Wednesday, 21 April 2010


Just discovered that in some places I should have made pictures on a much higher ISO, this way I would have got Noise which would have perfectly fit in in the whole concept of red lights that I am using for the day three of the animation. This way the aperture could stay quick, which would be helpful.

Pros of using Noise:
- Interesting look.
- Easier to take pictures.
- Easier to get a red mood.

Cons of using Noise:
- Less control over colours.
- Already made some pictures without the Noise.
- A bit cheesy look.

In this shot the Robot is getting mental and starts to stab the Sculpture...

Few shots made with high ISO.

Day Two/Tree

The artist is having a bad day at the studio, after yesterdays artistic failure he is trying to recover by changing the chisel to a one with a bigger calibre. In result he makes a big dreadful cut in the sculpture. The big scob is falling on the ground. In mid air the blue colour that characterise the day two changes to red which is the colour of the day three.
I have decided that this transition would be visually more interesting than sudden change of colours between shots.

This is a transition between day two and day three of the animation.

How have I done the shot... nothing to it, just a bit of tape red glass and blue foil that I never through out cause I thought I could come in handy.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Day One

The plan was to hand in the animation to my sound producers on the first days of April. Just now its 20 of April and I just finished the second day of my animation. Al dough the film is not ready there is still a good reason to celebrate. I have done two days out of three. I have send the day one to the sound producer, and he reacted positively on what he seen. So not bad.
Do I like it? Not really but I have decided that Ill retake the shots that I don't like after the whole animation is recorded. I hope to find some time for it then. Just now I need to focus on staying consistent in the quality of recording. I feel I getting sloppy.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Glass Filters

As I have access to colour glass I have decided to use it as filters in my animation. I was expecting a lot of problems but it turns out quite well, well besides the fact that it takes a long time to set them up. I have read few books on setting lights, light temperatures and thanks to that I could nicely set the lights to, for example, the create a mood of bright morning using bits of distorting colours.

- the glass tends to break because of the lamp temperature.
- the glass is heavy and although I cut it to the required size, it is still a problem to fit them to the desk lamps.
- takes a long time to set up.
- the glass colours. I have picked up some pieces of glass from a stain glass workshop where I work but the colours and textures you see looking through the glass are very different than the effects that you get when the same glass is used as a filters for lamps. I have ended up using just a hand full of colours as most of the glass was not hanging much.
- the filter changes the light strength. A filter is essentially blocking a given colour from the light source, making the light source weaker overall. And that means that for some shoots I needed to pull the light closer, so sometimes the camera movement was restricted only by the way the lights were placed, as they were standing just next to the objects.

Second Miniature

This is a second shoot for which I required to build a miniature set. And as always I though that Ill take me maximum a day, but as I started to build furniture the whole proses turn out to take over three days.

The most difficult bit was to build a miniature of a working light. I managed to get a hold of some LEDs, got some shits of metal, few wires... and after couple of hours I had this.

It was a bit faulty so every now and then I had to swear but that did help a lot.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Sculpture

So the idea for the animation is straight forward. An artist sacrifice him self for the sake of art. Precisely the robot makes a sculpture and ribs out bits of him self and stick them on to the sculpture. It is difficult to be more literal.
So there is the sculpture and he ads a bits of metal on to it... but wooooooow, slow your horses. What sculpture? I'm not a sculptor, although I do have chisels and some time ago I did attempt to sculpture but after I have browsed the web looking for inspiration I have found only contemporary evil and that put me off sculpturing so frankly I had no background for what's ahead of me.
So yea, possibly this is my apology for what I am just about to sculpt.

Smoking doesn't kill robots

I have decided to use a real smoke for this shot. The way to do this, is to set the exposure for a very short time. I decided to give it a go although I wasn't t sure if it worked.
Opened the window wide, taped the cigarette to the robots face, made a long paper straw and attached it to the cigarette. With this set up I was ready for the robot to smoke. Now only an hour of light adjusting, so that the smoke would be nicely highlighted. Rehearsal of the camera movement and focus changing. And all set, I was being very precious about preparing for this shot, as I have managed to get my hand on a cigarette, and that was only one cigarette.

So the outcome is not great, but I believe that I will manage to cut out a nice bit out of this.

Friday, 2 April 2010

18 down 40 to go... complaining

The movie consist 68 shots. Approximately 68 shoots, as probably I will have to add a few in at the editing stage.

My problems until now:
- the floor in my room is moving and that is the thing that well annoys me and my flatmates who hear me walking and every time I make a step, but most of all the tripod moves when I'm shooting and that is very bad.
Solution... swearing in foreign language helps, but other than that I just need to check the previous shot when I moved.
- the glass that I am using as filters tend to heat up and break.
Solution... cry very loud.
- reflections. I tend to forget about the screen or any other small source of light. So all for sudden when I do some movement the reflections show that there is some light missing. That is well annoying as very often I haven't got any other way to aces the puppet because my room have obvious space limitations.
Solution... do it again or stick with it. In one shoot I could clearly see myself and I was suspecting that I could have problem with the reflection so I simply go back to the same pose all through making this shoot, and I think I will work out well as the shoot is reasonably short.
- budget limitations. I am making the whole animation with 3 desk lamps. So sometimes when I am making a shot with a soft diffused light I need to set up the camera to 3 second exposition. Essentially that means that sometime I need to hold my breath so that my hand holding the puppet in mid air would not shake. So who said that stop frame animation is not dangerous for you?
- lack of assistant. The other day I was making the shot of a hand lifting up the chisel. So that mean that with one hand I am holding the armature hand mid air, with other hand I am trying to animate the fingers closing on the chisel with by the way was not helping at all. With my feet I was releasing the shot.
Solution... Girlfriend, Friends, Flatmates.

Who you know

The other day I went to a presentation of Richard Heynes. Our tutor said that he works for Aardman and all that, so there was a good reason why I should not like him. Anyway I have approached him so maybe he will read this blog, so yea he is a great guy, he is my favourite and I love his chin.
Richard is working in the industry for 7 years now, took part in illustrating the book that I am interested in buying and now he will work in a feature project with Aardman, so essentially he is in the place that I would like to be at.

Richard says:
- its all about how and who you approach.
- in my folio I should include simple exercise like walking cycle and picking up things and not necessary a whole movie, because they will not look at the quality of shots or composition or colours... So that got me thinking that the animator position is not ideal for me, I should be aiming in positions like art director or director. On the other hand I enjoy animating and I believe that I should know all the ups and downs of animating a puppet before I could direct an animation.
- that there is an animation project in Poland... something I should look into later on.
- It does not matter what media you use, the employers look if you can animate

It was a nice presentation. Now I have an idea what a show-real should consist and roughly how the industry works. I also have a confirmation that Manchester is a place to go if you're doing stop frame. I have just decided that I will always live in a city with name I can spell without a bigger problem... and Manchester fits in well enough.