9.30.2006

WIDOW - wmv version

Watch the video

OK, having trouble uploading to SMS right now so I'm going to post the wmv version for now, and will figure it out later....I want to post a QT version to StopMoShorts, but I think I'll need Mike's help for that....

 Til then, here it is, in all its glory :)

"WIDOW"

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahoo! She is complete. A sigh of relief. A tension gone from my shoulders :) I had to do two quick reshoots today after work, I just couldn't live with the clips that were there, and the new ones look great so it was worth it. I literally just finished rendering the first file (wmv), then I render the QT file for SMS, run it over to my brother-in-law's fancy DSL hookup, and wait for it to pop up on SMS...once it does I'll post the better quality wmv file here, then catch up on whats been happening with the world this week :).....hooray!

Soon, my friends and loyal viewers.....soon....

9.28.2006

"Widow" - Two days....

Me...sleepy......its like working two jobs over here :) I've got a small pile of movies waiting to be watched, including "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" ("Mr. Vengeance" was excellent, had some terribly creepy pier scenes involving a little girl so yay, more inspiration), "Lake House" (ugh, I know, but, time travel? There's a soft spot in me for "Somewhere in Time"), "The Notorious Bettie Page" (director Mary Harron of "I Shot Andy Warhol" which starred Lili Taylor, one of my favorite actresses), and the fifth season of Smallville (John Glover as Lionel Luthor, great acting there too)....wow, read all that slowly okay? :) .... in a few days I'll actually have time to kick back and relax, but not now....

...here's a cap from today......three shots left to get, plus some sounds, then the end credits tacked on, and some tests for small quality file size.....I plan to upload it to SMS sometime Saturday evening so it should be posted on Sunday....

9.27.2006

"Widow" - Three Days to Go....

Ok, let's take a look at today's money shot....

Pepper's back and Doc is hesitant at first. He approaches her, reaches up, and cradles her head in his palm. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to animate them into such an intimate pose, so I animated them out of it :) I set up both puppets like in the pic, animated the shot backwards, then reversed it in editing....this is the one that I set up for last night, animating it was difficult because of the closeness of the puppets, and because the only motion (mostly) is in Doc's thumb and Peppers head, so I had to make sure not to move the rest of the parts....gripped them in their off-camera/shadowy spots, like the back-left of Peppers head, or Doc's left arm or tied-down leg....this is also where Doc's orangey campfire light and Pepper's blood red light sort of subtly meet and merge....into an only slightly unpleasant pinkish hue....yeah, this is just after Pepper vomits Peptobismol all over hubby....kidding, I don't really hate it that much :) better luck next time though with combining colored lighting....I continue to look to "The Devil's Backbone" for its brilliant use of blues and ambers....

...getting down to crunch time, I think I'll be able to do the shots I want but technically I could actually end now....I won't though, gotta get it done the way it plays in my head, which I've mostly accomplished here...some scenes could play out a bit longer but I'm trying to keep it moving quickly....may have to cut the sex scene......

(kidding again........ain't I a stinker :)

9.26.2006

"Widow" - Filming, Four Days to Go...

Still truckin', and lovin' it...The Pepper-red lighting turned out to be not so difficult, I've had to tweak some things in post, over-saturate the red, but its looking good. Working on this film has taught me a lot...above all I've learned the power of the editing room....I've had to build a few ghetto quickie-on-the-spot rigs, I've had to do puppet repairs mid-scene and pulled it off...I've been assaulted by an angry cockroach (I did a funny dance!) and had a superglue accident that left me firm in the belief that I will never ever have my chest waxed...
...the Pandora short was mostly me stumbling around in the dark, but with this one, I feel like I'm starting to find my voice as a filmmaker...not that Pandora didn't have 'me' all over it, but you know what I mean...it's these little films, the experience I gain, that will ultimately make 'Jenny Greenteeth' a great short...
Here's a couple of caps...

I'm at about 1 min 45 sec out of 2 min 15 sec, so far its 6MB, I'm guessing a final file size of 10MB...I work the rest of the week so its gonna be tough 'scheduling the shoots'...makes me feel like I'm in college again, cramming...maybe next round I'll make the short in the middle month so I can sit on it for a few weeks and tweak it before uploading...I doubt that could actually happen with the way I procrastinate :) I had to stop for awhile tonight to watch the big game, I'm not typically a football fan but it was the first home game played in the rebuilt-Superdome since Katrina so pretty much everybody was riled up....felt great...I left off animating on a shot that I am most excited to film, so that I'll be amped to get up in the morning and get something done before work...see, I have ways of tricking myself....reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry talks about the two sides of his personality, morning guy and night guy, and how much morning guy hates night guy...:)

9.22.2006

"Widow" - Filming, Seven Days to Go...

I debated whether or not to post about this, b/c with such a short short I hesitate to reveal too many of my money shots :) but if I don't post about it now, I probably won't post about it at all, so here ya go:

This shot only amounts to about 3 sec of screentime, as the wedding pic burns in the fire....I may reshoot it to prolong it a bit but for now I'm truckin' on...I took a printout of the picture-prop about 1" long, curled it, and attached it to one of the mesh flames in the campfire prop. I got out a little orange and black paint, and a pair of tiny scissors, and for each frame, I painted an outline on the photo, orange first then black, slowly making its way into the center of the photo....I trimmed the excess black area with the scissors, until nothing was left. Then I added another little flame effect on top of the shot in the 'editing room', and in the end it turned out pretty cool, something I'm sure I'll develop more in a future short....

So yeah, three seconds done today, but I'm past halfway, about 40 sec left? The next shots all involve the Pepper-red light, which I'm anticipating problems with....should probably do a test run first...

9.19.2006

"Widow" - Filming, Day Two

Another 200 or so frames in the can, I'm a little over a minute right now, shooting in order. Everything's worked out great so far, fingers crossed....tonight and tomorrow I got stuck with overnight shifts at work, 10pm to 6am, argh...gonna be painful, but looking forward to animating more tomorrow afternoon will keep me going :)
....that, and lots of caffeine...

Here's a couple more screencaps, from today's shoot...

"Widow" - Filming, Day One

Got those first storyboards shot, and the next scene as well :) 40 sec in the can, but about half of that is 'titles' so really only 25 sec. or so of animation....275 frames, some ended up cut...here's the official title screen, and a pic of the book lit on set...notice the strange glow, the foil shows through the page which makes for a nice effect I think...could be avoided in the future with thicker paper on top of the foil, but I like it...also notice how interestingly, the glow seems to show through the paintmarker on the page, but not the charcoal pencil, which held its blackness....could be useful...both pics are screencaps from a rendered clip, I won't be posting any footage but I'll try to pull some cool caps as I go....

9.17.2006

"Widow" - Tome Completed

I've finished the tiny tome, and tomorrow will begin shooting. Here's some pics....



...coffee drying on the final pages of the book prop...


...a couple more completed pages...

...and my first few storyboards....my schedule for tomorrow's filming, hopefully I'll be able to do more...titles and music are already set up in Vegas and waiting for clips...

9.15.2006

Preparing for Monster Month

I've decided I have been working with too many humans...puppets I mean...I have yet to make a monster....'bout to rectify that....October is 'Monster Month' and my plan is three-fold: first, complete the Jenny 2 sculpt and have her mold-ready...second, create a series of monster sketches for future armaturing projects....third, and here's the one I'm looking forward to the most, sculpt, mold, and cast a monster puppet in foam latex....I need to do tests and get used to the materials before I get casting on the Jenny 2 puppet, so I plan to sculpt a new creature, something small, maybe 6", mold it, and cast until I've got a good one....as such, I placed an order today....something I've been wanting to do for a very long time...this week I will receive by mail one 25lb bag of ultracal30, one 1quart kit of GM foam latex from FXWarehouse in Florida, and a 1000 X 0.1g Precision Lab Table Scale, recommended by Sven on the Scarlet Letters blog...all I've got left to purchase is the mixer, which I plan to price around for this weekend....the toaster oven is ready to go....we're movin' on up.....:D

Now I gotta get back to work on "Widow".....I'm slackin' today....

"Widow" - Campfire/Lighting Test Clip

Watch the video
I didn't get any work done on the book prop today, but I did shoot a little campfire test clip to see how the cgi/3-D integrated idea pans out...lighting will need to be rearranged, my first attempt here isn't so great....more red on Pepper definitely, and a dimmer bulb in the main foreground light, which completely drowns out the red here....I included the integrated clip and the un-cgi'd clip so you could see the animated flames...thoughts? suggestions?

9.14.2006

"Widow" - Page Aging


Today when I got home from the workplace I took the morning's leftover pot o'coffee and haphazardly dunked about ten of the tomes pages into it....I wasn't fully prepared for the way the wetness reactivated the gluestick, the tissue paper became slimy so I 'posed' the pages apart and took a blow dryer to it...the silver of the page shown through at first, not too pleasing, but as it dried it darkened nicely, almost has a glow now....one or two of the pages are ruined but I intentionally created more than I need...used a lighter on some pages, sparingly after setting a small fire which claimed another page :) Next came the brown paint pens and some inside sketching...at first I thought these would just be test pages, the 'flip-by' pages in the short, but after seeing them in action in the clip posted below, I think they are detailed enough...I was going to have fine linework going on but I think that would just end up unreadable on camera...Here's some eye candy...

9.13.2006

"Widow" - Tiny Tome Test

Watch the video

Here's a little test clip I shot after working on aging and detailing the book's innards a bit....a more detailed post about the aging is coming soon....

"Widow" - Tiny Tome

Tonight I sculpted the latex book cover, set out to do the 'sewn skin' thing, but as I slid the globs of latex around, a skull peeked out at me, so I went with it...I ended up with something much closer to the Evil Dead's Necronomicon, but thats cool...looks kinda like a woodcut too, with the horizontal lines...I may change up the paintjob a bit, gonna sleep on it...tomorrow and Thursday, page detailing, and then I'm set to shoot...I also spent some time tonight rounding up some appropriate royalty-free music and setting up the titles in Sony Vegas...

9.11.2006

"Widow" - Alchemy and the Book Prop

Between last night and this evening, I was able to rough up a full storyboard, research some symbols, and work on my little book prop.
You'll notice four trees sort of in the foreground of the set, each of these will have a symbol drawn on its trunk for Doc's little (mostly off-camera) ritual of resurrection...I was going to design my own symbols but a simple google search turned up something much cooler....I'm going to use four elemental alchemy symbols which have meaning to the story....here they are:

Top left: "silver" the moon & feminine traits, Top right: "tin" the breath of life

Bottom left: "magnesium" eternity, the infinite flame

Bottom right: "mercury" transcendence over death

I also got crackin' on the tiny tome, sort of combining suggestions from earlier and creating something that should work fine for me. First I sandwiched a piece of foil between two sheets of white tissue paper, using a glue stick...then I cut out pages and folded them all in half...the foil shows at the edges after I cut them but it gives the book an old-timey 'bible' feel, so it works...probably won't show up on camera anyway...

Then I bound the pages together with thin lines of superglue down the spine, stacking pages until I had a little pamphlet.....Cliffs Notes :) The pages hold their shape, and stay in place, so yay...

For the cover (not pictured, coming soon), I used 3 pieces of balsa, one for the spine and one for each cover....I ran a few strips of wire on the inside cover from one end to the other, crossing the spine, so that I can control the openness of the book, and also to prevent warping from the latex, which I've started to coat on the outside of the cover....it will look like sewn skin, no face like Evil Dead but close :) After I finish the cover, draw (some of) the inside pages, age them, and attach them together, I'm ready to film....shooting for Friday...

9.10.2006

Portfolio Images

I've had a portfolio-images blog set up for awhile, mostly just sitting there...so I finally uploaded the majority of my portfolio (paintings, etc.)...it isn't very organized at the moment, and isn't ideal, but it is what it is....go check it out if you're interested and if you have any questions about a particular piece, ask me here in the comments section...every one of them has some kind of story, so feel free to ask away if something tickles your fancy...
Portfolio Images

"Widow" - Campfire Prop

The fire in my last test clip was completely digital, and it bothered me, so this time I'm amping up the approach, thanks to suggestions from everyone...I'm still going to use the digi-fire, but it will be layered on top of an animatable campfire, to tie it into the 3-D world a bit better...having a real physical 'fire' on set will also help me position the cgi fire in post, and figure out how large to make it...
I started out with a circle of balsawood, about 4 inches across...poked a hole in the center and glued on a nut, to tie the piece down to the set...then I squirted hot glue, added a layer of moss on top, which had to be glued to the sides of the balsa-disk too, so they wouldn't show...popped on my little logs, and the rock ring, and here's what I've got so far...


Next I made 5 wire-mesh cones to be the 'flames', various sizes....wrapped each in plastic, and attached them to the base...

A little orange and red paint, and its ready to go...I may try to do a little animation test with it if time permits...

"Mah biscuits're burnin'!"

9.09.2006

"Widow" - Doc Done

...ok maybe not completely done, I left off with the eyes, want to sleep on it and take a look in the morning, right now the eyes bug me a bit....other than that he is done....here's a step-by-step...
I started off with the sleeves, made two tubes, attached them up at the chest, then bunched them up and wrapped a thin piece of wire to hold them in place...then I added the torso piece, and a little collar...

"Where're mah daggum pants, ya rapscallion?"

I cinched the waist of the shirt with a piece of wire, and next came the pants, which I basically bunched up and trimmed in the rear to make fit...added a paintjob on the shirt, a little liquid latex and white paint, thinned out, in a couple of coats...then ribbon-suspenders and little moon-shaped belt buckle care of my wife's private bead stash :), superglued on...


I almost like him better without eyeballs, with just the suggestion of them...like I said, gonna sleep on it...tomorrow is hopefully a prop day, I plan to be filming by the end of the week, which'll give me roughly two and a half weeks to shoot and edit....I leave you with a shot of the lovebirds...


9.08.2006

"Widow" - Arranging the Set

Spent the better part of the night dismantling and remantling the forest set to fit my storyboards...placed the campfire logs and added the rock border, but now I think I want to move it over to the left a bit...


Then I started experimenting with lighting. I really want to introduce a sort of character driven lighting here, bathing Pepper in red light, and signaling her approach with a red glow that follows her as she makes her way to the Doc....I think I can pull it off...That's three lights so far, the moving Pepper-red lamp, the moving campfire lamp, and a third, constant light source to kind of make everything flow together better...


9.07.2006

"Widow" - Mummy Doc

Here's todays progress so far, I plan to keep working til late tonight but needed to take a break, the superglue fumes have me swoony (kidding, Sven :) For Doc's under-foaminess I tried a different approach which I'm loving. I cut the foam into long strips and wrapped it like silken thread on a Strider armature...


Wrapped extra strips where I wanted to build up mass, like the belly...I've decided to go for suspenders, high pants, and rolled-up sleeves instead of a suit, as he should sort of appear in repose in the film.......heh...another StopMoShorts short about waiting :) Funny that my deadline-oriented concepts have an element of time to them...well here he is, ready for the dressing room...


I also sculpted and baked a little Sculpey picture frame, which'll be painted up, and made a little bag o'somethin', undoubtedly some ancient element necessary for resurrecting the dead...



9.06.2006

"Widow" - The Wedding Pic Prop

I should start off by saying that this here benchmarks the 100th post...100 posts in 240 days (roughly 8 mnths), averaging a post every two and a half days....not too shabby...lets see what the next 100 have to say :)
Today I applied a paintjob to Doc's head and fitted him with oversized ex-action-figure clothing, which I can slice and re-sew to fit....its just easier for me than starting from scratch...then I took a snapshot of the couple and photoshopped it until I had the wedding pic you see below. This will go in a miniature frame near Doc as he waits in the woods for the return of his beloved....Doctor PepperDoctor Pepper old-timey wedding pic

"Widow" - Creating Doc

Thank you Shelley for spurring me on with a dare in the wee hours last night, I said "Why not", slapped some clay on my faceless armature just before bed, and found my 'Doc', the male lead in my upcoming StopMoShorts entry. This evening was spent 'fleshing' out his face a bit more.

I had already used superglue and latex on part of the armature and I couldn't bake the face right on, so I made a mask, cooked it, stuck it back on, and filled out the back of the head with epoxy clay.

Added ears made from Das air-hardening clay, and superglue-&-Q-tipped his beard and mustache. I actually haven't decided what I want to do about the eyes...I thought it might be cool to go with glasses, and try to get a campfire-y kind of reflection in them, or I might just stick a little clay in the sockets and paint him some eyes...going to avoid any kind of moving eyeball, no beads or replacement parts...

Here's the happy couple now, Doc and Pepper...they really do make a nice couple :)

Next-- Props? No. Props? Yes. Many props, including a Photoshop'd wedding pic of these two in their younger days, and a miniature copy of the Necronomicon complete with pages of passages and diagrams...ugh....haven't exactly figured out the 'readable book' thing, I'm thinking pages made of either fabric laced with wire or wire mesh coated in latex...suggestions welcome ;) Thursday is a day off for me so look for much progress...

9.05.2006

Widow


The September 30 deadline for StopMoShorts is right around the corner and I seem to be suffering from sculptor's block...a faceless armature holds up production...I have a character in mind (DrCesares from Devil's Backbone) but can't seem to nail the look I want in the face...old and sad...I ditched the Conan puppet for this project b/c he is just too short...I need a leading man, not an amateur :) He'll be wearing a little tweedy looking suit and possibly glasses...going to use the campfire lighting, with a few changes as per suggestions here and at the SMA board...forest set, which I've been dressing up with more trees....this will be my first attempt, albeit an ultra-short one, at a tale of gothic romance, about a lonely widow...

9.02.2006

Local Project: Floodwall

If there is one aspect of the aftermath of Katrina that pleases me, it is the motivation that I see in creative locals, as if the city's artists have awoken from something. Everyone has 'fresh eyes'. While I've been chipping away my angst using puppets and frames, Jana Napoli has been collecting drawers from the piles of trash which pile up curbside, even today, as people continue to trickle back home. I've seen the vomited contents of thousands of homes in the last year, children's toys, personal photos, furniture, you name it. Jana Napoli saw a chance to record the history of these homes.

Her project is dubbed Floodwall, a wall of 600+ dresser drawers collected from piles around the city, each labelled with an address, photographed, and curated. Now she is calling on the owners to share their stories, to tuck away a piece of local history in the back of the drawer...
I've been struggling with how to share my own Katrina experience, every time I start to write I get overwhelmed, trying to take on too much at once. So I'm gonna let it trickle out here on the Jenny blog, as creative mortar...for now here are a couple of snapshots...

A pair of shoes on the floor of the bedroom that I grew up in, my parent's house in Metairie. Taken on September 15. I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that a year has gone by.

This is my aunt's pool in Lakeview, one of the worst hit neighborhoods. The city filled with water, chemicals, and death, which receded leaving a film of crud, which baked in the sun over the weeks following the storm. This was taken on October 15. Me and two other guys cleaned it out in March, to give you an idea of how slowly these things progress...truly the nastiest work I've ever done. I really genuinely expected to find a body under the black muck.