Monday, 25 January 2010

Filling you in...

Okay so basically i was stupid again (for a different reason this time), and shamelessly left my USB memory stick at home so it's been quite hard to get the video tests for projects to mine and back and forth- so i'll do my best since i'm still missing some.

Last Week's Project

Last week, we were given a stickfas plastic man, it came in a grid in a packet and basically just cut them (neatly) out, sand down the nobbley bits and stick them together :)... our task was to use our 5 (hopefully identical) stickfas men to create a replacement stop-motion walk cycle, which meant we had to brush up on some walking knowledge, finding out where the gravity lies when we walk, convey the change of the gravity between the legs and give the illusion of weight. The replacement animation meant we had all the men ready in their positions to replace in the set and it then looks like one lonely stickfas man!

Considering, we were given a stills camera rather than a would-have-been-very-much-appreciated film camera, we didn't have the advantage of onion skinning (being able to see the previous frame overlapping over the current).. so we literally took normal photos and tried our hardest to keep an eye on positioning and watched our tests by scrolling through the play-back button on the camera :) or importing them into iStopMotion afterwards.

Test 1
Several notes to take from this:
1) Yes, it looks goddamn awful
2) The lighting was so strong there was bleaching
3) The focus was inconsistent
4) The men hadn't been replaced in the exact place where the previous one was... giving the illusion of a kind of slidey circle moonwalk round... not quite the walk cycle we hoped.
5) Thank god it was just a test.

Test 2
Okay, so we tried to correct all the previous problems we had.. but now, what we had was:
1) Lighting a bit too dark (will we ever get it right?!!)
2) Zoomed in the lens so we got more a profile angle to focus on the walk cycle... funny that, since this made the focus go completely off- nice and blurry!
3) It's giving a more convincing walk which is a nice change, but he looks a little like he's stomping and has heavy feet... too much weight?...
4) You get a nice glimpse of cheeky blu tac in most of the steps :p

Final Walk Cycle
My, my!! what an improvement! i hear you say!
We managed to focus the camera, get the lighting right and he looks like he's walking!!... very determined walking, i'll give you that, but walking nonetheless. The trick was, that in the previous test, he looked quite stompy and limpy- we found this was because of the midway between the walk cycle when one leg is straight and the other is almost right next to it... from the profile, it almost looked the man was standing up (not what we wanted)... so we remembered, animation is all about exaggerating. So we removed the mid-walk (meaning only 4 replacement stickfas men) and made his strides bolder- hence the determination in his little yellow body... and yes, i know you can still see the blu tac.. but i just think it adds a little humbleness to the whole thing :p

A Little Extra Something

After our little ordeal with the walk cycle, we weren't quite ready to call it a day, so we launched into a little funny happening using the stickfas man.
We has so many ideas of what to do with our little pride and joys (so much pride and joy that i've now broken mine trying to show him the sights of London)... we thought of breakdancing, YMCA, free-running and other things that i can't remember right now.

In the end, we settled for something that we'd all been inspired by in the past "Animation vs. Animator", and decided to do a short stop-motion response to the well-loved animation. [Click on the title to see it]... the basic idea was to get the stickfas man to fear our hands, almost as if in real life and we basically bully him, but with the little time we had left, we had to think on our feet and literally do something very quick.

Test 1
We managed to get him to look like he's shuffling backwards on his bum, nicely modelled for us by Joe... Gladly managed to get some weight in his shuffling, it really looks like he's icking himself up and his bum is err heavy. We also practised getting him to turn and crawl on his front to eventually be dragged away by Paul's hand... The turn was good but still quite slow, so we managed to single frame that in the final video... We also noticed Mr. Blu Tac made ANOTHER friggin guest appearance and since time was running low we had to plough on. blu tac or no blu tac.

Final Stickfas Story
Pretty much a development on the previous test and with the hand!... a nice little touch we thought would work were the nail marks... contrasting against the black background and an emphasis on the struggle. :)

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