A Cut Back In Posts

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.


How Not to Fail

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!


Website Update

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.

The Store
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.

The Tutorials
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.

About Us
The about us page will be rewritten to be more up to date.

The Change
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.


Video: Making of ASP "Me"

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


Blog: Stop Motion 101

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


Videos: Coraline

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.


Getting Organized

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.

Claymation in the Comics

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


Video: Human Flip Book

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.


A Couple of Time Lapses

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.


Video: Become

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

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.


I Broke My Bone Today

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.


Video: Tips from Javan Ivey

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.


Animation Ramblings

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