The Next Shot - Unearthed - Cemetery

A quick POV shot showing Herbie not seeing the spirits approaching....this is an example of an improv shot for me, not in my storyboards but I felt it'd be necessary as I was plodding away on the scene...


Unearthed - Cemetery - shot 2

Unearthed - Cemetery - Shot 2 from Ubatuber on Vimeo.

I'm loving how this is turning out, I've still got to tinker a biot with the compositing/fx on the ghosts...I basically just shot them in front of a greenscreen and layered them onto the Herbie animation using a string of video effects...


Thirteen Seconds Unearthed

Animated the next 13 secs. of "Unearthed", the first shot of the cemetery scene. Here it is with f/x, next shot will be animated hopefully tonight or tomorrow night :)

Next 13 seconds "Unearthed" from Ubatuber on Vimeo.


Cemetery Lit (Mostly...)

I'm just about done figuring out the lighting on the cemetery set, I'm still working with miniature "Christmas Village" spotlights, which you can pick up now while the holidays are in full swing, if you're interested in testing them out. They are fantastic moody little spotlights, I've used them and only them to light all of Unearthed so far. I sprung for a plug-in adaptor for them as well, so I wouldn't have to worry about batteries fading (bonus: each adaptor can power 3-4 sets of lights). On the setup below, I have a few lights mounted to strips of wood that are attached to the underneath of the set floor, holding them about 8" out form the set. Also attached there are the battery packs for each set of 2 lights, for easy access to the on/off switches and less fumbling through cords when I'm ready to animate. I also have a couple of lights mounted higher, one on the very tip of the brick wall and another on a gauge. They swivel somewhat loosely so I've used wads of clay to hold them in place. Alls I have left to do is secure a couple at the back of the set to light Herbie as he walks down the path between the angels. In previous shorts I have changed lighting around depending on the shot, but with Unearthed I have tried lighting the sets as a whole so I can run through my shots without having to change anything around. I may need to add a spotlight on a close-up of Herbie here or there but it should pretty much work as is (I've positioned Herbie at key points on the set to make sure he is well lit).


Unearthed Again

Hello Dear Reader! I am long overdue for a post so here I am, checking in. While it may not seem like it here on the blog, I am always working on something. I have a tendency to have several projects going at once and they all take enormous amounts of time to complete because my muse has many shifting personalities and I am at her whim :) For the last two months or so, I have been trying to turn my Nola Legends series of paintings into a children's book, designing layouts, writing poetry, researching self-publishing. My original goal was to have a hard copy in my hands by Christmas. My Lady has convinced me to slow down a bit on it though. I think we both feel that this could really be something special and she wants me to sit on it for a little while, get some distance before committing to anything. Maybe in a month or three I'll want to reword something or change a font, etc. I want it to be the best it can be, so I think she's right. Don't rush it because of a self-imposed deadline. I can share here, though, that I was a bit stuck on how to make the whole thing gel until she had the idea of resurrecting RJ Legrasse, my bayou fisherman alternate persona of Monster Month South fame, as a sort of narrator, and things really took off from there.
That being said, the change in weather has caused my muse to change personalities a bit these last few days. I've been cleaning the studio, packed away the Seaclops and Mermaid for now, and have re-set-up my cemetery set for the next scene of Unearthed. I have the "stopmoshorts" film bug. Last night I figured out how to transfer my StopMotionPro license to my laptop, worked out some video-capture kinks there, and am now ready to animate without being tied to a computer desk, which will be nice. Once I get the set lit, and revisit the storyboards, I'm ready to move on with the next phase of the short, which has been in production since 2007 (my, how the years fly by). So stay tuned, exciting things happening...


Seaclops Test

Here is a quickie little Seaclops test I did last week, wasnt too concerned with lighting etc, just wanted to get him moving...more to come...


Seaclops - Fins and Flaps and Eyeballs Oh My!

Still working on the Seaclops pup, I used a sheer wired seafoam green ribbon for his head fins and pit & finger webbing, attached with a bit of glue first, then sealed in place at the edges with liquid latex. His eye(s) are 3/4" wooden beads painted with acrylics, pin hole in the pupil for animating, then glossed over for shine with a Sculpey brand glossy varnish. Animation tests coming soon...


Seaclops Puppet Cast!

Hooray, finally found the time to cast my Seaclops puppet!! Another foam latex success! This is by far the largest (and thickest) puppet I've created to date, about 10" tall, but a small bowl batch of foam was enough to fill the mold.....just barely enough :) I've already started painting and embellishing him with fins and catfish whiskers, now I just need to polish up the details of the script for him and the mermaid, finish up the island set (it'll be much easier now that I have a puppet to place on it to make sure I get the scale right), and then its on to animating! (And then back to "Unearthed", I promise :)


Harryhausen Tribute Bit

Woohoo! I managed to squeeze out 30 sec of animation for the Harryhausen 90th Birthday Tribute Bash :) Not nearly what I had initially planned but at least its something.


Hindi Mermaid

Finally had a few hours to spare to work the foam magic, followed the directions that came with the batch of GM foam for a mid-temperature room, but I added slightly less gelling agent (12g)due to the extreme heat and humidity outside. And she turned out beautifully. There are a few air bubbles just under the surface in one boob and just above the "knees", but it shouldnt effect animation if I pose her just so....she is still in-progress so I'll be posting more pics as I go, along with a more in-depth post when she's done....coming soon, Seaclops casting, yay :)


No Progress :(

I still have not found the time to cast my two puppets, and have gotten no further in developing the island set so I will not have anything to contribute to the Harryhausen tribute unfortunately. We've had some house issues, an infestation of ants, a leaky roof, not to mention Roman is getting bigger every day (amazing how they do that :) and we've had to start preparing the house for crawling baby.
I find it sort of synchronistic (a word?) that I am in the middle of developing two water-based beachy characters while this whole oil-spill marsh-land-destroying wildlife-killing fiasco is going on with BP so near my home. I have images of my mermaid character coated in oil and may revisit the story to make it more.....proactive? We'll see what happens when I get the pups done, still a top priority for me as far as my creative projects go...



I've completed a few mini-islands to serve as distant background...I plan on touching them up with a bit of paint. Things are progressing slowly, I may not have time to do a short film for the Harryhausen tribute but will at the very least send a stop-mo Seaclops birthday wish for the video. We'll see how the next month-and-a-half turns out...


Seaclops Backdrop

Finished the backdrop for the Seaclops short and tacked it up, all ready to start building the little island set. There's a little glare here from the camera flash but it should be fine when lit properly. Pups aren't foamed yet, hopefully this Thursday if weather/humidity permits. You'll know as soon as it happens :)


Easter Bing

RE the title, we have a ton of nicknames for the lil one, including the Bing, the Bing-a-Ling, the Bada-bing :)
Here are a few pictures of our little Easter Bing...the giant basket is homemade from a laundry basket...


All done with the mermaid mold...had a couple of minor issues with this one, mainly, I didn't go far enough up the arms with the clay wall so the first half of the mold didnt grip the arms as it should and they were lifting out...I put a small drop of superglue on the sculpt's hands, pressed them gently back into the mold, and then built the other half of the ultracal mold...seems to have worked alright, I've been careful to scrape the residual glue out of the mold so as to avoid any potential reactions with the baking foam...as soon as I have the time to do it, I'll be foaming up the pups....I havent decided if I'm going to try to do both at once, I have two toaster ovens but don't want to put any extra stress on the foaming process by trying to rush and do two....then again, if I do both at once, I'll be saving foam (won't have to mix up two whole batches)...
Next up, set building...


Seaclops Mold - Done!

Finished the Seaclops mold over the weekend, ran into a snag, literally. I went too far up the foot on the top half of the mold. The foot narrows at the middle, where the mold cuts off, and I couldn't pull the armature out of the mold because the tie-down/epoxy clay at the toe area was too thick. Luckily all I needed to do was shave down the epoxy clay a bit, didnt actually interfere with the tie-down itself. So thats taken care of :)

Next up, the mermaid mold. I'm excited to get to work on this puppet, she's begun to take on a Hindu feel, I see her now with lots of reds and golds, henna up her arms, jewel-encrusted scales...she is a singing mermaid and I was even able to download a few Indian vocalizations at Soundsnap.com, yay!
More coming soon, including, hopefully, storyboards (as soon as I get them done....)


More Mer

Got my shipment of Ultracal yesterday, finished the Mersculpt tonight, will mold her and complete the Seaclops mold this weekend, then on to the fun part (foam! lets hope I havent lost the magic touch :)


Moldy Seaclops

Well, I completely underestimated how much Ultracal I had and ultimately was only able to make the top half of my Seaclops mold on Saturday. (I have since placed an order for more of the gypsum concrete plaster compound and will finish the mold as soon as it arrives.) Here's where I'm at so far:

First I plopped down a bunch of water-based clay for the bed, to create the wall for my mold. I used a crayola brand earth clay that we sell at work and it worked fine. Was a little too soft maybe, required a bit of extra cleanup when removing the clay at the end, but otherwise okay.

Next I smoothed out the clay bed, about halfway up the sculpt (between the fingers is the worst, possibly my least favorite part of the whole process).

Then I sprayed the whole thing with a quick layer of Clear Coat, mixed up a pea-soupy batch of Ultracal, and brushed on my first layer.

After two more layers of soupy Ultracal...

And about 1/2" layer of Ultracal coated burlap...

Next came the super thick, clay-like layer of Ultracal to finish it up...

And finally, after the top half set up, I flipped it, peeled off the clay bed, cleaned up the residue of the water-based clay with a soft damp brush, and now I'm ready for the second half...

Ideally, there should be a little more space around the edges, particularly near the feet, fingers, and head, and also more space between the arms and torso, but I had to squinch him in a bit more than I should have because of the size of my toaster oven. Now I'm off to finish the sculpt of my mermaid...


Sculpting the Mermaid and 'Clops

Started slapping clay onto the mermature and roughing out a feminine shape. Also removed the wooden eyeball from the Seaclops sculpt, ended up having to resculpt the bottom eyelid which had to be removed to get the ball out. Clops is now ready for molding. Here are some detail shots...



Today I made the armature for a supporting character in my Seaclops short...I'm still hammering out the details of the story, but it will feature my clops and a singing mermaid...


Thanks Shelley!!

Special thank you going out to Shelley Noble of Halfland fame for making Baby Roman this ultra-cute little chickie tee. Her talents are endless and her gifts, always handmade, are beautiful. Thanks so much, Shell! You rock! :)

In production news, I've had to put Bacchus aside in order to focus on the Harryhausen tribute. I'll be touching up my Seaclops sculpt over the weekend, creating a mold next week, and foaming up the puppet in the next couple of weeks. I just ordered a quart kit of GM foam from FX Warehouse in Florida and am extremely excited, its been waaaay too long since Ive played with the foam latex :)


Bacchus Progress

Coming along, hope to finish him up this weekend and then nexy week start seriously plugging away at my Seaclops short which will hopefully be a part of Ray Harryhausen's 90th birthday event :)

And because I cant help it (and since Mark requested), some more pics of Roman...

Baby Dangerfield gets no respect :)


Bacchus Progress

Still plugging away at the Bacchus pup...life with a newborn is all about little stolen moments, so progress is slow but there nonetheless :) After I finish this little project, I'm going to resurrect the Seaclops sculpt, finish up that pup, and film a comedic microshort for a special Stopmotionmagic.com challenge for Ray Harryhausen's birthday (official announcement coming soon).


Resurrecting Bacchus

I'm back!! Sorry about the huge non-posty gap but I've been busy with baby, and still unpacking the new house. This week I got most of the studio set up, almost all boxes unpacked and organized, yay! On the baby front, its been extremely tiring having a newborn in the house, but we couldn't be happier. Roman is so cute and sweet, I cant stand it...

Two little monsters...

Today is Mardi Gras here in Nola, and an especially celebratory one for the city as our Saints won the Superbowl last week :D In the spirit of the holiday, I resurrected an old unfinished pup of mine, Bacchus (search it to see some posts on the blog here from back in 2007). I'm going to try to finish him up between today and tomorrow and hopefully shoot a micro-film with him before retiring him to the annals of shadowboxy puppetdom.