If you have been paying attention to my blog posts, not too long ago I purchased the book Creating 3D Animation. It's a book done by Peter Lord and Brian Sibley about exactly what the title implies. The book is mainly done by an Aardman(The folks who brought us Wallace and Gromit) point of view, but it does show a couple of other examples of stop motion when it is explaining the history aspect of the subject.
Overall, I think that this book is one of the best claymation books out there(I haven't read very many, but this one I'd think is near the top of the list). It is very nicely made, well designed, has nice and large pictures to show the reader, and comes in a nice length of 224 pages. The book covers a number of different topics relating to 3D animation. If you take a look at the table of contents some of the topics you'll see are basic needs, simple techniques, models and model making set, design and making, animation and performance, making a film, and more.
So, why would you want to read this book? Well, I think that this book would be good for anybody who is remotely interested in stop motion animation whether you purchase it or get it from a local Library. It tells about some of the techniques and processes that go into making an animation. If you know nothing about the topic, this would be a very good place to start.
If you would like to view more reviews or maybe even purchase the book, go visit Amazon.com, where I purchased mine used(almost perfect condition, a lot cheaper). I've placed a link below for easy access.
Creating 3D Animation Amazon.com
Morilyon Animations is the site of one person who does some animation, puppet making and more. He has both a blog, and a website, like me, to show off some of his stuff and to keep people updated about what he is doing. If you look around on his site, you'll find some nice looking puppets that he's created, props, and some animations. He's accomplished quite a bit and has a nice portfolio already. There is also an option to purchase a video he's made about creating brass tube armatures. So check out the sites, add his blog to your blog reader, and learn some more about a fellow animator. The links are below.
Morilyon Animation's Blog
Here's what seems to be an interesting start to a stop motion project called Knight. Although it looks likes like it is just starting and there hasn't been much going on with it, the progress does look promising. I think that it would be nice to see the project finished because the puppets so far look nice and stylized and the set work looks pretty nice. It's low budget, but cool nonetheless. Check it out by clicking the link below.
"Knight" a Work in Progress
Here's an interesting site I came across while surfing the web. It's about a claymation or something of the sort done in India. I'm not sure about all the details, but that's what the site is for. On it, you can also check out a little of the production process and see images of the process they went through to create the commercial. It's pretty interesting to see.
Pandu Mangal Site
Well, my post on wire removal for Stop Motion Animation is finally here. If you've been reading my blog, you probably knew that I was working on a tutorial on how to do wire removal for free, which I will have in this post, but I'm also going to have a number of other links to places that you can learn more about the topic. Let's get started.
Gravity. The source of all the trouble that pops up in stop motion animation that causes the need of rigs and wires to support different objects and puppets. Without the rigging, your puppet may fall over or your ball will not be fly through the air when it is thrown. On camera however, rigging is very ugly and obvious so there is a need to remove it to deceive the audience of what was being done. Some people hide the rigging simply because they don't know how to remove it, but hopefully the links and things that I have in this post will help clear things up with you. Let's start with a few links that introduce you to the topic and how rigging is removed in live action films(the same basic process is used for stop motion)
Wire Removal in General
Fxguide has a very nice article called "The Art of Wire Removal" that tells some of the basic techniques used during the process and some of the programs that are used. This was the place where I learned the idea of how to do it in order to adapt it to Blender 3d(I use a clean plate method in my tutorial, I'll explain more later). It is probably one of the best starting places to get a grasp on things so I highly recommend checking it out. Another article I have a link to below is called "Wire Removal" by Michael Smith that talks some about the topic.
The Art of Wire Removal
One of the main ways that I started to remove wire was to clone the wire out using an image editing program. Basically you take each from in the animation and take some of the pixels around the wire and put them on top of the wire to hide it. It works sometimes, but the results aren't always the best. If the editing job is not done very well, or because of slight variations in tone and color, the area where you edited the wire out can still be visible due to flickering of color. You can do this process with any program with the right tool. Sometimes it's called a cloning tool or the rubber stamp tool. View this article on Wikipedia to learn more about the cloning tool. If you need a free program to do it, check out the Gimp. Another program that works specifically for removing wire is called Wire Pilot and works around the same lines, but is probably more suited to individual images. Both are linked to below as well as a tutorial on cloning using the Gimp.
Gimp Download Site
Gimp Cloning Tutorial
The Clean Plate Method
The second method I've experimented with and found good results with is by using a clean plate. (I actually first discovered this method watching a behind the scenes video of Narnia: The Lion the Witch...) Basically you use two images; one with your wire in it, and one of just your background(the clean plate). Each image or layer I guess would be considered a plate, and since the background one doesn't have anything on it, it's considered "clean". You take the background image and cut out a little piece of it to cover the wire with. I'm not going to explain too much more since I have two tutorials that you can look at. One is my video tutorial that I made and the other is an article done by Kyle Prohaska.
Wire Removal by Kyle Prohaska
Before you watch my video, I want to apologize for the many flaws and mistakes in it. It's not professional by any means, but I did try my best to get the point across. Sorry for any poor pronunciation and audio problems as well. The audio is a bit off of sync and there were some issues with recording so some parts are weird. Anyways, during the tutorial I used Blender 3D to edit wire out of my animation. One thing that I did in the tutorial was save my mask, something that you need to do if you don't want to paint over the wire again. I don't remember the exact version of blender that I used, but it should work on the newest versions as well. I don't remember if there's anything else I should note. Enjoy!
Get Blender 3D Here
That's it for my rather long blog post on wire and rig removal. I hope that you learned a lot about it and that you can use what you learned for your own films and animations. My next post that teaches something will probably be about little things that you can do to make your animation better by using a program called Virtual Dub as well as Blender 3D.
Well, as you might notice, my posting has cut down a ton in the last few days. Since summer break started, I'm going to be a lot more busy for a while, so I won't be able to get onto the web and post. I may get back on to post my wire removal tutorial, but we'll see what happens. If I don't get back on, you'll see my automated posts about every 4 days for a while.
Thanks to Jet over at Stopmotion animation, I've been able to find some Chinese stop motion videos. I've lived overseas in Taiwan so I thought it would be interesting to see if there was much or any at all out there that was done by the Chinese or was in Chinese. I think that the ones below were done in China, not Taiwan however. You probably won't be able to understand them, neither could I much since my Chinese is limited(the different accent didn't help much either). Anyways, if you're interested in stop motion from other countries, check them out. They're pretty old, like from the 80's. I think that Jet said that China hasn't really done much stop motion since then.
Here's a link to another one.
Have you ever watched any of the Morph shows? They're a show done by Aardman about a little blob character that pretty much lives on a desk and goes through different things. Although it seems to be more of a children's show, it's still interesting to watch at an animator's point of view. If you would like to read a bit more up on Morph, click here. I'm posting one of the many shows below, if you would like to see a search on You Tube to see if you can find any more, click here.
When browsing around Flickr, a photo site that I use (and highly recommend), I found a number of groups on it that deal with stop motion animation, claymation, and other things related to the topics. They are a pools of photos where different people submit their images into the pool so that there is one place with a bunch of photos of the same topic. There is also video available on Flickr now so there is a group on that as well. If you would like to view them, just check out the links below. It may be a good way to learn or get inspiration through observation. You can even contribute to them if you have a Flickr account. The names of the links pretty much correspond to what kinds of photos you'll see in the groups.
Wallace and Gromit
1:12 Scale Doll House Miniatures