Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First MonsterJam entry complete!

I've just finished editing my first entry for the TAIS MonsterJam. It features two alien monsters being let down by their super-advanced technology. I decided to really utilise the properties of clay in this animation.

I made a special clay blend for the bodies of the aliens so that it would be exactly the colour and consistency I needed. I thoroughly kneaded about 2 parts Flair Plasticine into 3 parts Newplast, so that the end result was easily workable, but would remain fairly solid under hot lights. The features and decorations on the aliens are Flair Plasticine.

The set was made out of an A1 sheet of grey cardboard painted with household emulsion paint and acrylic paint in a range of browns and greens. I dabbed on some splotches of watered down PVA glue, then a random scattering of short dark green flock, some lighter green fake grass type flock and some gravel (all Games Workshop modelling stuff). I followed this with a few blobs of dyed green moss (usually used for flower arranging) soaked in watered down PVA to make them more rigid. I then glued the board to the top of my animation table (which is a sheet of particle board).

The sky is a sheet of white foam board painted with blue and white household emulsion, then glued to the table and supported by a couple of L shaped metal brackets. The trees in the background are grey card painted with a blotchy range of green paints, then I glued on several layers of the dyed moss with plenty of PVA glue. For the different trees I followed this either with some light long green flock, some mixed greek herbs (yes really) or some splodges of coloured paint. When they were dry I fixed the trees to the set with blue tack and more metal L brackets.

During the animation I added the clay in thin layers and smoothed it down to make the aliens gradually grow. It was a lot of fun to make - more 'hands on' than my previous animations.

This is my first animation with my new camcorder and studio set-up. I no longer have to reach OVER the camera and animate animate sideways. Woohoo! Plus the 3CCD and Leica lens means I get a nice picture. The only thing that is worse with my new 'tripod on floor' set-up is that it is very obvious if the animation set moves, whereas when I had the webcam fixed to the same table as the set, table movement mattered less. This was also the first time I've shot at 30fps which was interesting.

The hard part was editing the animation frame by frame to add the teleport beam and the end credit. It truly was mind numbing. I'm sure there are much quicker and easier ways of doing it, but I can't afford the fancy software!


Grant's Animation said...

This is excellent, Ceri! The clay build-up effect to materialize your monsters is really well done. Teleporter sound and glow effect is perfect. Will this be rendered 720 x 480?

Shelley Noble said...

I love your stuff, Ceri! I just found you through a link in the sidebar at Norby's place. Congratulations on all that you are achieving so quickly! Brava! I'm subscribing to you now so I can watch your progress! Cheers!