monsters are striking! Don't get too slick. They convey a warmth and comedic quality that is rare and hilarious. In fact, I was laughing at them before they started to move! I'm looking forward to more of your creations. Don't stop.