Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Startup Guide

Getting back to basics this time. This tutorial gets you started with the right camera, software, and tools. But from the very beginning you can go further than just making things move around by exploring the principles of timing in animation.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Montrial Stop Motion Film Festival

There is still time to submit your work for this year's edition of the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival. The submission deadline is September 21st, and the festival itself will run on October 19th - 21st. 

Special guest Laika's Mark Shapiro will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Paranorman.  More special guests and judges will be announced later this month.

Visit their website for more information.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stop Motion Tutorial: Facial Animation

Okay, more like clay animation, but the techniques and principles apply to a stop motion rig.  This tutorial is about getting the illusion of life into the face through subtle movement when possible, and believable timing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Puppet Making Tutorial

Foam latex is generally the material of choice for a flexible stop-motion puppet, but some of us can’t go and bake toxic chemicals in the kitchen stove.  Rubber latex isn’t as flexible, but it is an expectable alternative.  This tutorial covers the steps for creating a stop motion puppet with a rubber latex head.
Here is the list of tools and materials, excluding what is needed for the armature, eyes, and costume:
Sculpting tools
Assorted brushes
Hot glue gun
Hair dryer
Stir stick
Screw driver
Plastalina or Roma Clay
Floral tape
Aluminum foil
Rubbing Alcohol
Hot glue
Wood board
Foam board
Mold release
Petroleum jelly
Hydrocal plaster
Rubber latex
PaintAluminum armature wire
Plumber’s epoxy putty

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Armature We Can All Afford

Of course a ball-and-socket armature is ideal for a stop-motion puppet, and there are some nice kits out there.  But a wire armature is an effective low-budget alternative, and can be a good option for secondary characters as well.  This tutorial goes through every step of creating a wire armature.  It is a method I taught at the Academy of Art, and observed some common mistakes made by beginners.  So as a bonus, here are some additional tips:
  • Make your puppet as light-weight as possible.  Choose light-weight material.  If the puppet is going to walk, it needs to stand up on one foot.
  • Clay puppets must not be top-heavy.  Design must take this into account.  The head and chest can have a lighter material at the core.
  • Clay puppets will also stand better if they have big feet.
  • Shop for the right stuff.  Especially the armature wire.
  • Have wipes or a wash cloth standing by while working with epoxy putty.
  • The wire will eventually break.  Greater space between bones will spread out the bending point and reduce breakage.
  • Practice fitting the bolt into the bottom of the foot through the platform before animating.  It’s tricky.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Motion Blur Trick

Okay, so adding motion blur to bad animation won't make it better, and plenty of great stop motion animation is produced without it, but I think it's a fun effect.  It's a way of smoothing out fast moves, and can be done in a subtle way so it doesn't draw attention to itself.

And not to suggest that this is the only way to do it.  If you have a different way of accomplishing motion blur, please share it in the comments below.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Getting a Little Animation Done

So there I was, poised and ready to get a new stop motion tutorial out there after an epic first semester teaching at the Academy of Art, when the 11 Second Club puts up an irresistible audio clip for the January competition.  The idea of animating dialogue I didn't understand was intriguing.  So I spent a chunk of semester break creating the above animation.  Finished second place.

I plan to have a new tutorial up on the subject of motion blur within the next couple of days.