02 April 2006

The Setup

I thought I'd explain my setup for capturing the images for my animation, since it's something I fretted about before I started shooting...I'm shooting with a Nikon D50 (digital SLR), which offers much higher resolution than a DV camera, along with standard shutter speed and aperture control. The camera is connected to the computer by USB. Nikon Image Capture is used to remotely control the D50, and import and view the images (jpgs in this case). These images are sent to a folder in the computer ("shot 24" in the diagram). An application called AnimAide (it's free!) is then used to view the images as an animation, generating an instant, low-resolution preview. In this app, one simply creates a new project, points AnimAide to a folder with a sequence of numbered images ("shot 24" folder in example...images are already numbered in order from the D50), and selects the number of frames per second for playback. It's as easy as that.

I've been using After Effects to make the QuickTime movies. I use the "import image sequence" function and use the Keylight plugin to key out the backdrops (I've been shooting with a green screen backdrop so I have the option of animating elements of the sky in post production).

11 March 2006

New Animation

Completed a new animation sequence [10-second clip]. As usual, the keying was done very quickly and is not final, though I must say that it was much easier thanks to a few lighting changes and a wrinkle-free green screen.

New Pics of Fiona Puppet

I've posted some photos of the updated Fiona puppet. The backgrounds were keyed in very quickly and are in no way final...just thought it would look better with a sky.

03 March 2006

New Test Animation

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. I've made a lot of progress with the project over the last couple of months, I just haven't been blogging...I recently shot a new test animation with a basic lighting setup, a completed moon set, and a nearly complete Neville puppet (his hands were in the shop).

This test was largely successful. The animation is a bit rough, but I did eight seconds in an hour and a half...and that wasn't the point anyway, so I shouldn't complain. The main concern was the green screen (used for the sky), which worked fairly well. I have yet to steam the screen to remove the folds and wrinkles, but it still seemed to work pretty well. I had to go in and mask some areas in After Effects (the program I'm using to do all of the keying and sequencing), but most of it keyed out rather easily. The sky is just a photo of the milky way I pulled from the web. I plan to create something that fits better with the look of the rest of the set for the final film.

The lighting looks a bit warmer than I wanted. The moon is bright and yellow-orange, but I think I will go for something slightly cooler in the future.

17 December 2005

Henry Jacobs

I ordered this Henry Jacobs DVD/CD, "The Wide Weird World of Henry Jacobs/The Fine Art of Goofing Off", a while ago and hadn't gotten around to watching it. Well, I finally did, and it's pretty amazing. All kinds of great animation--stop motion, pixilation, cell, etc. Very inspiring. A lot of it uses audio from interviews of people describing how they spend their free time (hence "The Fine Art of Goofing Off"), with animations created to accompany their stories. Maybe kind of a precursor to to "Creature Comforts"...? I was told that Jacobs did a lot of animated shorts for Sesame Street in the 70s, but I haven't been able to verify this claim. Either way, his work has the feel of those animations...seems to be the best way to describe it. The DVD also comes with a great CD of his music/audio experiments. Highly recommended.

14 November 2005

Creating Atmosphere

Found some good articles on creating atmosphere through creative set design. Courtesy of fellow thesis student Kevin V.
Forced Perspective
Atmospheric Haze
Glass Paintings

10 November 2005

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Ordered my ball and socket armatures today all the way from merry ole England. These ended up being $100+ each, but they should be excellent armatures. Thank you animationsupplies.net!