3.27.2006

Red Stick

...a couple more days til the StopMoShorts deadline, and I still have the final scene to shoot...lets hope for an absence of technical difficulties...other than the ones I'm already having, like flicker and camera movement :P (gotta get working on a more pro set-up, but $ is tight right now)...I've been reading up on the Red Stick Animation Festival and grow more excited day by day...it should be a fantastic opportunity to advertise my blog (maybe I should make a T-shirt), and even do a some promotion for Phil Dale and Fund My Short.Com...I will write up a full report of the festival here at the end of April, so stay tuned.....in the meantime, here's a great article forwarded to me by a good friend and future Pixar employee m1kr0, who will be volunteering at the festival..."Not Your Grandpa's Louisiana: The Rise and Flight of the Creative Class"....interesting note: the writer mentions that Red Stick was originally inspired by the Animex International Animation Festival in the UK....

3.23.2006

A Little Sketchbook Tour

One week to go until the StopMoShorts deadline, and things are still progressing nicely..I have begun to set up a separate blog to post the new short, along with my rants about its creation, so as not to clutter Jenny...I have a few more scenes to film, but I've been editing as I go, so I won't have to deal with a massive sit-down when I'm finished shooting :D...Until then, I thought I'd give a glimpse into my sketchbook, featuring:
--a couple of Jenny portraits, one in charcoal--
--an updated design for the little girl puppet...note that she has legs (under the coat, anyways)...and a highly exaggerated scarf...my thinking behind the scarf is, she is pretty constricted, no arm movement, no visible mouth, so when Jenny tugs the scarf off through the pier, and the girl runs scared, the audience gets a bit more of an emotional wallop, because she is no longer restrained by the scarf, and can be more emotive, with the screaming, and the flailing of limbs--
--a storyboard for said scarf tugging--
--a robot.........yep...a robot......how does a robot fit into the story?...just a bit in the beginning...I feel its my duty as an animator to have a robot thrown in there somewhere--
--a new sketch of the pier, inspired by a recent watching of The Birds...will allow for much more drama to ensue, 'cause, look......ladders!....(yeahyeah, I know...more puppet headaches)--


3.18.2006

Movin' Right Along...

I'm ready to start animating my StopMoShorts short short...sets and props are ready, my actor is ready, titles are already done, sound effects are ready to go...haven't done any tests yet...thats what tomorrow's for...
I'm planning on attending the Red Stick International Animation Festival in April, passes go on sale next week and I'm excited...I'll probably only go for one day, depending on the event schedule, but it should be fun...

3.15.2006

...another diversion...

...found a great site, actually designed as the "definitive how-to" for costumers and prop-makers, but there is an incredible amount of info available here that can easily be applied to puppets, including full tutorials for dozens of costumes (i like Evil Ash) that involve mold-making, sculpting, and casting of various parts...info on latex pouring, armor construction, clothing, the list goes on and on...check it out...
Studio Creations DH2

3.14.2006

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

...making very nice progress on the new short short, the set is finished, the puppet is 95% done, and storyboards are in the can...I'm really dying to share it now, but I must wait...I'm taking lots of pics, and recording progress, etc., so expect a large post when its all said and done...In the meantime, check out a few of my partners-in-crime...we've got a nicely developing community of stop-motion bloggers going on here, a support system that rocks...Mike & his puppet Buster, live from Belleville, Illinois (check out the masters section--unbelievable stuff)...Sven (aka Safety Guy :) & Percy-puppet in Portland, Oregon...Ale & Guy (these puppets can strut!) bringing stop-motion to the continent of South America...

3.11.2006

Visual Haiku

So I've decided to enter a short in the March 31st StopMoShorts.com film fest. One of the themes is "Myth", which would be perfect for Jenny, but alas, this time she won't make it out of the bog (...or..."blog" :P) ...I've got another idea, something fairly simple, not a lot of character movement or camera movement, easy set (which might actually be done tonight)...so I probably won't be posting anything new Greenteeth-wise for a few weeks, since that's how long I have to start and finish the new short...I'll post about my progress on it, but I don't want to reveal any details until it is unveiled in its entirety...hopefully by March 31st...

StopMoShorts.com

2-D Jenny


I had to vent some creative energy yesterday (stop-motion is a slow process and I'm used to working fast!) so I put the 3-D stuff aside for a mo and cranked out a 2-D piece. Featuring Jenny of course. Originally I was going to do a backdrop, but it didn't work out that way :P Once I started painting the brush kind of took over, which is how I usually work. I very rarely do thumbnails or sketches, I try to paint more intuitively, so I never really know how a piece is going to look until it is finished. This Jenny is about 2ft by 4ft, plywood with acrylic paint and pastels. I did a lot of surface scratching afterwards with my clay sculpting tools, gave it a nice subtle weathered look I think.

3.08.2006

Jenny Tests


Watch the video
...a few tests using the Jenny puppet, and one using Jenny and her victim, tried animatinga little character interaction...I thought at the start of this project that animating Jenny would be easy, while animating the human character would be more challenging, because we interact with ourselves and eachother every day, we have a frame of reference for the human character's behavior ...now I find that animating the little girl is much easier...probably because I have aclear vision of how I want Jenny to look when she moves, because I am basically creating her behavior instead of referencing...as far as the tests go, still not focusing so much on technical details, but hopefully that will change soon...I'm eager now to build a more professional setup (better lighting, etc.), I think because I poured so much time and energy into the Jenny puppet that it seems like an injustice to have such shoddy animating conditions :)...the music here is Elfman's Catwoman, then Tom Waits' Little Drop of Poison (Shrek2)...

the Physics of Jenny

...so I've spent a lot of time staring at my Jenny puppet, imagining her coming to life, and working out some theories about the physics of an undead water witch...theories I hope to apply to the animation style that I chose for Jenny, when it comes time for her big moment...I've been doing some animation tests with her, to get a feel for the puppet and test out my skill, tests that should be ready to post tonight, after I do a couple more...so where was I......theories......physics! It goes something like this...being an underwater creature, Jenny is in her natural habitat at the bottom of the lake, where her scrawny bones and skull are supported by gallons upon gallons of black lake water...when she surfaces to catch the little girl, she no longer has that support...her movement becomes erratic, jerky, she pulls herself across the pier because she physically can't stand or walk on land...but shes hungry for something other than fish so she is relentless...visually I want her movement on the pier to be reminiscent of Kayako on the stairs at the end of Juon (or The Grudge), which is going to take a lot of practice, and maybe some unconventional puppet-making...
I've also come up with a little gimmick to dress up the cabin a bit, and make a little more sense of it...the cabin is now an old, broken down Bait and Tackle shop...I'm going to add a few old nets, maybe some rusty fishing poles, etc., and a sign that reads "Live Bait"...fitting for the story I think...I like it so much it may be my title (I can already see the close-up of the sign at the beginning of the short, incorporating the title credit into the actual set instead of layering it on top afterwards)...more later...

3.02.2006

Jenny Puppet #1

I have made decent progress on my first Jenny puppet in the last few days. Check it out...

After I finished the sculpt, I built up a little clay wall, about halfway up the puppet...I lined Jenny with foil because I was worried about not being able to separate her from the clay "base"...then I poured in the plaster, let it harden, removed the "box", flipped her over, removed the clay bottom, rebuilt the wall, and plastered her bottom...

...poor Old Clay Jenny, mangled in the process...very sad...

...and here is New Latex Jenny, fresh from her little plaster coffin...

...the hair plugs were easier than I expected, but then, I only had to do about 10 of them...twisted wire and wrapped each piece in green floral tape that I bought the other day to experiment with...easy to use, nice finished product...

...I am considering adding fins to her head somewhere, at the jawline or maybe where the ears should be, basically smaller versions of her hands...and she will have another arm, and seaweed draped around...

...the arm needs a bit more work, especially the armature at the elbow, still a little awkward...

....a cool silhouette...can't wait to animate something like this...