Here is the final video, and below I will go behind the scenes and show you how I created this piece.
Stop Motion Animation- 11 Second Club-June2013-Kelly Perez from Kelly Perez on Vimeo.
Step 1: Build a puppet
I decided to create the puppet from wire and clay. I followed a variety of videos on youtube and combined their techniques.
1. I made a drawing of my character and began with Aluminum wire to make the torso and legs. I ended up winding about 3 wires, because I was scared it might break during animation.
2. Add the arms and extra length for the fingers and toes.
3. Add some bones so the wire would stay together and also bend around joints. I used Quick Steel epoxy for this.
Step 2: Build the Props
I decided I needed a pinball machine so I created one out two pen boxes, some random sink parts, some candles and I used 4 air freshners sticks for the legs. I also new I wanted to animate him releasing the pinball so I made the release lever with wire and aluminum foil. I also made a whole in the box so the lever could slide in and out. I also added epoxy and magnets to all four legs so that I could magnetize them and they wouldn't move during animation.
Step 3: Build a SetI was lucky enough to intern at Laika and I got to see their sets. They basically have giant black curtains around their entire set. It's the best way to control the light, so that you can shoot any time of the day and the light is not changing on your animation.
So I decided the best way to do this was with a big black sheet I nailed to the ceiling in the corner of my apartment.This didn't leave me much space inside, which was very cramped, but it totally worked.
Here is what the inside looked like. I found this piece of fiberglass that was painted so I used that with the magnets. At first I thought this was a great idea, but I now know that screwing down the feet is a much better approach to the feet than magnets. I used my Canon Rebel t4i in combination with DragonFrame (http://www.dragonframe.com/) the stop motion animation software.
Step 4: Planning
Before I could animate I had to plan so here is my video reference and then my thumbnail drawings. It;s absolutely essential to know what you want to do with stop motion or else you will be wasting time and the puppet.
(For further detail into my planning process please take a look at this post: http://theanimationschoolbus.blogspot.com/2011/05/figuring-it-all-out-in-your-video.html)
Here is my planning on paper, analyzing my actions from my video reference.
If you notice my final animation changed a bit from the original planning. This happened due to the limitation of the puppets, which I was not aware of until animation started. Every step in the process should work to improve on the previous, so in actual animation I adjusted my planning to fit the scene.
Step 4: Animate
Animation was very tough, since I had to keep track of the body, facial and lip sync animation all at the same time. I also bumped the camera a few times, even my dog touched the tripod legs and moved the camera. So there were quite a few technical issues to deal with. I ended up re-shooting the beginning of the line twice since I completely bumped the camera and had to start over, luckily that was a good practice round. I began to get the hang of it after a while. It's very much of a straight ahead approach to animation. Also another important tip is to always wear black, so that the color of your clothe does not bounce back with the light.
-Screw down feet, no magnets
-A bigger workspace, because being so crammed caused me to bump the set and camera quite a bit
-Fully seal your background poster board, I only sealed the corners and the center would bubble up every time I sat down to animate.
Hope this made sense and I highly encourage everyone to try stop motion. It's certainly a bit of work to get this all up an running, but the final product is absolutely wonderful. I think many people can agree that there is a certain charm to stop motion animation. You are truly bringing an inanimate object to life, I absolutely loved it!
Stay inspired :)