It's Been Forever

Wow. It's been over three months since I've more regularly posted on this blog and two since my last post. School is now out and I have the ability to put my focuses in other areas. Sadly, however, this isn't a post to say that I'm going to be coming back to pots more often. This blog will probably stay dead for quite a while now and I have no intentions of posting much on it any time in the near future. All is not bad news though, but before the good news I'll give you a quick rundown of what has been going on in my life.

The thing that has pretty much been keeping me from anything clay animation related is school, friends, and other interests. Like I had said in previous posts on this blog, my living situation, and essentially, my life-style, so that I could no longer research and update the blog as regularly as I once had. The last months of school were pretty busy for me. I had a number of classes where I had to put more focus into and other side projects that ate up my time. My planning for the new stop motion site I'm developing was even stopped because it was too hard for me to focus on and think about.

So now that school is over for a summer, what I'm a going to do? Well, I've decided to put a lot of my focus for the summer into art related projects and towards building a portfolio for the college application process. I've learned a lot in the past year or two about different mediums, styles, and artistic techniques, but I have not yet applied many of them to my own pieces. This summer I hope to do that. This is where the good news comes in (pertaining to this blog). Among my various projects that I have somewhat planned, I've included the stop motion website along with a possible number of animations advertising the site. As for The Hole, I'm thinking about ditching it. It's just something that would take too much work for me to do and would take time away from other projects. I also pretty much decided this past year that animation probably is not the route that I will be taking in college even though I am willing to be exposed to it. We'll see if I change my mind in the future.

For any readers that I still have out there that would be interested, I'm probably going to be starting a blog or just a twitter account in which I can post some of the things and ideas that I'm working on this summer. That will come a little later though, when I can set everything up. As for what will be posted on it, I'll give you a quick run down of some of the other ideas that I have.

Sculpture - A bust and I'm open to more ideas
Photography - Stock and fine art photos
Graphic Design - Logos, Website Design, Branding, Illustration, Photo Manipulation
CG - Not sure yet, something that shows my skill and knowledge
Video - Film(of the photography sort), Motion Graphics, Stop Motion Animation, Time Lapses, Possibly Special Effects and Compositing Work
Fine Arts - Drawing, Painting, Digital Painting
Web - Portfolio Site, Stop Motion Site, Maybe try coding Kramer Klaymation

As always, these things are subject to change and there's always the chance that something will mess up my plans for the summer completely.

That's all I have for you for now. Hopefully I'll be able to pump out some sweet stuff and have a site up sometime to teach and share a little about the world of stop motion(it'll be 10 times better than this blog ever was).


It's Been a While

The other day, I realized that it's been over a month since I've posted on the blog. As with previous posts, I'm still busy with life and school. Don't worry though, I still get the chance to work on the new site every once in a while. I'm still working on coming up with the perfect name. Until my next post, which may take even longer to come, just assume that things are busy with me and that I work on things every once in a while.


Here's the Animation

Well, it took me a little longer to get the animation up than I expected. I ran into some upload problems and wasn't able to get to reuploading it until now. Here it is though. In the second "scene", the blob is supposed to be sleeping when it bobs its head up and down. It might be hard to tell since there aren't any sound effects.

Also, for the site, I'm still trying to come up with a name. I think I'm probably trying too hard in some ways, but I decided to do some research to try to help come up some ideas. Hopefully I'll find something good sometime so that I can actually start getting some work done.


Another Animation and Ideas

Well, I decided to try out another animation in my dorm room the other day, and it was somewhat successful. Since my last one, I've gotten a lamp to use for lighting which is better because it lights from the side rather than from the front like the ceiling light was doing. If you don't remember my last one, the ceiling light was causing my shadow to be cast onto the stage, causing flickering in the animation. The animation still isn't perfect. There's still some camera shake and the flicker is still there. I'm not quite sure why there is flickr, it may have something to do with the white balance or just something else. I'll have to look into it a little more. I'll post the animation later, I have to get a codec installed on the computer to compress it.

Something else that I also did today was come up with some ideas about creating motion design things by using stopmotion and hand drawn animation. I realized half way into doing it that I was probably making it a little more difficult than it would be if I just did it straight on the computer using various free programs, but there still may be some benefits to this method that I have yet to find. Basically I did some simple drawn animations and then keyed them on the computer and imported them into blender to use for various projects. This one was pretty rough because it was just a test, but since it works, I can try more later.

That's all for now, got to go.


Busy & Uninspired

Well, break is over, and school has started up again. So far, I’ve been really busy with various activities and schoolwork. I also haven’t been feeling the most inspired for any of the projects that I’ve created for myself so I haven’t done anything new since my last post. Hopefully I’ll be able to get into things again sometime. I’ve hit a stand still for my Kramer Klaymation design because I can’t code it, and I don’t want to spend the time learning how to code it right now.

To get things moving again for the stop motion site, which I would like to do soon, I probably should start brainstorming again for the site name. Nothing that I previously came up with met my standards so I’ll have to start all over again. One that is decided, it would give me the ability to start thinking about the logo design and branding. I’d really like to create some cool stop motion videos advertising the site, but before I can plan things too much, I need to know the name. One that is done comes the grueling task of more planning, designing the site, getting content, coding, and more. Fun stuff, but time absorbing and thought-provoking. There are also plenty of barriers that I have to figure out how to jump over. Maybe I’ll have to walk around a couple.

If anyone wonders why I post these posts about not getting work done, it’s because talking about it gets my mind thinking again and will possibly trigger some inspiration. Thanks for reading.


Her Morning Elegance

This stop motion video was featured on Yahoo.com today and has over 2 million view on Youtube. Just thought I'd share it.



If you already hadn't guessed, I've gave up on the idea of the short. By the time I started feeling well enough to try to work on it, too much of my break had gone by and I wouldn't have had the time to finish it. Maybe I'll try it another time. If I can get a story ready, maybe in the future I'll be able to try to animate it over a long weekend or something. We'll see. I haven't worked on the stop motion site any this week, I'll probably start thinking about it again once break is over. No other news right now.


Random Animation

Here's some of the random animation I did. It's not the best because I did two things that an animator shouldn't do. First of all, I used natural lighting, so the lighting changes because of clouds covering the sun. I also touched the camera to take each picture, so there's a considerable amount of shake. I mainly did it for the animation though, so it doesn't matter too much. Here's the video:

I found that I'm a little bit off with animating at 24 fps, so I set this at 20 fps. That's something I'll have to work on next time.

Here's a random tip that I'll leave you with. If you want to compress something fairly well without much quality loss, use Xvid. I got this video down from around 400mb to 8mb without much change.


Happy Year of the Ox!

In light of the season, here's a short, supposedly cut-out, animation.

I'll be posting some of the random animation I've done recently within the next few days. It's nothing special, but at least it shows me some areas I could improve on if I ever get to feeling good enough to do this other short.

Plans Interrupted

"Things may interrupt, like sickness or other plans, but for the most part, instead of spending time on the computer and slacking off, I'm going to try to work on this."

Things haven't gone quite as planned. When writing my last post, I felt like I could be catching a cold, and therefore included the example in the quote above. Since then, I have caught a cold and have a cough which are taking a lot of energy out of me. Because of this, I haven't really been able to concentrate on the things that I wish to and might have to possibly wait until another time to do this, depending on how soon I get better.

I have developed a little bit of a story in the midst of my sickness, but it's nothing much and still needs a lot of work before it's anything worth making. It's a bit cliche at the moment, so I need to figure some twist or create a deeper plot. I also have to be careful at not making it too complicated because I don't want to spend too much time on creating the actual film.

That's it for now. I'll write another post if things progress any.


Chinese New Years Break

photo by Laurence & Annie

Well, I'm on break again, but this time for Chinese New Years. I've been trying to think on how I should use it and have been having a hard time deciding since I have quite a few projects that I can create for myself to do or can continue to work on previous projects I've started. After animating some simple stuff this after noon, I think that instead of working on drawing, any of my websites, or a lot of photography stuff, I'm going to create a short animation. It's something that I can't normally do in my dorming situation and I always forget how fun it is seeing something you've done come to life. That week of practice I did before the summer ended also showed me that my skills have developed enough to create something simple yet effective.

I've also realized that my mind set for these things is off a little. Before, I was focusing way too much on the medium and the art of stop motion. That's why I never got anything done. With the research that's come along with this new site I'm developing, as well as just some simple thought, I've come to understand that the medium isn't the point. It's the story(I heard this before, but never really took it to heart) and the characters(realized this more recently). I also shouldn't be trying to create a "clay animation" but rather a piece of work that someone can enjoy or ponder over. Also, after watching Lewimations film, I realize that he didn't get it perfect, and yet he succeeded. I should be showing off the imperfections of the art anyways, showing how tangible it really is. Even if it's not as perfect as I would like it to be sometimes, I can practice through creating a story rather than through boring old practice. These are going to be some of the ideas I will be stressing on the stopmotion site, if I ever get it done, so that people don't get caught up in the same rut I did for over a couple years.

So, hopefully, this week I'll be able to get a good start or finish a short animation with a length of one to five minutes. Things may interupt, like sickness or other plans, but for the most part, instead of spending time on the computer and slacking off, I'm going to try to work on this. Some goals I have are:

- Make it simple
- Create characters with unique personalites
- Create something interesting out of clay
- Add sound (I usually don't add sound because I'm lazy, but it really does help, and I'm trying to enhance the user's experience now)
- Create a decent story line
- Storyboard, but don't take too much time on it
- Make it unique (I'm going to try to personalize it a little in some way or add some twist to it to make it my own)
- Finish it (If not over break, sometime else)

The characters are most likely going to be some sort of blob. Why? It's what I'm comfortable with and I'm going to challenge myself to make them more than just a blob through the animating. I'm probably going to have a minimal amount of props/backdrops as well. My main focuses are going to be camera angles and animation. Hopefully be able to use the camera angle to benefit the animation. I may even break out the digital SLR for this one, even though those posts on the stopmotionanimation.com forums about the sensor dying make me nervous. An SLR would give me much better DOF and stabiltiy and would help me feel like I'm getting better quality.

Now I have to think of a story, but I think that it won't be too hard since I'm looking at this in a different way now. As a side note, if I decide to drop "The Hole", it's because of the very reasons I mentioned in this. It started more as a portfolio/practice type of thing, but I've thought of some ways I can possibly save it. One of the things that concerns me with that one is the set.

I'll hopefully update as I go along.


A Little Update

Here's a little update on what I've been doing recently, or what's happening rather. I haven't had the chance to really get any coding done for the new KK site. I still have to decide whether or not I want to use a certain method of creating it or not.

For the stop motion site, I have done a little more research on how I will go about of actually organizing content online and have come across some ideas on how to do that. It still will take some good thought processing before I decide exactly how I want the site to run and how it will work and everything before I have a final decision. What I’ve found out already, however, looks promising and will allow me to get the content up on the web in a professional way with my very limited knowledge of web programming. I’ve also filled in my little outline with a little more information, but it still needs quite a bit of work. Ideas keep changing and morphing as I learn new things which I guess is good because it’ll give me a better end product since I’ve thought through a lot of the possible ways of doing things.

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m probably changing my release date for the site from what I hoped to be early summer before(when my dreams for it weren’t as large) to maybe the end of 2009. This will give me enough time to work on it, with a nice bit of time during summer vacation, and will also make things easier to do from a legal standpoint.

School-wise, I’ve started an animation class with the new semester. Hopefully I’ll learn some neat things from it, try out some new mediums (flash based animation), and build my portfolio a little. If I create anything I feel that is worth-while posting, I’ll do just that. That's all for now.


Work Update

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I've been working on what I'll just be calling the 'stop motion site' again. I think I found out a better organization style and technique to get it moving again. Part of the reason I was having trouble was because I wasn't organized enough and able to look at the project as a whole. Now I can do that so I'm pretty much making an outline of main ideas that have to do with the site and refining and adding details to it. I guess the idea that you use in art to start out rough and then refine works in many areas as well. The outline idea also gives me a chance to come up with solid ideas first and then build what I know I want. Too much guess work was making it hard for me to visualize certain things before. This way I don't have to worry about certain things until others are out of the way. So now I'm just filling that outline in every once in a while until I feel it gets full enough to move onto something else.

In other news, I finished the new KK design not too long ago. I actually finished it soon after I posted about it first. Now all that needs to be done is to get the coding finished which may take a while since I'm not all that knowledgeable in the ways of CSS which I would like to use.

Thats all for now.


The Great Hat Heist - Lewimations

This is about a video that I found by Lewimations that was completed over a year ago now. I remember when the film was still in production and getting hyped to see the final product after watching a short trailer. Since then, I lost track of the film, the website that was once up also seemed to stop being hosted, and the film only became a distant memory. Something jogged my memory today, however, and I went and decided to search for the site again to see if it was up. Instead of finding the site, which is still gone, I found the completed video on YouTube. What's neat about the video is that it's really well done and also that it's all done by a 15 year old. Although the animation isn't the most advanced(it's still very good) in the video, Lewi conquered the most important parts of a film. He created a great story, gave it style, mood, and atmosphere, and completed it. Those were the things that mattered. He succeeded in where many have failed, and best yet, he's got it all figured out at a young age. Aardman has realized this as well as different film festivals. When Lewi sent in some of his work to Aardman without actually giving them his name, they were interested in hiring him, at the time he was only 14. He's also won a variety of awards for different shorts he's completed, but I don't know if they are available to the public anywhere.

Well, here's the video. I encourage you to enjoy it the first time around, and then watch it again and study it. Try to find out what makes it good. Then look at the flaws and imperfections. Look at the lighting, animation, set, special effects, camera angles, ect. Hopefully this will make you realize that stop-motion animation doesn't have to be perfect, and that you very possibly have the ability to make something great as well. It takes work and time, but it's possible.

Here are some of the articles I found about him:
Teenager Turns Down Animation Job
Success at Film Festival

If anybody finds out or knows of a website or anything new that Lewi is working on, please post it in a comment or email it to me. I'd like to keep updated with his stuff.