Well, I've been seeing a lot of these kinds of posts on other blogs that I've been subscribed to in my Reader and I thought, "Hey, why not do one for mine?". So here I am, reflecting on some of the highlights of the year and some of the things that maybe I didn't live up to.
1. Probably the biggest thing I've done this year was the creation of this blog. It doesn't seem like all that long ago, but wow, I created it way back at the end of February. Currently it's gained around 3,200 hits. I started off the blog really strong, posting nearly every day for 3 whole months. Things slowed down quite a bit however when I moved and was put into a different situation that I was before, making it harder for me to focus a lot of my time on the blog. I think this blog was probably one of the best decisions I've made for claymation related stuff and for sharing what I know and do.
2. I've learned massive amounts of information. The blog allowed me to learn a lot by needing to go out and research stuff. I've been made aware of so many more animated videos out there as well as different techniques and things to make better animations. I guess you could say that just learning about clay animation stuff is a hobby of mine. All I need to do is put some of that stuff I know to practice.
3. I've created enough projects to keep me busy for a long time. I have two websites I'd like to complete, one is just a remodel of Kramer Klaymation and the other is a site aimed at helping people learn more about clay animation. The latter will take a while to create since there are plenty of variables to think about as well as resources to find and create. I also started more work on a short I hope to do sometime called "The Hole". I was able to do some concept art, as well as some of a CG animatic in preparation for it. I would like the project to be a way to create a decent and plausible animation. I also had another idea for a stop motion that I wanted to do, but I don't think I'll be able to get that done. Maybe I can make it smaller and still do some of it. I hope to complete these projects by the end of next year, but we'll see if it happens or not.
4. I was able to do a series of short practice animations in the summer. They were a good way to put to practice some of the things I've learned and have some fun. I learned that timing really is key, and if you time things, animating in 24 fps isn't hard to do at all. I hope to be able to do another series sometime.
5. Relaxed and slacked off. Towards the end of this year, I left this blog and my ideas alone for a while. It was nice just to relax and not think about these things for a while. Hopefully I can get back into things sometime soon and finish some of the projects I hope to complete.
Well, that's probably it for the things that stick out to me. It's been a pretty good year, and a fast one at that. I want to thank all 3,200 visitors, whether they're repeated ones or not, for coming and encouraging me to keep posting information. Hopefully I'll be able to make this next one even better, even if it's in a different way, and accomplish as much as I did this past one.
Well, I've been seeing a lot of these kinds of posts on other blogs that I've been subscribed to in my Reader and I thought, "Hey, why not do one for mine?". So here I am, reflecting on some of the highlights of the year and some of the things that maybe I didn't live up to.
Every time I visit my Kramer Klaymation site, I'm disgusted in how it looks, so I'm redesigning it. I designed the design that's on the site right now over two years ago and I knew pretty much nothing about design back then. It's time for a new look, and not the one I displayed a number of months ago(I've learned about web design a lot since then). I also have pretty much all the material I need for the new design, so it won't be too hard to get it ready. All I have to do is design it and get the coding done and it will be ready. The new design is going to be pretty simple still since I'm stripping it of a lot of things. I want it to be more professional looking and not to complicated. So far, I have the index page designed. I'm not going to show it off so you'll have to wait until the site is unveiled. I can tell you that it will be using the new logo and it has more of a blue color scheme. I still have to do the about, video gallery, and the image gallery pages and it will be ready for coding. This would get one of my projects out of the way so that I can relax and not think about it anymore.
Merry Christmas everyone! Since I don't have anything new both claymation and christmas related to show you, here's a photo I took recently with a little bit of a Christmas feel that I call "Christmas Crown". It's a splash created by some water. Hope you had/have a great one!
Here's an article I came across from Blender Nation. It may be useful to take a look at some of these videos and study them for animation purposes.
"The Discovery Channel has an interesting program called Time Warp where they film various actions like a balloon popping, cracking a bullwhip or a whip on flames, non-Newtonian fluid, a boxing blow to the head and stomach and many more, all recorded at 1,000 FPS.
There is also an interactive page where you move your mouse along the video screen to control the video playback. Reverse forward. These are nice for studying movement for animation; things you would never notice with a regular video shot at 30FPS are picked up at 1,000 FPS . It was interesting to see a stomach being hit by a fist in a boxing glove and all of the various stages of the reaction. "
Discovery Channel Site
Here's another article I came across today about foley, or sound effects for movies. If you're interested in creating some of your own, you might be interested in reading this. It's not the most in depth article, but it does give a basic overview of the idea. The link to it is below.
Here's a link to a blog post that just came out from Hongkiat.com that gives 55 places to get sound effects. I posted a few sites on here before, but 55 gives you a lot more variety. If you're in the need for some sound effects, check it out, or just save the link for later.
55 Great Websites To Download Free Sound Effects
Sorry guys, right now I realize that I'm pretty much slacking on this whole website thing. Looking back at my "How not to Fail" post, I think the reasons are because I'm not trying hard enough and personal life stuff. I'm just posting this here to say not to assume that I'm working on anything right now. When I get back to working, I'll make sure to post something.
Something I've been enjoying more recently is photography and since I don't have anything else to share with you, why don't you check some of my stuff out below?
Thanks for reading.
I was thinking today that maybe some of you guys that read this blog could help me out on the new site a little. Basically I need help collecting some resources. It's something that's not normally the easiest for me to do because of my internet situation, but with a little help, it will make it less painful for me as well as speed things up with the process of getting this new site done.
Basically, I need any links or You Tube videos that you have saved or know of that you think would be worth sharing. These links don't necessarily have to do specifically about clay animation. Here's a list of a few things that I'm looking for, but this list doesn't cover everything. The only requirement is that they are quality. I don't want to have to sort through a bunch of stuff that I wont share. If you think they're good, chances are they will be.
Learning and Informational Videos and Sites
These can be about anything related to stop motion. Whether it's about mold making, film making, armature making, photography, brickfilms, or anything else related, I want it.
I want to create a collection of good stop motion videos that are entertaining. These can range from clips, to episodes, to advertisements. They can be general stop motion, claymation, brickfilms, and whatever other forms of stop motion there are out there. No beginner animations that you just want to show off please. I want these to be relaxing and interesting to watch. They should be good examples of film or animation.
I guess that actually pretty much sums it up. If you would like to submit the links, just post them in a comment, or email them to me at kramer.klaymation
It's Thanksgiving break right now so I'm able to think about the site a little more as well as do a few other things in my free time. Today I messed around with a simple, stylized sculpt and also started to brainstorm for the new site name again. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the time I have free, but hopefully I don't waste it. Here's a run down of what I have to do. It'll give you an idea of how much work I have left as well as help me get my thoughts straight. Estimated time to do things will be in parentheses. I still have school to go to so they are a little longer than it would be if I were working on them straight all day.
Site Name Brainstorming and Finalization (1-2 weeks)
Site Design and Coding (1-3 months)
- Research for needed code and SEO
- Blog Design and Editing
Site Information (1-2 months, with plenty of break time)
- You Tube Video Players (Find as go; Whole Time Period)
- Video Research and Collection
- Tutorial Edit and Redesigns (1-3 weeks)
- Link Information (1-2 weeks)
- Product Information and Links (1-3 weeks)
- Certain Page Descriptions and Text (1 week)
Possible Tutorial Writes (1 week)
Ask for Donations for Hosting (1 week to post on sites)
Advertisement and Exposure(2 weeks)
Kramer Klaymation Redesign?
It may not look like tons of work to do right there, but now that I list it all out again, I can tell that this will take a while to complete. I'm probably going to aim for a finalization date at the end of May since I would like to work on "The Hole" during the summer. Hopefully that will be plenty of time to find and get things as well as do the design and everything. In theory, it should work since all the estimated times added up is equal to about 6 months, which from now, is June. This next month I'm going to really try to get the name finalized and design almost complete. With that out of the way, the coding can begin and I can focus on other things.
If you want to see a Thanksgiving inspired animation I made with my brother a couple years ago, head off to my website, here, and watch Turkey Fest.
Before you leave, remember to be thankful for what you have this Thankgiving and use it for good. So many people in the world don't even have a computer(which you're using right now), much less other essential needs.
Thanks for visiting.
Well, I've be honest. I've been pretty lazy this month with the new website stuff. I've also been pretty busy with other things as well, so it's not all just me being lazy. It's been hard to come up with a good solid name and I need to do that before I can start designing and coming up with a good logo design and website design. Hopefully next month I'll get into things a little more than I did this month. I need to get a head start on doing up a schedule for next month so that I don't put it off for a long time like I did for this one.
I still haven't done any more work on the site. This is partially because I haven't come up with a new schedule for myself, but also because I would like to come up with the site name before continuing on with anything else. Once the site name is decided, I can start working on the design of the logo and then on the design of the site. Then, I'll have to decide between an artsy look or a more clean look for the site. There are downsides to both that I may post about later and let you vote on. I still have a bunch of content to gather, but I'll have to leave that for other times when I have access to a computer and internet with large amounts of time. I am brainstorming for ideas, by-the-way, for the site name. I just have to find the right one so it's taknig a while.
In light of the last post, I too have thought about what projects I should continue to do and how I should manage my time better for these things. I have decided that one way to give myself more time would be to stop posting so much on here. This is partially because I don't have the opportunity to do as much research as I like to for various reasons and that I've run out of posts. If I were to spend the time that I would noramlly spend researching for the blog on other things, I would be able to complete them a lot faster and concentrate on them more. I won't cut back on posts altogether, however, and will be posting updates now and then of my progress and things that I'm thinking about.
Right now I'm a little behind schedule because of a lack in access to the internet in large periods of time without distraction. I need the internet to research various things to gather some links and material for the new site. The new month is coming up soon so I'll have to think about how I'm going to reschedule things a little and what I'm exactly going to work on. That's all for now, I'll have more coming later.
One thing that I’ve noticed over the past few years is that a lot of animators, of the ones I’ve seen and talked to through the use of forums and such, have problems completing their projects. I too would sadly fall into this category of animators. We say that we’re going to do something, we have a project in mind, we announce it to the world, but then after a couple months pass, nothing comes of it and it fades into the lost pages of the internet. What causes this phenomenon? I have thought about it a little and have come up with a few reasons why this might happen and some ways to fix this problem that so many of us have.
First of all, what’s wrong with not finishing a project? Well, the obvious reason is that you failed. Failure is not bad, however, and can be learned from in many situations. Remember that Edison said that he found 99 ways how not to make a light bulb? Through our failures, we still learn. A downside to failing, however, is that you have nothing to show for yourself. You said you were going to complete something, but you didn’t. You never finished your product, you never came to the final result, nothing came out of it. You spoke, but you did not do. Those who take their words to action are those who are going to be successful. How do you think the successful got to be successful? Not by saying, “I’m going to do this and that” and just laying back and relaxing. They had a goal, they saw it, and went through with it.
Now, why do we fail? Here’s a list of some reasons why I think we do. They’re not really in any specific order.
1. We Lose Interest
2. Poor Planning
3. We’re too Ambitious
4. We Don’t Try Hard Enough
5. Poor Time Management
6. Personal Issues
I think these things encompass the main reasons animators probably fail at creating what they plan to do, but there are probably more you could add to the list. Look at this and see if you fall into one of these categories. I’m going to try my best to give some ways you can prevent yourself from falling into one of these in your next project or to pull you out of the one you’re in now. If you get rid of these problems, chances are that you’ll finish your animation.
1. We Lose Interest
This is probably a big downfall in the world of the animator. Over time, we just lose interest in the project. It gets stale, old, and uninviting. How can we prevent this from happening? Get some friends to join in on the project. More people will allow you to throw ideas off each other and constantly get new and interesting information. It will keep your brain thinking about the project and will keep you enthusiastic about it. Taking a break from the project could also help rekindle your passion for it. Sometimes we just need a vacation from the work and once you are done with that, you are more inclined to be ready to work on it again. Whatever you do, try not to scrap the project and start a new one. One finished project is better than seven that are just lying around. Work on two or three projects at most at one time. That should be plenty to keep you thinking and when you get bored with one, you can just turn to the other. Also, try to make the project fun, don’t do it because you’re forcing yourself to, if it’s that way, you might as well not do it.
2. Poor Planning
Many new people to the field of animation (mostly hobbyists) don’t know how to plan their shorts correctly. They don’t pre-plan, they just do things as they go along. This can land you in big trouble and a worse end product. If you’re going to spend much time on this short at all, you should try to get it right and really know what your aiming for before you do it. Write a script and get it reviewed a couple of times, story board, make an animatic, time your animation, lip sync on the computer. Plan for your goal and then shoot for it once you know it. If you’re not entirely sure about what you’re doing, you may lose interest in the film or you could get discouraged by how things aren’t fitting together as you imagined them to.
3. We’re too Ambitious
This is another one of those problems with newer people to the field. We think we can do more than we can. Before you do an animation, think of your limits. Is your animation skill good enough? Do you have the time? Do you have the money? Do you have the software? Plan around these things and you shouldn’t run into too many problems related to them in the future. Being ambitious is good as long as you’re not too ambitious. You get pushed out of your limits and learn new things when you’re ambitious.
4. We Don’t Try Hard Enough
This is a simple one to cure. Try harder. What if you don’t think you can do something? Try harder. Still can’t do it? Try harder. Try, try, try, try again. Then, if you fail, you know that maybe you were too ambitious in your choices when planning the film, just maybe. By trying however, you learned new things and ways not do things and most importantly, you know that you tried.
5. Poor Time Management (Highly Suggested to Work On)
Many people in this world have very poor time management skills. We just do what we feel like it when we feel like it. If you do this when working on a short film, trust me, it will take a long time to finish. What you need to do is make yourself a schedule according to the time you have in your life. Find your goals for the project and set them to be due on certain dates, then, make sure you follow the schedule. If you do this, you’re going to be spending time getting things done rather than messing around and tweaking things that don’t really need to be tweaked. You’ll end up saving time in the long run.
6. Personal Issues
This is the hardest one to fix, simply because life is more important than a short film or animation you’re working on. During your time while working on it, you may run into financial problems, you may get sick, run into a heavy workload at school or work, as well as many other possibilities that life throws at you. These things shouldn’t be ignored and should be looked at before you continue on with your animation. After examining them, decide whether you should drop the project or resume it at another time. It may be a hard decision to make, but try to make the best one.
And that’s that for this article on trying to get your project done. Now, if you really want to get your project done, don’t just say that you’re going to try to fix some of the issues you’re facing, do them. Successful people “do”, they don’t just “say”. I hope this article helped and that you can now be on the path to finishing your own films. Remember to have fun!
So, what new is going to come with the site. Well, the first and most obvious thing will be the design. I hope to make it even better than the one that I had shared before. I want the site to look sleek, sophisticated, and professional while still being easy to use. Here are the rest of the elements.
Before I wasn’t planning on redesigning the blog, but now I have decided to, unsatisfied by the current design. The content of the blog will pretty much stay the same, but I’m going to try to remove some clutter that is currently up there. I hope to also get my own domain name and hosting which will allow me to switch my blog over to that and use the Word Press (More customizable than Blogger) system to run that.
I wasn’t so sure about the store before, but now I’m pretty sure that I’m going to include it in the site. Instead of selling things personally, however (at least at first), I will be selling/linking to various items from different sites that I think will be beneficial to the users of my site. I will also be designing various products and shirts to sell through one of the websites available on the web. I want these things to help you.
The Front Page
Before the front page was a place to share a little introduction and the site news. Now, I’m going to put a blog feed, ads and links to various places in the site, and various other tidbits that I’m not quite certain of yet onto the front page. One thing I might put up may be random tip box. I still have yet to finalize these things and come up with a solid design.
My ideas for the tutorials will be pretty much the same. I will be hosting the tutorials that I have written as well as linking or displaying some of the better blog articles I have written. Something new however that I am planning to do is to allow users to give us their own tutorials to put on the site. It will increase the amount of information and make the site a better learning experience.
The Videos and Photo Gallery
I am still keeping my personal videos as well as the photo gallery on the site because that is what the site was mainly intended for. If things change and the site seems to be more of a learning place, I may separate the things.
This will be a place to go to learn more about the art of stop motion animation and clay animation. I will try to keep the number of links down and make them more quality. Other good links I will post about on my blog or I may make another page for them.
The about us page will be rewritten to be more up to date.
So how is Kramer Klaymation changing? Well, I really want to make it a place for the user to be able to learn and have access to materials about stop motion animation(preferably claymation). I will also be trying my best to get a domain and hosting for the site. People say those things are cheap, but they aren’t for me so I may need to ask for donations before I can get the site hosted. This will let me get rid of those annoying Bravehost ads and put ones that are more relevant up. I will hopefully be able to keep the site going through donations, purchases through the store, and clicking of ads, but it won’t happen if I don’t get enough traffic. This is where you guys will come in, I really need you to help share the word when the new site is out, to favorite the site, advertise it, and use it. Any money I make will help keep me motivated in trying to make it better as well as keeping it online. I also want the user to give feedback and to interact with the site: what to change, how to make things better, and what new things they would like to see. Once all this work is done, I’ll be able to pump out a few more tutorials that I want to write so things should stay fresh.
That’s all for now. I’ll try to continue to keep you updated. I don’t have a planned release date yet since I’m unsure of how long the design and coding processes will take.
This is my second blog post about the new update to my site, if you would like to see the older out dated on, click here.
A video of the making of ASP "Me" was put up on You Tube recently, and is a way to get a look at a how short animation was created. The animation uses a lot of digital effects like green screen and chroma key so it was interesting to see some of those things being done as well as pre-vis, animation, and other neat things. The video is below. If you would like to watch the actual ASP Me video I've also included a link.
ASP "Me" Video on You Tube
Here's a new blog that I became aware of that looks like it is kind of like mine. It talks about various stop motion related things and has videos and things along with the post. If you like my blog, you might like this one too, so check it out. The link is below.
Stop Motion 101
Here are some videos I found on You Tube that talk a little bit about the upcoming stop motion film Coraline. They help give you an idea of what the movie is going to be like and also give you a little of a behind the scenes look. It looks like it will be an interesting movie. There are four videos that I've placed in a player below. Hope you enjoy.
Recently, I've decided to get even more organized by getting myself a calendar and schedule system. Basically, I've printed out a calendar and have written different things to do on different days. Normally, I just do what I feel like and often times that means getting not much work done. This way, I'll be getting things that need to be done, done, and I'll waste less time. For the calendar this month, it's mainly reserved for gathering information for the updated website. Next month I haven't scheduled out yet, but I think it's going to be for the 'The Hole' animatic and for web design and coding. Hopefully this will work and that I'll be able to stay ahead of or on schedule. The only thing that would keep me back is probably school work, but I think I've given myself plenty of time to do the things I need to do. Later sometime I'm going to post another(old one here) overview of what the new site will have. Most of it is the same, but I think I've become a little more ambitious in what I'm trying to accomplish so there are a couple more updates.
M-Flem-Jr over at Stop Motion Magic posted some of the comics he's found that have been clay animation related. Right now, there's a series of about 12 strips from Heart and the City. I've read a couple of them before and thought about cutting it out but didn't get around to it, good thing Mike did. Here's the link to go see them.
Heart of the City Claymation Comics
Here's a neat stop motion animation done with shirts. In each frame, the shirt gets changed and a little story gets played out. See it for yourself below.
I was away for a few days and while I was gone, I did a couple of time lapse videos that I thought I'd share. I guess they could be considered a type of stop motion animation, but maybe not quite. Here they are anyways. They're pretty much my first two time lapse videos.
Sun Set Time Lapse from kramerklaymation on Vimeo.
Beach Time Lapse from kramerklaymation on Vimeo.
I used Blender to put the images together and Virtualdub to edit and compress them. The top one was over a period of about an hour while the bottom one was a little shorter. Hope you enjoyed. I also have a new project I'm working on that I'll probably announce sometime soon. Right now it's in the planning stage.
Here's a cool animation done by Dan Mackenzie from Mack Productions. It shows the creation of a clay stop motion animate puppet.
Light painting is something that I've experimented somewhat with still images, but I'd like to try putting more of them together to form an animation. Light painting is pretty much what it sounds like; you take a light and draw a picture in mid air in from of a camera. Since the camera has a long exposure time, the path of the flash light or what ever you're holding gets recorded onto the final image(cameras take in light to make the image). If you change the path you draw a little each time and do a bunch of them and put them together, you'll have a light painting animation. The final output looks really neat and is probably really fun to make. Below I've included a few videos from You Tube. Some are tutorial videos while others are just cool examples. If you're into animation and you have a camera that you can control shutter speed with, I encourage you to take a friend out and try this sometime. I know I will when I have the chance.
Awesome Tutorial Video
Example Video 1
Actual Sprint Commercial
Have fun and go make some awesome stuff. Remember pre-planning might help you make sometime more story oriented or thoughtful than sometime random. Something thought provoking will get more response than something random.
No, not a real bone, but a fake one. Today I tried out making a chicken leg out of Premo for 'The Hole', but it didn't work out too good. I was really testing out a new way of baking clay things so that they wouldn't get scorched like they had in the past. I did this by placing the item in a pile of cornstarch in a foil box which then went into my toaster oven. After I baked the perfect bone, however(I baked the bone then applied the meat), I accidentally cracked it while trying to clean it off and give it a little sheen by rubbing it. I applied the meat to the bone afterwords and then baked that. When I took that out I found that the meat had cracked and the bone broke completely. It would probably be salvageable, at least the bone part, but the meat isn't looking quite as I would like it to and I may give it another go later on. At least I know that baking it cornstarch works pretty well. I'll still need to test the original Sculpey in it though because that's the clay that burnt or turned purple all the time for me.
Here's a video done by Indy Mogul where they interviewed Javan Ivey (I've posted about him before) and asked him some easy tips for clay animation and stop motion animation. They're basic tips, but good ones nonetheless. Enjoy.
Here's a blog that I like to keep up with called Animation Ramblings. It's not updated as often as I would like it to be, but it does have good information on it about various animation topics. In the heading of the blog it says, "The latest animation news from London and progress reports on the production of the flea circus film." I guess that pretty much sums it up. It's just another good blog to add to your reader if you have one.
Animation Ramblings Blog
Well, I did a 30 minute go at designing a new blog/website the other day and have got a lot done since. I started with sketching out ideas, what I wanted and what I liked, then moved onto the computer. Since then I've spent so much more time on it. I really trying to get it so that it looks good and professional. I don't want to add all these bells and whistles to it, but rather make it functional, full of information, but also looks good. I've been learning a few things from my Graphic Design class and the number of tutorials on the web and I see that the point of the design should not to be to look pretty but to rather enhance the user's experience. So that I'm trying to do, going through every little bit slowly tweaking it to my liking. I've also looked over a number of well designed blogs to get ideas of what my things should look like. Hopefully I'll be able to get the blog to something that I think works and that I like sometime soon and then I'll be able to start thinking more about the main site. I've done some sketches and things about it, but haven't come up with anything final.
I need to really start working on "The Hole" some more too, but I've realized that I think that the site is more important than getting that done. I've already spent more time over a longer period of time on the site and I would like to get it done and finished so that people can enjoy it. If I get around to it and don't have too much homework, I'll try to balance out my site and claymation times.
Here's an awesome video I first saw about 2 months ago, but forgot to share. It's a stop motion video where somebody painted on walls in a city or something. If you ask me, it's pretty amazing.
Here's a blog about a stop motion project called The Mason done by Vibeke Cleaverly. It looks like it is finished now, so there isn't any posting going on, but try going back into the archives and seeing some of the processes it took to get to the final result. You may learn something or even get inspired to make something yourself.
The Mason Blog
This past week I got a tiny bit of work done on "The Hole" animatic. I pretty much finished up section 1 of 10. If I really pushed myself and stopped wasting time on doing other things, I would probably be able to finish the whole thing in two or three weeks, even with school going on. I really need to try hard to get things finished soon so that I'll be able to finish this thing before going off to college.
I also think about the website every few days and how I wish that I could get it done. It will take lots of work just finding and compiling the new stuff I want to put on it and the design is not even done yet. Some how, I'll have to also convert all my tutorials in to html/css format which is not an easy task since I don't know css, there are quite a few to get done, and I'm not sure if I'd have to completely redesign them or if I could use the same basic layout as the image files for the web. To anybody out there reading this, don't design your tutorials as an image file if you're going to put it on the web. You'll end up having to do twice the work if you want to convert it to html. Recently, I've been thinking about a new blog design. I've been subscribing to different blogs to get ideas on how to make it better and as a result, I've decided that the current design is not good enough for my standards. Although it looks okay, it's not very professional or original looking. With the new design, I'll have to tie it into the new site design somehow, I'm still not sure if I want it to look a little different or not. I'll also probably be chaning over to Wordpress eventually because I think you can do things more to your liking with it. I haven't come up with anything solid yet, hopefully I will soon.
Too much stuff needs to be done. I need to set up a schedule or something for myself where I work on each of these for at least 30 mins a day or something if I want to finish them soon.
Do you need some sound effects for your animation? Well, here is a list of a few sites that I've found that have free sound effects available on the web. When I first started using sound effects, I mainly used FindSounds, but more recently I found Sound Snap, a nice site that is dedicated to giving out free, good quality sound effects. It's really easy to browse through and already has a nice collection available for download. So if your looking for sound effects, first give Sound Snap a look and then FindSounds, if you can't find what your looking for at either of them, take a look at the last link I gave you. If even there, you can't find what you're looking for, try looking for something on Google, edit it using an editing program like Audacity(Free), or create it yourself. Hope you find what you're looking for.
Partners in Rhyme
Here's one of the first animations I ever did in my life. It was a flip book animation done in elementary school of a magician on stage. Speaking of school and animation, in the second semester of the school year, I'm going to be taking an animation class. I'm not totally sure what we'll be doing in it, right now I'm assuming some flash animation as well as some hand drawn, but we'll see.
One blog I've been keeping close track of lately is called Nofby's Corner. It's done by a guy by the name of Seamus Jennings who enjoys both music and stop motion animation. On his blog, he posts updates about the projects he has been working on as well as other things that he would like to share. What I'm keeping my eye on mainly at his blog though, is the project he's working on. Right now, he's mainly been creating different set pieces and props and I'm loving the style. It's all new and interesting to look at, but you can tell you don't need a huge budget to make something like that. It's the perfect scenario, awesome style without a huge budget. Each time I see a new piece, it looks awesome. I can't wait until the final film is out. If you would like to check it out as well, the link is below. I've also included another blog of his in the list.
Nofby's Corner Blog
Nofby's Corner Tips and Tricks Blog
Want to give your claymation or animation a more professional look? Many professional films nowadays are filmed in wide screen format or at least edited in post to be output as wide screen. To me personally, it just looks more appealing. If you do want to learn more about what widescreen is and what it is all about, I've included resource links below. Here's a quote from one of them, explaining a little why widescreen works.
Since 1955, most movies were (and are) filmed in a process where the width of the visual frame is between 1.85 to 2.4 times greater than the height. This means that for every inch of visual height, the frame as projected on the screen is between 1.85 to 2.4 times as wide. This results in a panoramic view that when used properly can add a greater breadth and perception of the environment and mood of a movie.
How do you convert your video to widescreen format though? Well, it's pretty simple. You'll first need to get Virtualdub, a free video editing program, and then you'll have to follow this relatively-easy-to-understand tutorial. If you follow the directions as given, you'll have your videos in widescreen format in no time.
Widescreen Wiki Page
Even though the blog posts keep coming(I write a ton at one time to post over a period of time usually), back in the real world, I've been pretty distracted and busy with other stuff. That means I have nothing new to show and it might be that way for a while. Once you get out of habit thinking about clay animation related stuff, it's hard to get back into it for some time, at least that's the way it goes with me. So I'm going to try to keep the blog posts up, and maybe if I have the time or get inspired, I'll create something new. I really need to get a move on some things if I want to finish anything before I graduate. A site is still waiting to be made as well as "The Hole". Those two projects along with school will take up a lot of my time if I choose to work on them. I really would like to get those both finished if at all possible. We'll see how things work out. Until next time...
Not too long ago, I watched a bunch of the behind the scenes stuff for the Lord of the Rings. If you happen to be able to, I suggest that you get your hands on a copy of the DVD's that come with behind the scene stuff. Borrow them from a friend, dig them up from your movie drawer, rent them, or even buy them. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is awesome as a film piece, but also a great resource to learn from. It was a film of tremendous size and filled with special effects and innovations. If you have the DVD's, not only can you study the film, but also watch how they made it. Some of the things that I took notice of were miniatures, special effects, color grading, scoring, sound effects, and much more. On the DVD's they go through so many aspects of film making, giving a glimpse and idea of how an actual film is made. It's good to just know about and find out about these things so that you can adapt them to your own film. Sure, you're not creating live action, but that doesn't matter. Film is film and aspects of it, no matter what medium it was created with, do share some qualities. A stop motion animated film still needs to be graded, scored, have special effects added, it still needs a good story, as well as many other things. So I encourage you to look at this masterpiece, to study it, learn from it, and adapt it.
Here are some videos I watched a long time ago and then rediscovered. All three parts are part of one original production. They were made back in 1988 when the California Raisins were popular. It was done by Will Vinton's studio and runs around 30 minutes in total.
If you keep track of Animate Clay's news updates you'll already know this, but Marc Spess has been creating some pretty interesting videos about different topics related to stop motion animation for his site. Not only do the videos add a more personal touch to the news, but they also share more effectively and teach more. It's a great way to learn new stuff. The videos are hosted on Youtube so if you have an account, I encourage you to subscribe to his channel. Anyways, here is the link. If you need to find out more information, just go to Animateclay.com. I've also included an example video so that you can get a taste without leaving the blog.
Animate Clay's YouTube Page
Need to design a character or simply get some reference for a head you want to sculpt? Here's a good place to start. It's a book by Andrew Loomis on drawing heads and from a glance it looks very well done.
Here's another free video editing program that I found called Avidemux. It looks like that it might be a little like Virtualdub, but it probably has some differences. If you've downloaded Virtualdub and don't really care for the interface, you should maybe check this out and see if you like it better. If you haven't try both and choose which ever one you like. On the site there is a forum as well as a Wiki page so there should be no problems in learning how to use the program. As always, links are below.
Avidemux Main Page
Here's the short animation/claymation I did not too long ago. It's not the best in the world as it was just something for me to do in a time of boredom. There's also some major flickering in it as well, something that will definitely happen if you stand in between your main light source and what you're animating. I tried out something a little new in this, animating a light.
Here's an article I found on TIME about Aardman's flushed away and the transition from clay to computer. Just thought that I'd share it.
From Clay to Computer
Here's another one of the shows I watched when I was little. It's not claymation, but still stop motion nonetheless. I remembered it a while ago and realized that it probably was, then not too long ago I found it on You Tube. I think the puppets are probably some kind of latex or something. Anyways, here are the videos.
Like the stuff that you've seen from Aardman? Well, I found out that you can see a bunch of their stuff on AtomFilms. There's a collection there called the Best of Aardman and features a lot of the stuff they've made. I think there are around 45 right now (The number may change if more are added or some are taken away from some reason.). Here's the description of it given on the site:
From the Oscar-winning creators of Wallace & Gromit, Creature Comforts and the Angry Kid series, here's a library of top shelf Aardman classics.So, if you want to sit back and watch some good animation, go check it out.
AtomFilms: The Best of Aardman
Today I pretty much finished the sculpt. I decided to use some beads I had for the eyes instead of baking some. I'll have to get some pictures up later. I'm also beginning planning for the animatic for The Hole. I started it before, but I realized that I wasn't being very organized so I'm going to redo it, starting in a more organized manner. I'll have to force myself to do it sometime since redoing stuff isn't very much fun.
Film is a powerful thing. It can do many things to the human mind, changing it, persuading it, and causing it bring up different emotions. Film can preserve the past, it can protect the present for the future. It can show things that have actually happened or can be used to display an illusion. It can tell a story or display a scene. It can paint a picture. Film can cause a person to hate, to love, to be saddened, to laugh, to dream. It can inspire and cause change in one’s life. Film is powerful. People say that a single image can speak a thousand words. Film, being played back at at least 24 frames (or images) per second, must then tell millions of them. It can fill in the empty gaps that text cannot describe. Film can persuade, it can deceive, it can entertain. It can change the future. Film truly can do many things. The people of this earth spend countless hours a year on film, both in money and in time. Some are addicted to it. It becomes part of society, part of a people’s culture. It can be re-watched and become a routine, a tradition. It can bring back memories that have long been forgotten, whether good or bad. It can be made through the artificial eye of a camera, capturing the world around us or through the imaginary camera on a computer. It has evolved through the ages. Film is a powerful thing.
Note that I use the term “Film” as a broad description of pretty much anything that would be described as a moving picture.
Why do I bring this up, this topic of film being powerful? Well, clay animation is film. What you are creating has the potential to be powerful. It can do any of the things I listed above (for the most part). The trick is to figure out how to do it and how to do it effectively. If you do this, your animation will be able to affect people and make a difference. I just want you to think about that the next time you start thinking about a plot line or do a simple animation. You have the choice to make your film effective and powerful, it may take a little more effort on your part, but it still is possible. Are you up for the challenge? Even though your creation might not be the most powerful thing in the world, earning itself an Oscar or anything like that, it still has some bit of power because it still is film. If I ever do go into any film related occupation, this is going to be one of the reasons why, not counting all the other cool stuff that goes along with it. Now, if you need a way to increase the quality of your animation, one of the simple ways to learn how to is to study the film of the past and why it was powerful.
Why did propaganda films cause so much influence during the World Wars? Why did this movie have the highest box office? What causes you to enjoy or dislike a movie? Does the commercial you see on T.V. entice you? Why? Does the comedian make you laugh? Why? Why does a scene in a movie make you or someone else cry? Did you love the plot or find it boring?
These are only a number of the questions you can ask yourself. The next time you do watch something, try asking yourself one and maybe, just maybe, you will start learning how to make film more powerful.
I'd show you a picture of the new sculpt I've been working on recently, but I can't since I seemed to have forgotten my camera cord to upload the images to the computer. I've been working on it yesterday and today and it's almost finished. Just have to put the eyes in, but I need to get them baked, which I can't do here. I'll give more info later.
Here's a neat documentary I found while browsing around You Tube one day. I never knew such a thing existed. It was done a while back(1978 to be exact) in the early days of Will Vinton Productions. The whole thing is a little under 20 minutes or so. If you have time, watch it now, if not, come back later.
Just wanted to say "Hi" and what has been up recently. I haven't been able to really do anything, simply because I don't have the internet/computer open for what ever I want to do whenever I want(I'm in the dorming situation now). It makes it hard to do research and upload things and such. Anyways, towards the beginning of the week, I was really bored so I did a short animation which I'll name just that, "Bored". It's just a mish-mash of stuff really and nothing that great. Who knows when I'll get it uploaded however. It may take a few weeks before I have the chance to do that. I may start to work on "The Hole" animatic now since just today a computer came that I'll be able to use. It'll be something good for me to do with the free time that I do have. Hopefully I won't start getting loaded with homework now that the first week is over though.
Javan Ivey is an animator and director that has done some pretty interesting stuff. You can see some of the stuff he's done on his site (link below). Here's a quote from the site of a description of him and his work.
Javan Ivey uses multiple animation techniques as tools to create visually engaging films in new and unusual ways. Using stop motion, traditional drawn and digital techniques, all tools become equal, and the importance becomes stressed in how they are used to effectively convey ideas. There is an effort to present concepts of simple beauty and different points of view in a subtle and tangible way. This is executed with an experimental sensibility, like that of David Daniels, Daniel Greaves and Norman McLaren. Javan strives to present his viewers with something they haven't seen before, while still retaining a sense of story.
Aesthetically, He maintains a hand-made quality to the majority of his work. Where possible, he involves processes that allow him to physically manipulate the medium in order to lend the final product a sense of tangibility. Hand-cut paper elements are a recurring example of this. Even digitally, every effort is made to ground the work in the physical world with texture, lighting or content.
His work reflects an understanding of the technical processes of animation, and reveals an almost obsessive attention to detail and function. Always curious about how things work, he tries to find interesting ways of integrating and creating the illusion of movement. Javan is most happy solving the simplest of problems with the most complex of creative engineering solutions in order to further the idea of animation as an art form.
Here's the link. I've specifically linked to the page where his demo reel is.
Javan Ivey's Website
When checking out the Brickfilms site not too long ago, I found a nice little Wiki/encyclopedia there. Although Lego stop motion isn't exactly clay animation, it still uses much of the same techniques and software. On the Wiki, I found that there were many links to tutorials ranging from how to make objects fly to basic cinematography. It's a very good place to learn a few tricks of the trade and it's almost a shame that it's labeled as part of Brickfilms because many who have no interest in trying to animate Legos skip out on some good information. If you're one of those people who have never checked it out because of that reason, or simply haven't heard or stumbled apon it, go have a look at it today. The link is below.
I don't usually like posting too much in one day, but I'm going to anyways since this is related to the last post. I was actually working on it while writing the last one and had to let it render and upload later. Anyways, this is a test for something that I may try for "The Hole". Basically, it gives me the opportunity to do a more extreme camera move in the world of animation where you would normally have to use a motion control rig. In this test, I used a miniature(didn't have enough clay sitting around to make a large one) version of the character, set it on a table, and took a picture. Then on the computer, I edited the picture so that the background would be flat and so that there would be a hole in the table. After that was done, I went though the process of camera mapping it. Normally I would not try this for an animation, but in this case it is more easily done because of the simple shapes of the set and character(everything has to roughly be modeled in CG, complicated stuff would take forever). After doing it once, I have an idea of how I could probably make it better, but won't share all the details now(those will either come much later on the blog or in a short book on the making of "The Hole"). Here's the video. Keep in mind that it is a test, so it wasn't done to my best ability.
Well, I'm going to have to go back to school this coming Monday. That means a considerable cut down in posts again. I'm going to be in a dorming situation so we'll how easily it will be for me to get posts and stuff done. There may be issues with the internet policy so that I won't be able to go onto various sites like You Tube. If that is the case. I'll have to do a lot of my research and writing when I am at home and have the posts post automatically. I may be able to do some simple animations there, like the ones I've been doing recently, but it will be harder to get the videos uploaded. Hopefully I'll figure something out. I'll try to have at least 2 posts a week if at all possible.
What have I been doing in the past couple days? Well, I've been messing around with some CG stuff called camera mapping. I've made some ads with it and now I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to some how implement it into "The Hole" so that I can have one nice and smooth camera move. It might look odd in the end, but It might end up looking cool. Who knows. Here are the videos of the ads:
I accidentally wrote out the text in the last video wrong. It should read "Lead Wire and Brass Tube". Want to check out the DVD? Click here.
I posted something (the Wallace & Gromit tribute video) of Andreas Francis a while back, and afterwards, I did a little more research and found out more about him and his work. He seems to be a good animator and might even work at Aardman (not sure if it was an internship or work) based on some of the stuff I've read and see. To see some of his animations and still images, which I suggest you do, you can either visit his Deviant Art page or his You Tube page.
Andreas Francis - Deviant Art
Andreas Francis - You Tube
Here's another animation I did today. It's not quite to my satisfaction, but good enough. I may edit the wire out later, if I'm bored sometime, but not now. It's pretty crazy, I've done 7 animations in the past 2 weeks, that's 4 more than I completed in all of last year.
Here's the animation I did. It's pretty random, although you'll probably notice elements from some of the other "blob" animations I've done recently. Since it's just a test, I'm not bothering with editing out the wires.
With me making all these videos right now, I thought I'd share a little about my work flow and how I do them, from animation to getting them on the internet.
3. Once I'm done animating, I upload all the pictures onto my computer into a folder with it's own name.
4. I then open up Blender 3D, and using the sequence editor, I import all the frames as an image sequence. I then set up the export settings, making the output Avi with no compression. I also set the frame rate to 24 fps. Once everything is ready, I render the video.
5. After it's rendered, I open up Virtualdub and bring the video into that. This is for my post process stage. Here, I adjust contrast, saturation, levels, flicker, ect. I also adjust my video so that it looks like it was shot in wide screen format(I think it looks more proffessional, I'll post later on how to do it). If I need to, I'll also lower the frame rate here to make it play better. After all is finished, I save the video again, but this time I put "_edited" after the name. This way I'll keep an unedited version and an edited one for future use.
6. The last step is simple, I just upload it to the internet via Google Video's uploader and I embed it where ever I choose.
Another video is coming later today, animated something right when I woke up.
Here's another animation I did today. I didn't do too good on it however. The arms of the guy kept giving me too much trouble, and I wasn't able to portray it how I imagined. At the start, he's supposed to be rubbing his hands. I guess you do good on some, bad on others, that's what practice is for.
I also went on You Tube today and found a bunch of videos for future blog posts. I'll have to write them up sometime though.
If you've ever seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, you may be a little bit interested in how it was made. Even if you haven't, you still may be interested in how it was made. It is "an animated musical 1993 film produced and written by Tim Burton, directed by Henry Selick and scored by Danny Elfman. The film was based on Burton's characters and original story." If you want to read more on the story, click here to go to the Wikipedia page on it. To see a little of how the movie was made, just look below.
Here's another claymation I did today. I did it mainly for fun, no real practicing of timing or anything here. It seemed to have more camera shake in this one, I think the tripod is propped up too high or something. I'd probably be doing another animation tonight if I could, but I don't have any real lighting. I've been using the natural light and it seems to be working pretty good. School starts in about a week, I need to try to get as many done as possible before then, while I'm on a roll. It was inspired partially by this, although his was much more well done.
Well, I guess I have less to worry about epoxy putty that I did before. I don't know why I never noticed Taiwan having it before, maybe it was because I didn't look, but now I know that there is a pretty decent supply of plumber's epoxy putty here. I've seen it a bigger chain hardware store(like The Home Depot in the States) and at the local hardware store here.
Recently, I decided to give in and try out some of the epoxy from the hardware store nearby. It seemed to be cheaper than the stuff as it was about twice the size and only cost around 40 NT(roughly $1.30) more. The final price was 130 NT(roughly $4.30). Upon arriving home, I decided to check out the putty and give it a test. At first look, things weren't too good. When I opened it, it appeared to be a really gooey putty substance, but it still came in two parts so that was good. I then mixed it together and put it on a piece of wire. It didn't heat up(from the chemical reaction) like I was used to, so I was a little worried that it wasn't working correctly. It also was taking a little while longer than I was used to to harden. The instructions said that there was a 5 minute working time and 30 minute time to harden however, so I left and came back later, and to my delight, it had hardened. I guess I can make puppets here, if I so choose, without any problems(hopefully I won't run out of Van Aken, if I do, I'll have to get local stuff). Here are some pictures of the test.
By they way on the subject of being in a country right next to China, check out the Olypmics on You Tube. The opening ceremony on TV was pretty cool. The video below is just an ad or something.
I found this on Youtube by mistake, and seeing that it was a documentary about Nick Park and Aardman, I had to watch it. It's a pretty interesting documentary, some of the stuff in it was old to me(I've read too many books and articles/watched too many clips I guess), but there still was quite a bit of fresh stuff. It was just a way to learn a little bit more about Nick Park and behind his success and Walace and Gromit. I suggest you watch if if you have the time. It comes in 5 parts, each is about 10 minutes long. I'll embed the first video, but I'll link to the rest. Embedding too many videos on one post makes the page lag a little when loading. Enjoy!
Did another practice animation, this time of a blue man punching a bag. It was done at 24fps and on the Sony S60 again. I think it turned out pretty good besides a few camera shakes and the bottom of the punching bag wobbling a little. I had to delete a few frames from the punch because I took too many again. I guess I need to learn that you don't need many frames to make something happen fast. I'll probably do another animation sometime soon. Here it is:
I was gone for a few days so there wasn't much posting going on, but now that I'm back, here's some more. This morning I did another short animation test. Now, I'm really trying to practice timing and different animation techniques like easing in and out. I think that these things really do help as this looks a lot better than some of the not-so-good stuff I was pulling out a couple years ago. It's still not the best, but it's a start. This time I shot a clip of a blue man clapping, again on the Sony S60, but this time at 24fps. What's nice about not worrying about camera quality and features of the character is that you can really concentrate on animation and timing. I'll have to come up with a few more exercises for myself to really get this stuff down, it'll be good practice for "The Hole" too. Speaking of "The Hole", I bought myself a board to use as the set while I was away. I'm hoping that it won't be too narrow, but if it is, I'll just get another one. Next for that will be to paint it and to build a base for it. Still got to finish that animatic though. Here's the video:
The clap part is a little slow, but I think I realized that I was doing that during the actual animation process. Next time, I'll try to make sure to stay with the number of frames planned.
I edited the video by taking some frames out of the clap section as Ryan suggested and it looks better. Here's the result:
In our opinion stop motion is a way in which to explore and push your imagination to the limits. It doesn’t matter if you use clay, puppets, toys or what ever objects affection you can conjure up to animate. Stop Motion is a great way to tell a story or to just have some fun be you young, old, professional or amateur.
With Anim8 Stop Motion we wanted to create a place where everyone interested in this timeless art could come learn, aspire, showcase and meet other like-minded people. More than anything else we just wanted you to have some good old-fashioned fun.
With this in mind we hope you all enjoy the site and can’t wait to see what you and your imagination can create.
The Anim8 Team
That pretty much sums it up, if you would like to view it or join, just click the link below.
Anim8 Stop Motion
Stop Motion Magic is a Social Networking site created by Marc Spess (the owner of Animate Clay and creator of Zombie Pirates) and was created to bring different animators together and to just share and help each other learn more about the art. On his About Us page, he says:
Hey, I'm Marc Spess. There's a chance you heard of me - as I also run AnimateClay.com for about eight years now. StopMotionMagic.com is a site I decided to created to be the ultimate place for stop motion animators to network and share their art. So what you see here today is the final site which took months of planning - money and hard work. If you want to check it out and join, check out the link below. I'm on the site under the user name of kramerklaymation so feel free to add me as a friend if you do join. Have fun!
Stop Motion Magic
Yesterday I messed around with the first animation I've done in a long while. It was a simple replacement animation. I had nothing else to do so I gave it a shot, following the template from "Creating 3D Animation". Since I don't have the proper equipment yet(still is being sent over from the US via shipment) I used my old Sony s60. As a result, I could not control the focus nor use a remote so there is some camera shake and flicker due to changes in focus. All in all I think it turned out pretty good. I may do some more practice animation tests if I feel like it and since I can't get the best quality, they truly will be tests. This is 12 fps by the way. If I took doubles, I could've played it back at 24. It took me a while to get it uploaded. Blogger doesn't take over a certain size videos and Youtube was having problems so I ended up using Google Video.
I haven't been doing much in the past few days. Been too distracted by other things or not had enough motive to work on the animatic. I probably should soon though, summer vacation is coming to an end. Today I did twist about 20 feet of wire using a drill however.