Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stop Motion ~ "Road Kill Flowers"

Road Kill Wombat collects up the dead bird. Click to see the short filmThis is a web version of the stop mo' short film experiment.

This time I converted the AVI file to an FLV and uploaded to

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play
I think the most challenging part of making a stop motion film is animating the pauses (the 'mah'). There is such a compulsion to move the puppet on every frame when in the animating groove. This film could have used a pause, a moment of reflection, once the bird is buried. So the puppet doesn't die, an eye movement and maybe pushing some facial clay into a subtle expression change would have worked.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Life Drawing

chalk and charcoal on unprinted newspaper I was chatting with Jane our teacher about how good it is to stand up at an easel and draw for two hours.

Drawing big and using your whole body. Moving rather than sitting still with only eyes darting and hands moving as has become the animation student's life. It's nice to get out of a chair and away from a screen, mouse, tablet and keyboard to make some marks directly on to a surface. It's so immediate and textured.

chalk and charcoal on unprinted newspaperSometimes I feel the technology, while being the tool, is also the barrier between us and our imaginations appearing in the pixels.

A return to organic, to tangibility, is like drinking a long, cold beer after staring into a furnace all day.

Hopefully life drawing, and studio life drawing, will remain integral to the drawing with my non-preferred sideanimation course at SBIT.

Stop Motion - 252 painstakingly posed images

For our main assessment for "Create 2D Digital Animation" (Wednesday class with Jane), we are experimenting in, "learning by doing", stop motion animation.

The process has been to produce a short narrative idea to build into a film, produce some thumbnail drawings and develop a storyboard, design and build/sculpt characters, then animate.

A step that could have more time applied to it, that may have aided in planning, would have been to work on timimg out rough animation 'tests' in Monkey Jam. Either by doing these as paper and pencil line tests, or short sequences of stop motion.

The animation part is the most challenging, trying to work out how much to move and not move a puppet to get an idea of timing. Other challenges have been set design, achieving camera angles and framing of shots within the limitations of the set design, lighting and technical details with working with cameras and software.

This film was made using my digital camera (BenQ DC S30), the teacher's tripod, the course's 1Gb memory card in the camera. The set is a cut down, painted, polystyrene foam broccoli box. The poor lighting is ambient light plus a halogen desk lamp. The 'grass' is green fur. The dirt is from the banks of the Enoggera Creek in Brisbane (and what fine red dirt it is!).

Individual frames were captured on the digital camera. They were transfered to a computer. The frame images were adjusted in Photoshop using a "Batch action" command. The resultant smaller images were imported into Monkey Jam, viewed, and an AVI file exported with Microsoft Video 1 compression. The rough film was uploaded to Vimeo (further compressed) and the result is below (once it's ready on Vimeo).

Road Kill Wombat from Frank G on Vimeo.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Interactive Flash - test #1

Yesterday, Terry got the 2nd year's started with some basic action scripting. Then he left us to discover how to apply this new knowledge to a basic interactive Flash idea.

Unfortunately, I was sitting next to an unmentionable but highly influential first year who fancies himself as a creative director.

The result is Jelly Shots v.1.0.

It's therapeutic.