ESPN Behind the Scenes: "The Making of Believe"

Want to see a little bit of how an actual stop motion commercial is created? Just watch this video from you tube to see the behind the scenes of an ESPN commercial.


The Hole Concept Sketch

While brainstorming the other day, I came up with another idea adding a cross-bow into The Hole story so today when I did a sketch, I added it in. The drawing isn't the best(some shadow and perspective issues), but it's just a concept sketch so it doesn't have to be perfect. The story still isn't final so I haven't written a script, but I'm planning to make this my most planned claymation yet. Here are the things I'm planning to do:

Script(No speech in it though)
Story Boards
Concept Art
CG Animatics
Possible CG effects (Depends on the story)
And more timing planing

I want to put all I've learned to do to work to make something decent.

Here's the image I did:

Style Tutorial and First Book Arrival

Finished writing up a tutorial about style yesterday. It wasn't too hard to do since I wasn't explaining how to do it, but rather trying to get the reader to think about style for themselves and try to develop their own. That makes around 15 in total now, I'm starting to run out of ideas for more.

I also got my first book in the mail today - Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie. I'll have to read through it some and get ready to give it a little review sometime in the next few weeks, so get ready to see that.


Darkmatters Blog

Here's a blog called Darkmatters from one Dark Strider at Stopmotionanimation.com. He seems to have been doing stop motion for a quite a while and knows quite a bit from it. If you want to read just what he's been up to or find some nice resources and links and such, just visit his blog. There's not much else to say, you'll just have to explore it yourself. The link is below. I also listed his main website too.

Dark Strider Website


Wallace & Gromit Tribute Video

Here's a well done animated tribute to Wallace and Gromit that I found on Youtube. It's pretty interesting and funny so check it out. If you go to the actual Youtube page, make sure you read some of the comments too, the creator explains how they did things a little when answering other people's questions.

Here's what the creator said about the video:

A claymation assignament I did with my classmate Sen Wong, and partially Paul Lalo. First stop-motion assignment, and the 2nd stop motion i have ever made.

THe assignment brief was: Have a white clay ball roll in from the side, do something, then roll out again. We decided to take the opportunity of this assignment to learn a little bit more, and make a tribute to Wallace and Gromit at the same time, they're the greatest.


New Purchase Pictures

Here are the pictures that I said I would post. The internet was down for a day so I couldn't get them up. I also added in a little carrot I made to test out the clay and the pastel. Sorry that they aren't the best quality, there wasn't enough light and I wasn't using a tripod.


College Visit and Stocking Up

Today I skipped school and went to visit a possible college choice in my future. Although I didn't go mainly to see their Digital Art Media department, I did get a chance to see it while in a tour. It was pretty neat because as one of the teachers for the department was explaining different things, I kept thinking to myself, yah, I know that. There were also a couple of times I noticed things before he explained them like them using a blue screen in one of their sets. It was also cool seeing the different facilities and things they were working on like their puppets, sets, and their technology and equipment looked pretty cool. They also seemed to have lots of space for what they were doing. He also mentioned some CG stuff a couple of times, and I knew what he was talking about. A lot of terms he used were pretty familiar.

One the way home I also was able to stop at Michaels and stock up on some Sculpey Premo Clay to use for props. I got it because it was on sale(only 99 cents a block), I had a gift card to use up, and since I'm going to be leaving the country, it'll be hard to get my hands on them. I'm going to be trying out some of the techniques shown in the book I just displayed recently, Making Doll's House Miniatures with Polymer Clay. To add a more realistic touch to the things I make, I also picked up some soft artist's pastels that will add shading to the sculpting things. I'll get some pictures up later.


New Books and Tutorial Update

Yesterday I ordered two books from Amazon.com. I've read or flipped through both before because I've checked them out at the library, but they were nice and cheap and they're the kind of books you like to go back and look at from time to time. The books I got were Creating 3-D Animation and Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie. If I were to get only one, I'd definitely get the first one, but Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie has some good information in it as well. The books were both under $2 used, the main cost was shipping, but since I got a free $10 gift card from doing a survey online, I only paid about 46 cents for both books. It was a pretty good deal, especially since they're both hard cover. I'll be reviewing these books later on the blog.

As for the video tutorial, I haven't done any more work on it. I really should start thinking about trying to work on it again sometime, but we'll see how things go.

Until next time.


Stop Motion Animation Dot Com

If you haven't already visited it, Stopmotionanimation.com is a must to see if you're into stop motion animation. The site has a nice handbook, tutorials teaching a variety of topics stop motion related, as well as a forum and a nice list of links. You can learn a lot from the site. If your done reading the handbook, go into the forum and read some older posts. There is a ton of information in there collected in conversations between people. If you need help or an idea on how to do something, just join the forum(its free) and ask. There is a nice knowledgeable group of users that will happily answer your question. So go check it out if you haven't already, if you have, go look through it some more to learn something interesting.

The Handbook

Now that I've introduced the site, I'll probably post some of the user's own websites and blogs that use the forum from time to time. Thanks for reading.


Suggested Book

Today, I'm going to give a book suggestion. This book is called "Making Doll's House Miniatures with Polymer Clay" by Sue Heaser. It's a really good book on how to learn to make props. The book goes through and teaches a variety of techniques to make different objects for doll houses in particular, but can be easily used for prop creation. All that is needed is a little boost in scale since the book demonstrates in 1/12 scale. Everything is very clearly explained and the book is very well done. It is nice quality as well. It is a very good book, if you don't have it at your local library, I suggest that you purchase it or borrow it from somebody that owns it. Right now, on Amazon.com, the book seems to be less than $15 so it's a pretty good buy. That is without shipping costs however. If you would like to learn more about the book, just click on the link below. It will direct you to Amazon.com where you can read reviews, see a little bit inside the book, and more.

Making Doll's House Miniatures with Polymer Clay


The Clay Animation Station

Here's one of the first clay animation websites I ever found, being that it is near the top of Google. Aside from it being outdated and the not so good design of the site, there's some nice information on it. You can view a nice animation created by the makers of the site and see a little bit of how they created it. There are also short guides on basic ways of how to start animating and creating your own claymation as well as some history and more. The link to the site is below.

The Clay Animation Station

Also be sure to check out their "About This Site" page to learn more about it.


Making an Army of Gromits

Keeping with the theme of Wallace and Gromit, here's a tutorial type thing that you can find on Instructables.com on how to make an army of Gromits using molds. It's a good place to learn how to make replicas of your own puppets by following step by step instructions how how to do it. A nice list of resources are also given for materials and other things. So check it out by clicking on the link below.

Making an Army of Gromits


Wallace and Gromit Website

After the last post, think I'll stay on the theme of Wallace and Gromit for at least a couple more blog posts. Hopefully you won't mind.

Wallace and Gromit Website

If you want to learn about Wallace and Gromit, the best place to probably go is to the official website. Over the past few months (perhaps longer), the site has gotten a redesign and new elements have been added to it. They've created more of a community atmosphere by adding a forum, a gallery, and contests, as well as other things to the site. Of course there's some clips from some of the Wallace and Gromit shorts and the movie as well as a little info about it. So if you want to soak up some information about Wallace and Gromit or just join in a chat on the forums, go visit the site.

Wallace and Gromit Official Website

The Wallace and Gromit stuff, by the way, I think would probably be my favorite in terms of animated films(The movie ranks pretty high in favorite movies as well). The stories are great and funny, the animation is superb, the character design is original and unique, and the set work is awesome. If you want to learn a little about claymation, just watch some of the stuff Nick Park along with Aardman have created. You can even see how they've improved over the years with quality. If you've never watched any of them, you definitely should get your hands on a copy of some of their work or check out their stuff on the web site.


How to Build a Bunny

Ever wanted to know how to make one of those bunnies that appear on the Wallace and Gromit movie? Well, now you can learn how to. Watch the video below to let Harriet Thomas from Aardaman teach you.


Sony Bravia Claymation Commercial

Here's a pretty awesome video of a commercial that Sony Bravia made for their T.V.s. It's probably the largest scale clay animation ever done. They animated much of rabbits as well as other things in New York city. It's really cool so check it out.

If you would like to view a "making of" video, click on the link below.

Sony Bravia Claymation Commercial "Making of" Video

Also, make sure you check out some of the other Sony Bravia Commercials they've made on You Tube, the other ones are pretty neat as well.


New Blog Design

Well, after a long while of messing around and trying to figure out some html stuff, I managed to change the blog design. I think it looks better and more original now.


Purple and Brown

Here is some awesome animation done by Aardman. It's simple, well done, short, and funny animation done about two clay characters called Purple and Brown, hence the show name. You can view some of them in the video below. If you want to see more, just go search Youtube.

Finished Sculpt

I finished up the sculpt today by adding details to the ears and adding hair. All in all, I think it looks pretty good, the technique worked(I'll probably make a tutorial on this for the new site). The hair was also much easier to do than I thought it would be. You just need to work your way from rough to finer lines. Anyways, here are a few pictures. You can see my last sculpt in the last image. The proportions in that one are really bad.

*Edit: I noticed some flaws in the sculpt, like the nose so I've changed it some since. I've also added some more detail to the hair.


A Video

This video will give you a little glimpse of what my tutorial will be covering and doing. Instead of using Photoshop however, we will be using Blender. I'm still trying to figure out how to edit a certain part of the video so it's taking way longer than it should to finish it. Here's the video anyways. I didn't make it.


Started Another Sculpt

I started another sculpt yesterday of a head using super sculpey firm. I just wanted to test out a technique and it seems to be working great. It gets things done a lot faster and more precise. The only problem I'm having right now is with eyes and a little with the mouth. In this sculpt, I think I'll also encounter my first "real" hair style attempt. Hopefully I can manage it.

Sorry that it's been slow this week. I guess I'm just taking a little of a break from video editing and stuff.


Working on the Web Site Again

I took a break from doing claymation stuff for a couple of days, but now I'm starting to work on some stuff again. Today I worked a little bit more on the photo gallery page design. Something isn't right with it right now, looks wise, so I don't think it's quite finished. What I'm probably going to do is design all the pages and then try to get my brother to make them look better somehow or help redesign certain things if he is willing to. I don't know when I'm going to start messing around with the tutorial again. Something went wrong the last time I was working with it and I'll have to figure a way around it or try it again to see if it works.


After Effects Video Training: Video Copilot

Today I ran across a site for the second time that offers free video training for After Effects. Sure, I don't own the program, but it still is still nice to watch some of the stuff Andrew Kramer (the creator of them) teaches. Some things deal with video effects in general and I can then try to figure out in Blender or keep the knowledge with me if I ever do decide to get an editing program. The tutorials are nicely done, very professional and he has a lot of them on his site. So check it out if you're interested in learning After Effects or just a little bit about special effects. I believe you can download a 30 day trail of the program off of Adobe's website for free.

Basic Video Training
Other Tutorials


Ale Stop Motion

Today is going to be our first web page review/display that we will be doing. How it will work is that I'll basically tell you a little bit about the site, review it, and then add the site to a link panel I have on the blog for you to access later.

Ale Stop Motion is our site review for today. The site is a blog done by Alejo Accini that covers his exploration into some aspects of clay animation as well as a few animations. I first encountered this site a long time ago and it seems that now, sadly, he doesn't update it anymore. Thankfully it's still on the web however and we can still see what still is there.

On the site you will find tutorials, a "making of" section, videos, and others. In the tutorial section, he teaches about how to use a couple programs (Monkeyjam and Windows Movie Maker) to compile images taken of animation into a movie and how to frame grab. They are both simple, easy to follow, and effective tutorials. By looking at his animations, you can see the progress he has made since he first started animating, and a couple of his newer ones are nice and smooth even though they are short. What I probably found most interesting on the site was the "making of" blog and articles he had. You can learn from his mistakes, learn new things he has learned and shared with us, as well as see an animation develop over time.

So what are you waiting for? Go check out the blog yourself and learn something new about stop motion animation or enjoy a couple of short animations.

Ale Stop Motion

If you want your site reviewed, just email it to us at kramer.klaymation[at]gmail[dot]com. Replace the [at] with @ and the [dot] with . (Protects our email from spam bots patrolling the web). If we think it's worthy, we'll display it.


Web, and Tutorial Updates and a Video

Today I worked a little bit more on the video tutorial, blurring the spots that need to be blurred. It's taking a while, but it should be done soon. Hopefully not more than a week. I also worked a little bit on figuring out the new photo gallery system. It seems really easy to use and looks nice, so you can see a little bit of how that will work in the image above.

Also, here's a video for you since I've been posting a lot of personal updates lately. It's a neat animation using clay on glass.


Still Editing...

Editing is still taking a while. It would help if I had a faster computer, but I hopefully can get the job done with what I have. Codecs are making things hard for me right now. Things I still need to do are blur certain areas, add the intros, add comments, and add the credits. The blurring and comments will probably take the longest. Hopefully I can finish this quickly so I can get to work on some other stuff.


More Editing

Today I spent some more time editing the video tutorial I created. I'm working on the intro to the tutorial right now. It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would to complete it. I guess Blender and Virtual Dub are not the most efficient tools to use to edit video (or I'm not skilled enough), but at least it's free. The most annoying thing is compression. I have to make sure I keep my file size down and since I've never dealt with compressors much, I don't really know much of what I'm doing. The last things I have to do are combine a bunch of clips together into one and blur a few areas. The trick is getting my audio to line up with the video. Once that's done, it should almost be ready to put up on the web. I'll have to think about the show intro some more as well. Thanks for waiting.


Kramer Klaymation Going Shiny - Website Update

Click to see larger. I added some annotations of a few things I wanted to note.

The last couple days, I've been working on the site design some more and I decided to give the site a more shiny Web 2.0 look(It's not going to be 100% 2.0). Some things could probably be worked on a little bit more, but I think it's almost done, the index(front) page at least. After that's done, I'll start reworking some of the other pages. I may start on the About Us page first since I have some ideas already. I'm still thinking about the videos and where I should upload them to. It's going to take forever no matter where I do it, so I'm wondering whether I should go quality (Vimeo.com) or more views (Youtube.com). I'll figure that out later, I'm probably going to go for Youtube though because none of my animations are that great anyways. If you want to see other things I've planned, check out this post I did a while back.

Oh ya. This blog is probably going to get a make over as well if I can manage it.