Progress Update – Filming Begins

By March 31, 2016Honours Project

At long last, filming for the final animated short film for the project has begun. I began chronologically with the first scene which is slightly different from most other scenes in the animation. It deals with pixilation animation, a stop motion technique where live actors are animated like a puppet would. It creates a unique surreal quality with the possibility to bend the laws of physics and the environment. I won’t be utilising pixilation to achieve surreal effects but instead will be using it to incorporate a live actor within a story that features a stop motion character.

Due to the length of time I needed to animate these shots and the availability of other people, I animated my own hands for this scene. However I needed my hands to be very steady during filming in order to keep the movements between frames from jumping around too much. I encountered this potential problem earlier during the creation of my photographed animatic and came up with the solution of capturing frames with my foot. Luckily I have a portable numeric keypad which I have keyed to the stop motion software I use. This method worked quite well and it was relatively easy enough to animate like this. Its important to note that had I used another actor, the quality of movement would be different as I’d have less control with how that person can hold their pose but I’d also have greater control to take my time to fine tune the position of the actor between frames. I feel the method I used was the most practical for my own time as well as how big a role it plays on the animation on the whole.

A large part of the project has been documenting process so for this final animated outcome I will be time-lapsing my animation process. These time-lapses won’t be perfect, I’ll be using different angles, different speeds and avoiding focusing on motion blur or lighting but they’ll serve their purpose. Interestingly enough, the time-lapse of the first scene showed some very interesting results. Because I was moving my hands in slow motion, the sped up timelapse showed my hands moving at a surreal slower movement. I wouldn’t have thought to try a concept like this but I have seen it used effectively before. I may have tried out an animation test earlier in the year had I known about this technique however I may also try out this technique at a further date.

Overall I’m happy with finally starting to animate the final outcome and look forward to making progress. Due to the nature of stop motion there will be some shots I am happy with and others where I know could have been better. Because of the straight ahead process of stop motion, things are difficult to change. I accept that this is just how it is but as long as I do my best and evaluate the work I do, I will hopefully get a little better each time.

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