Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My needles arrived!
So here it looks like normal knitting...

Until we add a penny for scale. (That's 4/5 of a US penny.. dang exchange rate! :P ) This is 10 stitches by 20 rows on size 1.5 needles, the second largest of the new batch. I used the full 6 strands of embroidery cotton, and at this size it wasn't too bad to work with at all, could do this on the bus without a problem.

My size 0.5mm needles - these I wouldn't even dare bring on the bus! Aside from dropping them constantly (afraid of bending them) they're very different to work with. I'm used to being able to do a stocking stitch literally with my eyes closed! These little guys are like being forced to work right-handed (or left-handed for you 'normal' people out there!) I managed a few rows before it slipped off... will try again when I'm more awake. I tried with 1 strand embroidery cotton but will try with sewing thread tomorrow.

This is the collection of 5 different sizes I bought, ranging between 0.5mm and 2mm. The penny gives a good idea of the thinness of those little ones! I'm afraid to look at them wrong for fear of them withering...

I'm really looking forward to some puppet clothes with this assortment though! I don't have the final puppet made but I've a good idea of his size so can make his scarf and hat now, and a sweater that he wears at one point later on. It's supposed to be bulky/loose so it should be okay to do it ahead of time. Going to be fun to design the little pattern!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some props for the upcoming set - these will hang on a wall with 2 threads suspending them from each other.
They were also the first experiment with casting with a 2 part plastic resin (have to double-check the exact name of it). Worked well overall, and great to cast with, sandable and drillable once cured (which occurs incredibly quickly). However - the paint refuses to cure. I probably should've primed the faces first, but as they won't be touched on set it *should* be okay (famous last words). I might start posting some storyboards as I go, but don't want to give away too much story!!

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays, may you enjoy yourself! I've got a dog who fell asleep curled up with a tennis ball on the couch and a cat below on the floor playing with the now-dropped tennis ball - so things are good :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Okay - slowed down from the havoc Christmas brings, but I am now caught up to where I was before the crash! I'm still doing storyboards on the computer, but am now saving to 2 seperate files and uploading all the final images of the day through Celtx.

I'm finding inspiration in the strangest places lately! Most recent is this quote from 'Dead Souls' by Nikolai Gogol:
"And across the old fellow's wooden face there suddenly flashed a ray of light, which expressed, not feeling, but the pale reflection of a feeling: an apparition, similar to the sudden appearance of a drowning man, which appearance elicits a joyous shout from the crowd assembled on the shore. But in vain do the rejoicing brothers and sisters cast a rope from the bank, and wait to see whether he will not rise once more; whether his hands are exhausted with his struggles or not, the apparition is the last. He is not seen again, and the calm surface of the unresponsive fluid seems still more terrible and more desolate than before. Thus Pliushkin's face, after the momentary feeling which had flashed across it, became more unfeeling and expressionless than ever."

Not saying it's cheerful - but it's beautifully put, and there are parts of the animation where I want to be able to express similar sentiment; I feel like I'm collecting sources and references in anticipation of actually filming!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

not really stop motion related...

But this is just crazy cool! Had to share it on here

Someone in Ontario built this in their basement - it's been getting alot of flak in the media (mostly playing up the fembot imagery) but really it's an incredible achievement and aside from being so advanced - was done by someone in their basement!!

It's going to be interesting to follow - even to see what method will be used for the facial movements. So many of the facets of craft cross over with each other (casting, working with silicone, creating artificial movement, beit stop motion or live-action animatronics) that it's really inspiring to see alternative applications of things. Plus it's just cool :P

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Planning Ahead

So I've still got a ton of storyboarding to do before I even begin set building let alone props... but... when can that stop anyone :D
I'm really excited about this new project, and keep thinking about it. One decision - admittedly largely influenced by Coraline - is to venture into miniature knitting - eeks!
I've been knitting since I was little, and this has been my most ambition project to date:A 4x8' 'Castle in the Sky' blanket made from a pattern I created in TVPaint. So it'll be good to work smaller this time ;)
Will be awhile until the needles get here (special order off ebay) but I can't wait to get started on making his gloves, hat, scarf, a sweater or two, etc! Get them going and work on them on bus rides so I'm not losing time later on.
Can't wait to start - has anyone here tried working with the tiny needles - any advice?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Good and The Bad

Time to update - now with good and bad news!
The good is that I was accepted for a fund! I'm very excited - it covers some props/material costs, as well as free training of some very cool equipment, as well as the use thereof. I'll still be working full time a regular job (which I've been at for about a week and a half now - I have energy to animate when I'm done which is all that matters!) and will be filming at home, but the extra training and equipment will be invaluable! Aside from learning more about things like Final Cut and how to use their recording programs, I'll have access to very nice recording booths, and new editing suites, and can do all my wire removals on TVPaint at home or in After Effects there! Really excited about it. I have to commit to finishing the new piece in 1 year, which is a little terrifying, but also a good kick in the butt to get in gear!
The bad is that a file error must've occurred while saving my storyboards I've been working on. It looked like it worked properly, but opening the file the next day everything was gone.... a bit of a setback to say the least. I'd exported some of the images, but will have to re-do a number of them as well. Back to saving everything in triplicate! On the upside I'm sure it'll be better the second time through.
I've also started using Celtx for storyboarding once the images are drawn, and really advice checking it out if you're at that stage! (Not the program that crashed btw!) It's very organized, and is keeping my notes, images, and free to boot. Having loaded some images into there is the reason I didn't lose everything when the file was lost.
Still getting used to this bed-before-1am and getting-up-before-7 deal, but work is going well and allowing me the time and energy I need to animate, so all is good in the end!