I'm a student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC. I'm going to be entering my 4th year in animation in September, and hopefully by the end of it, have a completed grad film. I spent my 3rd year just trying all the software on the computers and every piece of equipment my school had in our tiny back room so the work I have right now is a real hodge podge. I really like working with stop motion though, and I will most likely be putting stop motion elements into my grad film.
I'm trying to develop different methods to fusing my drawn animation with 3D sets, and using light as part of my set as well. Hopefully I will be doing more testing over the summer so I'm hoping starting this thread will encourage me to do so!!
Here are a few things I tested over the course of last school year:
My first time doing replacement animation. The character was first modeled and animated on Maya, and then the models were unfolded as templates, printed on cardstock, folded and then labeled as frames. This was a lot of fun (I say that now, but when I shot it I almost went crazy) but its extremely inefficient, as even though the model is simple for Maya, cutting and glueing each model took me between 1 and 2 hours to do. I could solve some of that with repeating animation but I am keeping it in mind and hopefully can figure out some more ways to make it more efficient.
This project was done using flashlights and long exposure photographs, I did this in collaboration with my friend James. It was for a public art project in the Vancouver Skytrain stations. This is where I started getting interested in using light, this is more basic in terms of what could be done but we tried all sorts of different methods of catching the light and some of them were really helpful in understanding that relationship between light and the camera.
This project was where I wanted to try mixing my drawn animation with my stop motion sets. One of my friends had done an installation where she had projected a time lapse on many layers of a fabric. The effect was really beautiful so I tried it with the intention of trying to make the character look like part of the set and not just composited in.
Finally the last project here was made as a 'prequel' to the grad film idea I pitched for my end of the year panel. I made a character, a little girl, and tried out some more things involving light and paper construction. I made this concept image with paint, paper and a backlight -
So my goal was to animate that. I tried a lot of things including paint on glass, making more models in Maya, etc, in the end I just made some quick replacement arms with glue and paper, and just a round head. I like how it came out, but I am not satisfied with it in terms of how I want to treat my grad film. Anyways, here it is, and I hope I can share some more experimentation with these techniques over the next few months. And here is my Vimeo, it has more things on it besides stop motion ! http://vimeo.com/user3363955/videos
Firstly, it's nice to see another animator making a sketchbook thread!
Your work is beautiful. The idea of using Maya to calculate a mesh and then printing it out as a net on card is pretty cool. Sadly I work almost exclusively in the software, but your work makes me want to try some experimenting with stop motion.
I've seen some long exposure animation before and it never ceases to amaze me what can be done in what is effectively an analog medium. It's almost quite sad that similar effects can be easily reached with effects software, it feels like we've become so accustomed to what computers can do that some appreciation is lost for things like this.
I really like your final video; the atmosphere, richness and movement are lovely. Keep up the great work, I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.
With Smashed on this one, finally one more person joins the obscured Motion Graphics/Animation section.
I was impressed with the stop motion, but what blew me away was the "Nova conclusion". I watched the one titled "episode 1", it was great as well. it's so fluid and very rarely do you see something like that, very original.
Hope to see more of your work
Thanks Smashed and PLeon! Smashed, I know what you mean, as much as I love working with traditional mediums it feels like the only 'use' for them now is as a nod to classical methods. I'm trying to take advantage of my time in school to test with is as much since I will never have so much access to that type of equipment after I graduate. I love that tactile feel working with real puppets though, I'm really hoping I can find a good way to mix my stop motion work with a more contemporary and efficient method.
I'm trying to buff my portfolio with more motion graphics/After Effects work, so I'll be posting some of that in the next couple of days =)
For animation tests, these are really creative. I think more animators should follow your lead rather than recycle what's been done over and over again.
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this is a little test I did with a puppet I made in AFX, the goal was to make a puppet primarily through masking. The eyes are images that are pinned with the puppet tool. I wanted to see what range of motion I could get with this technique, and I am not very satisfied with what I made - I could have smoothed out the end of the head turn a lot more but I think I am just going to let this project to rest now. I did like handling the puppet with her smaller, more subtle movements though.
here is a bit of the idea of how it is made - the nose and facial features are parented together, and the opening of the mouth and eyes is masked directly on the face.
this was an extension of another test I did for dialogue, where I made the puppets and pinned them and then used masking to create the eye and mouth movement. I think I actually felt more satisfied with that project, but I think this is still worth exploring a bit more. This is the older one if anyone is interested-
If you haven't used AE before it can be a bit daunting at first, but it is really worth getting to know. I only knew some basics for animation when I started this project - keyframing, creating/nesting compositions and masking. Those are the heart of knowing AE for me, once you understand those concepts it becomes much easier to manage everything.
I took some screencaps of my work area to show how I organized myself for the project:
this is the general workspace - when I was working I used a dual monitor so I could have the keyframes up on on side and I was zoomed into my animation on the other screen.
these are the parts I made in photoshop and imported into AE. I only made parts for the range of motion I wanted in the scene, so neither of them have working legs.
So for this boy puppet, I have three layers for his head - I have the face, the inside of the face (mouth and eyes) and the hair. The red boxes are nulls that I parented the inner face to so that I could move them all as one unit.
this shows how the masking on the face works. The actual face file is just a solid peach oval. I use a subtractive mask to form the eyes and mouth, and the shape of the mask can be keyframed.
this is where it gets a bit freaky... just to illustrate how the mask layer works with the inner face layers.
the arm was created a different way, it is just a long cylinder, but using the puppet pin tool, it will deform the arm smoothly (to an extent) so that I can get that awesome spaghetti arms effect. If you want to have more functioning elbows, I would suggest doing the arm in two pieces instead of a long one like this.
Anyways, that is kinda how I broke my puppets down. I hope that helps in some way - AE is a great tool, definitely worth investigating! If you have any more questions I am only too happy to answer =)
Woah Wallflower that's some serious After Effects wizardry! All I use it for is compositing shots together and the odd screen blur etc. Never thought to use it for doing the actual animation. I was briefly shown the puppet pin tool a couple of months ago but didn't really see myself using it. It's cool seeing how you've built a 2D rig much in the same way you might build a 3D one in Maya.
That definitely fueled some inspiration. I think just in terms of organization learning some 3D rigging really helped me out. Usually my AE files are a big mess of in the project section, but I really tried to get organized this time. Watching some Yuri Norstein never hurts too : )
Actually I had been meaning to watch some of Yuri Nornstein's work after hearing it mentioned by one of my tutors at Uni so I watched Hedgehog in the Fog. For a moment I was skeptical but then realized the genius of it a few seconds later. The Bear cub has become one of my favorite animated characters.
A little test I did for fun. I had her timed slower before but then it seemed too slow.. but now it seems to fast. Maybe she is dreaming of running. haha.
Wow its been a while for me... lots of things happened, I finished my first film(!!). I'm starting up a second one and I had a little too much of a rest period since finishing the last, so I am trying to get some inspiration again and get going, so that includes trying to get my animation sketchbook back up and talking to people again (became a little reclusive last year). Here is a little pre-test I did for my film last year.
I like using After Effects puppets a lot, but in the end I decided to go much more old school, and I animated stop motion over a multiplane. This is one of the final scenes that made it into the film.
I also made a rig in AE so I could control a 3D puppet head (the multiplane stuff was obviously much flatter) and this was the test for that. It was made by photographing the head in complete 360, and using a null object to control the sequence. This way I was able to control which way the head looked with the arrow keys.
The new film I am working on is really up in the air right now, so I am hoping some inspiration strikes me soon.