12.25.2007

Merry Christmas!

Sandy Claws has left a few pics under the tree this year on his journey from Christmastown. Seems Herbie finally made up his mind about his costume. Also, take a peek at the completed Unearthed book/key props and Seaclops sculpt. Enjoy!




12.15.2007

Herbie and the Seaclops

Been busy lately, trying to finish up the Seaclops, and get going already on filming 'Unearthed', and get done with the making of my family's Christmas gifts....
The director of the Seaclops' feature film debut will be by on Wednesday to scope out the sculpt....if the clops gets a thumbs up, molding and casting will follow....here's a pic of his back, which probably won't be seen, but check it out anyways....the line running down the middle will hold a fabric/rubber latex fin starting at the top of his head...

And Herbert.....conceptually, he's given me some trouble, he has....I've thought of giving him a skull mask, or making him a priest (which would've added a slight layer of kink to Su's death scene, cool by me, but maybe too distracting for this short.....I'll save the kinky priest for another day I think)....I've considered giving him armor like a knight (though he's basically supposed to be a prick, nice irony there)....and thought about just giving him a generic Mardi Gras mask or maybe a Reaper's hood or an animal mask.....oy....something will click.....I need to be filming by the end of the week to finish the opening in time for SMS at the end of the month...

12.03.2007

Alley Bits

I've grimey-d up the alley set and added some finishing touches....later this week I finish up the Seaclops sculpt, then next week is all about puppets, casting & painting the Seaclops and costuming Herbie....the back half of December will see the start of filming on "Unearthed", I plan on having the alley and cafe scenes done in time for StopMoShorts, Dec. 30, probably with a 'To Be Continued...' tacked onto the end.....I've still got a lot of work to do on the set pieces needed for the second half of the short and won't be ready with that stuff until sometime early in '08...

Little bits o' N'Awlins right here.....



The water meter, a popular local symbol, charcoal rubbings and plaster castings of the pygmy-sized man-hole covers are very popular here...I've even seen cuff links...this is a printout of a photo of one, shrunken in photoshop....I carved a circle in the foam board around the image and squashed it in some to give it a little depth, so it wouldnt look like a printout glued to a flat surface....


The Rebirth banner, hangs all over the city, in shop windows and coffee houses and bars, on porches and in living rooms....another shrunken photo image....normally these banners are blue but I shifted the color to purple to suit the set better (tried to stay with a Mardi Gras color scheme, purple green and gold)...


The fluer de lis, always a symbol of my home, not to mention the logo of our football team (don't get me started on the Saints today please, not after yesterday's loss)....


What else can I say about this one.....No frickin' parking!


A tiny shout-out to a new local disposal company, whose logo is a bull head (I prefer to think Minotaur)...they got themselves going after the storm and the French Quarter has never been so clean...

NOPD barricades, they're everywhere at Mardi Gras, lining the parade route to prevent squashing and blocking inaccessible streets or, ahem, alleys....this'uns made from armature wire....uncollected parade throws lie on the cobbles past the barricade, doubloons and beads of purple green & gold...

11.26.2007

And You Thought Stop-Motion Was Old-School...

Since I started exploring stop-motion and animation (we've been together for about 2 years now), I've been wanting to try traditional 2-D animation. I'm developing a sequence in my new stop-mo short, "Unearthed", which will be hand-drawn, and yesterday I built my Table of Light using a cigar box (case?) from my wife's smoke shop....

Here it is filled with a bunch of her beading supplies.....


And here it is completed....

I removed the lid and cut a hole in the back for insertion of a light....painted the inside white and the outside black....added a sheet of thin plexi on top...took an old 3-hole puncher, removed the middle punch, punched a sheet of typing paper, registered the two holes on the box itself, nailed two nails there, et voila!
More on the 2-D sequence as it develops....

11.24.2007

Give Seaclops a Hand


Here are a couple of pics of the Seaclops' hand....I took a tip from Halfland and used one of my woodcarving tools to sculpt the fingernails, easy-peasy. I've got the left hand, and some texturing left, and then I'm ready to mold and cast....

11.23.2007

Alley Alley Oxen Free


Finished up the floor of the alley alley, more cast brickwork.....will have to touch up the paintjob on the front half....I ran out of plaster and had to cast a couple of pieces in rubber latex (ever pulled rubber latex out of a rubber latex mold? LOTS of mold release and it actually worked well)....anyways, the plaster pieces absorbed a lot more of the paint, so I need to go back over that area....added the door at the back which is a piece of foam core painted to look like a door, with a little bead clasp knocker and a bead knob.....its just sandwiched between the two walls, will slide right out if I should need to get in there and animate...planning on accessing the Herbie pup through the ceiling but it might get a little cramped....I also took Strider's excellent suggestion and tissue-papered up the front panels on the lantern....beautiful when lit....

11.20.2007

Handheld Practical Lighting Test

Here's my camcorder exploring the alley set.....The music used is 'Zombie Chase' by Kevin MacLeod, which I'll probably be using for the opening scene...I can see a couple of things right off, the purple window needs a bit more shade, something to block the back light some, and there needs to be more of a glow from the streetlamp, probably a dim light cast on the dumpster and cobbles around it....there will be the occasional passing float, which will illuminate the set from the right....I've still got those last details to add, a door at the end of the alley alley, some hinges and dirt, a sewer lid, some Mardi Gras decorations....Look for this set to be completed by the end of the month, along with the Seaclops sculpt.....that's right, the Return of the Seaclops!! I've promised the finished puppet by Christmas, so I'll be pounding out the last bits of the sculpt over the next week or so....


"Unearthed" - Alley - practical lighting test from Ubatuber on Vimeo.

11.18.2007

Alley - Practical Lighting



I was strolling through a miniature Christmas Town today and found some very cool miniature lights, a couple of spotlights, one of which I dismantled and wired through the street lamp....also a string of golden lights for the balcony....

11.15.2007

Painting the Town


Painting continues.....I need to add some details, maybe a no parking sign, some beads and litter in the gutter, not to mention the puddles (the plan? pool some bright green paint in spots, chromakey out the green, mirror the clip upside down and layer it behind).....

11.14.2007

Alley Alley



I cut the hole for the new hallway, or the alley alley as I call it, and started doin' up the walls and floor, started painting the set also....

11.11.2007

Alley - Almost There!


The allet set is almost ready for its paintjob! I'm trying to decide whether to leave the dumpster where it is, or slide it (& the brick wall) over to the left, creating space under the street lamp instead. I think I'll leave it where it is, because I want the murder of Su to take place in the shadows, sort of hidden, and if theyre right under the street lamp that might not be possible. I suppose its worth experimenting when the paintjob is complete. I'm also going to experiment with lighting. I've considered having the (red?) glow of a large blinking neon sign illuminate the set every few seconds, would be cool for casting light on a lurking Herbie but might be a little harsh for this short. Ive also considered having moving lighting, since parades will be rolling at the end of the alley, there should be some light reflecting into the alley from passing floats. Or I may just go with straight creepy moody alley lighting (a circle of light from the streetlamp, a warm glow from the windows). I've also considered using a couple of practical lights, in the lamp and on the balcony, but I think I'll try to digitally add those.

The balcony railing gave me a bit of trouble. I've alreday got a couple of 'wrought iron' pieces, for the cafe set, so I wanted this railing to match those, but when I pulled out my liquid sculpey, it seems to have gotten thinner over the last few months. In fact I could hardly recognize the shapes I drew with it, before even putting it in the oven. Turned all puddly on me. I tried refrigerating it, but it just puddled up again in the oven. So I dug around and found a bottle of puffy T-shirt paint, which created an almost identical effect.


Ive got a few more last minute details to add, like curtains in the windows and hinges on the newest shuttered doors....also, I was planning on painting a dark doorway next to the dumpster, but might actually build a walkway by cutting a whole in the set wall and extending the flooring back, like a hallway into the building....

11.07.2007

More Alley Unearthed


The dumpster is made from foam core and stryofoam, with a cardboard top....the styrofoam sheet behind the dumpster will be modelled to look like a brick wall....Su will be murdered between the dumpster and the balcony.....about halfway done with the cobbles...


I'm itchin' to paint but I want to finish the whole strip first....
I'll have to rethink Su's train, its too wide for the set....I'll try trimming it down, and if that doesnt do it, I'll have to search out a thinner material...I've got a bit in the short where Su turns to run from Herbie, he stoops and picks up her train, yanks it, sending her flying backwards and right into his arms....this shot is important to me because it is an echo of a shot I have planned for the Jenny Greenteeth short, and this is all supposed to be practice for Jenny G...

11.04.2007

Unearthed - Tunnel, Hill, & Alley

I been multi-taskin' the Unearthed sets over the last couple of days....

Got goin' on the tunnel, which takes Herbie from the cave entrance to the cave/pool...took a cardboard tube, sliced a section out, brushed a layer of latex on the inside, added a few mesh protuberances...more latex needed and then a paintjob...


Herbie will have to climb to get to the cave entrance....I used a 4' x 2' segment of pegboard, scored it in a couple of places, bent it, added supports (wood and cardboard tubes glued into place on the underside)....I've started dressing Herbie too...



I also got about a third of the way through the alley set, construction-wise anyways...built one doorframe and storm shutters from wood strips, spackled the wall around it, built the stoop n steps from foam board and styrofoam, coated in latex, and hot glued my plaster cobblestone pieces in place, filling in spaces and continuing the pattern with blobs of Das air-dry clay...



The alley will have two other residences on the strip, a balcony, a brick wall, and a dumpster....

11.02.2007

10.31.2007

Tree Beast

Happy Halloween all. I finished up the Tree Beast clip just in time. Here you go, enjoy :::)
Monster Month South is at an end, until next year....


TreeBeast 103107 from Ubatuber on Vimeo.

10.24.2007

Tree Beast Halloween Clip Progress

I meant to throw together the set and animate today, but instead spent all day setting up, moving lights, rigging branches and foliage off-set for shadows, etc etc. The live-action bit is in the can, though there's a halo in the test cap below......I animate over the next few days.


10.23.2007

Fires Burn California


Our hearts go out to all those evacuated from their homes in the San Diego area.

10.22.2007

HAPPY OCTOBER!!!

Its officially Monster Month! Throughout October, my cousin Raymond Jefferson Legrasse, a fisherman on the bayou, will be sharing sketches of some of the...wildlife...in his neck of the woods, which has gotten a bit strange since the storm.
Check out the bestiary by clicking the image below....
Enjoy!!

10.21.2007

Mini-Me, er....Mini-Legrasse

So I decided I needed to clean my corner of the kitchen before getting going on the Tree Beast micro-clip, which will feature the untimely death of my 'cousin' RJ Legrasse, who has been scoping out the crazy wildlife of the post-Katrina bayou. Tree Beast will be too much for him unfortunately, and it won't be an easy death....quick but painful.....coming soon :::)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

10.20.2007

T is for Tree Beast

Last October, 2006, the seeds of Monster Month were planted. originally conceived as a way for me to hammer out some simple designs, ultimately choosing one for sculpting and casting, my first foam latex run. I made the Tree Beast puppet, but never got around to doing anything with it. Until now....
I'm resurrecting him for a special, ultra-short clip, a 2-day intensive involving live-action. I'm going to need a puppet stand-in, a tiny version of me to make that old Harryhausen switcheroo. Tonight I started on the mini-pup, the smallest and simplest I've made. No tie-downs or epoxy clay, just wire and latex.
I got a bit more of the 'Unearthed' cave interior set done this week too...

10.16.2007

The Glove of Authority

I spent some time sewing the stocking into a glove, while I was wearing it....looked like a webbed hand when I was done, then I snipped up the webbing and turned it inside out.....looked great.....and then Juli put it on and it hung off of her, especially at the wrist....guess I stretched it out, D'OH.....the stitches were not very strong though, so I'm moving on to a glove....IF I can find one, has to be extra long (to the shoulder would be best) and not a thick material, also fit snuggly....ugh.....I'm beginning to think I should just fabricate a latex piece for her to slip on.....maybe foam, hmmmm......I could take a plaster cast of her molded arm, which I need in order to finish the cave-opening set, cover it with a thin (1/4") layer of clay, sculpt it a little to look like rock, texture it, make a plaster mold of it, and then cast in foam or mask latex....I should be able to put the original plaster cast of the arm into the foam as my armature, so that I pull out a hollow piece, a glove......any thoughts?

10.10.2007

Lilies of the Field


I finished mossin' up the area just outside the cave, which will be a field of white calla lilies....as Herbie approaches the cave, he will trample carelessly on the flora....I've started on my first batch of lilies....I think they're a little large but I've only made about 20, and I'll need about 50, so the next batch will be smaller, for a layered effect...for each flower I twisted up a small square (about 3/4") of white rice paper, dabbed the twisted end in glue, then stuck them to 3" lengths of green floral wire....I'm going to give them a little paintjob, some yellow staining at the base of each flower, also a stamen and paper leaves....

10.05.2007

The Arm of Authority

...started mossin' up the cave set....


In the new short, 'Unearthed', a stone goddess is awoken and seeks retribution, peeking in Herbie's window, then reaching in grabbing for him. I've decided to go for pixilation, my wife Julianna will be playing the giant, her arm will be animated like a puppet basically. My main concern was, will she be able to hold poses for extended periods of time, and I think the answer is no, which means I'll have to shoot in increments. I planned on just painting her arm to look like stone, but decided it would be best to use an appliance since we'll be filming in short bursts. Today I bought a pair of nice white stockings (oy, the things we do for love of our craft :)....I plan to paint it with washes of fabric paint and maybe even add a few ridges or rough stoney edges using rubber latex....right now I'm trying to figure out the fingers, I dont know much about nylon/pantyhose but I know about runs and figure I can't sew these things or they'll tear? Maybe glue to make seams between the fingers, which can then be cut and separated so it fits like a glove? I'll avoid the problem of greenscreening the two missing fingers by placing that hand on the other window, as if she's bracing herself from outside with her left hand and using her right to search inside the apartment....this other hand will also serve to block the window, so we won't see her face too much, so I won't have to worry about what to do with her bottom jaw, since, well, the sculpture is a cave and doesnt have one.....I'll probably just paint her chin/bottom lip black and hide it with lighting....

9.28.2007

Updates

I think I've got a title for the new short.

I couldn't decide whether to keep the 'ed' at the end, 'Unearth' or 'Unearthed'? I'm exploring the idea of an opening crawl for the short, threw one together even, I'll post the video later.....for now here's a pic....

...but I don't know if I'll use it or not. The text might be used during the 'manuscript reading/cafe' scene if I drop the crawl. Most of the text is inspired by/borrowed from Lord Dunsany's 'Gods of Pegana' (c1905), from the section titled 'The Eye in the Waste', which tells of the living hill 'Ranorada', a carved homage to Hoodrazai, the god who knows, the only god to have seen 'The End'. Dunsany inspired the likes of Lovecraft and Tolkien, and with his Pegana writings creates an entire universe brimming with fantastic and cosmic horror. I considered naming the short Pegana, but that would be like calling a film about a perch, 'Cthulhu', IMO...

One leg down on the Seaclops, one leg to go, then arms need texture and hands need to be sculpted.