Saturday, March 21, 2009

My other project - Walter Gloom

I've just started a new shared blog with writer/director/art director James Geard, which will document the production of a short film we are working on together - working title 'Walter Gloom'. At the moment James is working on the storyboards and designs, and I'll be starting work on the final sets and puppets in June when I've finished 'Monday to Friday'.

This project is completely different to my usual animations, and will give me a great opportunity to work with human puppets and also give me the experience of making someone elses ideas and designs come to life. To give you a taster, here is one of James' original character designs for Walter, the main character in the film:

And here is a photo of a prototype head I made for the puppet, to experiment with building up an old wrinkly face using liquid latex over a Fimo polymer clay head. I am currently experimenting with making replacement mouths and eyebrows for the puppet using Sculpey Bake & Bend clay, but to see more about that and more designs you'll have to follow the Walter Gloom blog!
Daz and I have just come back from London where I met up with James to discuss the film. We also visited as many museums and galleries as was humanly possible in the time we had, so we are now feeling exhausted but very content. I think if I lived closer to London I'd spend practically every day in the British Museum....

Unfortunately we ran out of time before we got to the Natural History Museum, so next time we go down I've promised Daz that the dinosaurs will take priority!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finally, some alien industral set photos!

At last, here they are, some photos of my woolly monsters in their finished alien technology set, ready to animate! The photos were taken using my new FZ50 and you can click on them to see the BIG versions on flickr:

wide shot

monsters 1

monsters 3

green monster

jungle monsters

It's probably best not to ask what the heck is going on in the last photo!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A year of stop-motion and a new camera to celebrate!

I have been adventuring in the art form that is stop-motion animation for about a year now, so I've just treated myself to a factory refurbished Panasonic Lumix FZ50! Oooooh, shiny....
I can't shoot any animation with it at the moment because I'm waiting for an AV capture card for my laptop to turn up, but I am going to use it to take some photos of my industrial set and puppets later on. I'm also waiting for a full set of lens filters to turn up for it, so I can have some fun experimenting with those.

Twelve months ago, I'd been obsessively researching stop-motion 12 hours a day for a couple of weeks. I'd signed up to SMA, I'd ordered a webcam, but I hadn't yet pushed a puppet (that happened for the first time on the 17th March).

Anyway, I don't think it is an understatement to say that stop-motion has changed my life (sounds rather melodramatic, but it's true).
If you'd have told me 2 years ago that in 2009 I'd be alive, happy and relatively stable, I would never have believed you. I wouldn't have been able to even imagine that I could make a stop-motion animation. The idea of me actually thinking about a 'career' of any kind would have been laughable.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say, in a long-winded and inept way is thankyou to everyone who has encouraged me, given me advice and helped me build my confidence over the last year:

Everyone on SMA and everyone who has commented on my blog or my youtube channel - thankyou so much. Seriously, without all of you I'd have never even got started, let alone had the confidence and motivation to keep on animating.

Thanks to my partner Daz and my parents who have encouraged me and supported me completely during my stop-motion adventure.

Thanks also to Dr. Pradip Patel for teaching me that the only way I was going to learn to cope with the world was to accept my difficulties and focus on my strengths, and also for telling me that my brain isn't broken, it's unique.

When I started this adventure, I set myself a target of being able to produce professional standard stop-motion animation within a year. I never expected to reach the target, it was just something to aim for and keep me focused. 'Professional' does cover a wide spectrum, and I still have many years of work before I reach the standards of Nick Hilligoss and Ron Cole, but if we define 'professional' as whether people are willing to pay me to animate, then I have succeeded in my mission!

Thanks again everyone :)

EDIT: Thankyou also to my late grandmother Edna who left me the money with which I bought my new camera. She never got to see any of my animations, but I think she would approve. Thanks Grandma!