Friday, October 17, 2008

Stop-Motion Animation - Part 1

Graeme Patterson is a Canadian artist who is the featured visiting artist at the Ottawa School of Art this year. His specialty is stop-motion animation and installations using the films he creates set into the very elaborate sets he makes. His show opened last night at the school. I was so excited to see his films. They are very charming and I was extra excited because he is teaching a workshop on how to do what he does.... so very happy to learn this... feeling very lucky...!

Today we started a two day workshop on how to make your own puppet and stop-action animation. I have wanted to do this forever, so I signed up as soon as the list went up.

Step 1 : wire form with duct tape at hip joint and shoulder joints, one hand attached with extra long fingers

Our figures were made of wire, foam, fabric (pantyhose and your choice of cloth for clothing, feathers used for hair or fur if making an animal), glue from a glue gun.

It's messy and you burn your fingers often. I am used to this method of working because of the friendly plastic I have used for years, so it didn't bother me at all, but was annoying at times because it takes longer to cool down than FP does. I also used cardboard for the soles of the sandals.


Step 2: adding foam to bulk up the frame using a glue gun to attache pieces as well as forming the hands with the glue






The whole character was put together with only a glue gun and some foam over the basic wire frame.

Skin is created by stretching pantyhose over the foam and attaching it with the glue gun. Seams are really visible but it doesn't seem to matter. If added delineation is needed for the face or the muscles you put glue gun glue into the area and wet a finger and press the shape you need into the glue. It pushes its way through the nylon and then holds the shape. Everyone had a few times where there fingers got burnt and a few of us even had blisters. We suffered for our art.


Step 3: Here I am attaching the nylon to the foam. I gave my man a manly chest.






Here is my completed character: front, two sides and back. Mesh shirt, swim trunks, sandals. All the joints move and you can position every part of the body. It's very sturdy.


Tomorrow we will add small details to our puppets, painting the face and hands. After we finish our puppets we move on to learn what's involved in creating a 4 second animation.
I cannot wait.
He told us to think of a little body movement our character can do, like a little dance, and then we will animate that into a never ending loop.
My guy is full of possibility.
We will also attempt to build a simple set for our characters from foam core and another type of foam that looked like a type of building material... it was blue... Hopefully I'll have an animation to post tomorrow (!) but it may take a day or two.

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