I love animating with a stop motion technique, however I hardly ever get to be a stop motion animator director for what story I choose and also for the love of it, as I mainly work on other people's animations for them. So this time I was able to be creative and focus on some stop motion character animation performance and some cuteness! As well as test out the possibilities that will feedback into client projects. Let me talk you through some of the stop motion process' behind the scenes.
The stop motion character animation was created as part of the Zho film challenge, as it is useful to have a deadline to work towards and its nice to finish the animation with a celebratory screening. It was also screened as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival. And also screened at Manchester KINO, check out this interview after the screening about my stop motion animation director film.
How it was made
I had an Armature from Armaverse that I wanted to try out and see the limits of. I picked it up whilst working on Frankenweenie and was aware that it might have its limits which was relative to the cost. (Professional armatures costs £1,000's this is under £100). I also have a very talented knitter in my family, so I wanted to explore the possibilities of creating characters this way too. On top of that, I had this great knitted toys book as a starting point.
I had my set top dressed to look like a children's room and populated it with props from my niece's toy collection. Next I was awaiting my prop from Zho- part of the challenge is to incorporate a random prop into the story. I think they were very fair on me as the gave me a hat and said I could make a miniature replica model version. As you can see my prop was a hat that I decided to incorporate in a life size way.
I filmed using a cannon camera and captured using my favourite Dragonframe software. It was initially filmed over a 48 hour period as per the film challenge, but I did go back after a refine some shots. Cannon cameras are great as Nikon tend to overheat as they are required to be on for say at least 8 hours non stop and are often in a room that is full of very hot lights.
The armature was as expected, the joints could not be tight enough as the metal is too malleable and bends as you tighten. I think it would work great permanently rigged, which would reduce the need to have the joints as tight, but then there is a problem of having a suitable rigging point, which I can do for next time. Of course having a rig on the character constantly means completing clean back ground plates and creating more work in post production clean up.
Stop motion animation is achieved to its best with quality materials, everything changeable has to be as constant as possible to achieve the best motion. This is why its important to keep consistently tight joints on the puppet.