Happy Birthday Wallace and Gromit!

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wallace and gromit googleToday marks the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit’s “Grand Day Out”, one of the main inspirations that got me into stop-motion animation. I remember back when “The Wrong Trousers” came out and I received a plasticine kit at Christmas which included a guide on how to make the characters. I spent numerous hours recreating Wallace, Gromit, and the evil little Penguin.

I have been a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit over the years and hope Aardman continue to make many more adventures for them.

Coraline

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coraline

I finally got around to seeing the film Coraline! Whilst I wanted to see it at the cinema, I somehow missed the opportunity. I managed to get a copy on DVD with both the 2D and 3D versions included (along with 4 pairs of 3D glasses), but I have only sat down to watch it in “2D” so far.

Coraline is a visually stunning stop-motion film. I could not believe how fluid and beautifully animated the characters were. The visuals were quite similar to the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but thankfully it isn’t another stop-motion musical! (Phew! I hate those). Whilst the look is quite similar, it does feel a lot less exaggerated and a little more refined. Coraline definitely has it’s own look.

The story is about a young girl (Coraline) who doesn’t get enough attention from her parents. As they had just recently moved into a new home (an old house), she stumbles across a hidden door which leads to an alternate universe. Everything is suddenly “better”. Her parents give her undivided attention and come across a lot more loving and caring than her “real” Mum and Dad. The only weird thing is that everyone there seems to have buttons for eyes. Obviously, something isn’t quite right and we are treated to a very dark, yet incredibly imaginative story.

I highly recommend you check out this film, not only if you are a stop-motion loving nut like me. Coraline is a great film which is beautifully animated and definitely worth anyone’s time. Go see it, and let me know what you think :)

Balance

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Whilst not actually animating myself, I like to spend my time looking at stop-motion videos created by others. It helps inspire new ideas and styles for creating my own.

Whilst visiting a few blogs earlier this week I stumbled across this video named Balance. It is just over 7 minutes long, but is definitely worth your time. It features a concept which is brilliantly executed in quite a dark and surreal way. I love the fact that there is no dialogue and that each person displays a range of emotions and characteristics.

I really hope I can make something this good myself one day.

Let me know what you think :)

EDIT: The video keeps getting removed and re-uploaded due to copyright issues. You will now need to search for it yourself. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I bought a book!

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Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model AnimationI had originally planned to start animating this week. However, I have spent most of my time sketching out ideas, reading tutorials, and watching videos for some inspiration. As all of my previous animation has been purely experimental, I really wanted to make my next stop-motion video a little more meaningful or entertaining.

As part of my research, I’ve decided to buy a book. I used to think that all the information you could ever want was freely available on the Internet, but it seems that claymation and stop-motion animation might be a bit of a small niche, even for the word wide web. Sites like animateclay.com are good, but they just don’t seem to go into enough depth, or suggest alternative ways of doing things beyond the scope of products they sell in their e-shops.

The book I purchased (and will be eagerly awaiting for in the post) is called Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation. There are a few others that I’d like to get my hands on, but I’ll try reading this one first and pass on any good tips I find.

Barry

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I finally did it. I tried out a lip-synced claymation (stop-motion) video!

It’s not quite perfect, but not bad for a first attempt. I’m quite pleased with it!

It took ages! The whole process of preparation, creating the model, setting up, shooting, creating the video and then editing it took just over 2 hours! At first I was a little bit disappointed of how the mouth didn’t quite match the words very well, but then I thought it would be better to create something than to throw it all away. My old art teacher used to go mental if I threw anything in the bin, so if you ever stumble onto this site I hope your happy! lol.

+ If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel

The Blue Blob

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Another claymation video, another original name and.. er.. script!?

“The Blue Blob” is my second attempt at stop-motion. Whilst in my previous blog post I said I would try out new software, I was riddled with technical problems. So, I stuck with Windows Movie Maker. Not because there is anything wrong with AnimatorHD (that I have found yet), more due to the fact that the camera I was using let me down and didn’t quite give me the options and settings I require.

Whilst filming, I was hit suddenly with a message telling me that the battery was low. About 3 seconds later the camera completely died on me. Unfortunately, the cable connecting it to my laptop does not recharge the camera. The batteries that required replacing are situated underneath the camera, which meant I couldn’t remove them whilst still connected to the tripod. It was a bit of a disaster. Moving the camera or tripod slightly would mean that I’d have to start all over again.

After much frustration, stomping around the house looking for batteries, and making weird growling noises I finally managed to resolve the problem by replacing 3 of the 4 batteries (which was very difficult). Once I finished filming I transferred my files over the my laptop to find that several frames (photos) were missing. This is why the walking animation at the start suddenly jerks forward, and why the ball rolling in and up to become the Blue Blob’s nose isn’t very fluid. This may have had something to do with the camera saying it’s memory was full on the last photo I took, or because the batteries died? I’m not sure what happened really, but I will definately have another pop at this once I get my new camera (which I recieved today, with a cracked screen.. dammit! – now awaiting a replacement).

Loads of stuff went wrong, but I was determined to get a video out of the evening’s work. I learnt a lot as I tried to make the animation a bit more complex and I’m still happy with the results, but hope I am not quite as unlucky next time.

The Making of “The Green Blob”

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green_blob_claymationAfter recently posting my Green Blob Claymation video on this site, the forum, and my facebook page, I have received some great feedback. One of the common questions I received was how did I make the video. Rather than post a lengthy reply to numerous people, I thought I’d post up an article here on how I made “The Green Blob” animation.

In order to make my stop-motion animation I used the following items:

  • A digital camera (although you can use a webcam)
  • A tripod
  • Windows Movie Maker (free with Vista)
  • White Card
  • A paperclip
  • Plasticine (I bought a big box from Toys R Us for £9.99, although they also do packets for about £1 each)
  • A desk light/lamp