Website Work

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.


Video: MUTO

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.


Blog: The Mason

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


A Little More Work Done

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.


Sound Effects and Resources

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.

Sound Snap
Partners in Rhyme


First Animation

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.


Nofby's Corner

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


Make Your Video Widescreen

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.

Virtualdub Website
Tutorial Page
Widescreen Wiki Page

Been Busy and Distracted

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...


Lord of the Rings

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.


Videos: Meet the California Raisins

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.


Animate Clay Vlogs

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


Drawing Heads: Free eBook

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.

Read this document on Scribd: Andrew Loomis - Drawing Heads


Video Editor: Avidemux

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
Avidemux Forum
Avidemux Wiki


Video: Bored

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.

From Clay to Computer

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


Stanley and the Dinosaurs

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.