Back from the con. It was fun. I am glad I went. I managed to stay out of the dealer's room mostly, so did not spend all my money. I got to meet Norman Lovett, the guy who played Holly on Red Dwarf. I got to hang out with some awesome people. I had a much needed escapre from my job search for a bit. I took a bunch of pics. Once I have had time to go through them I will post some to Flickr.
While I am still working on getting puppet hair to properly work, I have decided to go through the interwebs and see if I can find some animation contests/festivals to aim for. I found one I want to do, but I am so scared. I may not be ready for it. The winners will be presented at the LA Film Festival next year. It is a video challenge to make a movie...any kind - stop mo, live action, whatever....inspired and using Danny Elfman music for the soundtrack. He has donated some of his music from Rabbit and Rogue. Danny Elfman. I could be making an animation to DANNY ELFMAN!! It will require a good, finished polished video. I will have to write a full story, break it down, create charaters, build the puppets and sets, time it all, and make it look well finished. It is more than I have ever done before. The thought of it both petrifies me and and excites me at the same time. If I could pull it off.....wow. I have always said I want to make stop mo for a living. It won't happen by being reticent. I have 202 days to get it done. That should be enough time, right? I can spend half the day looking for jobs, half the day working on that. What if I can't? I have failed, and failed miserably. Look at the Eddie Izzard video. :P That was aweful. I don't think I can to worse than that. I think even Mr. Izzard said WTF to that one.
I think I would need to create simple characters. Simple as in not very sophisticated to build. People are great, and I still want to improve on that skill, but I think something less complicated may be better for this one. And I have to write a full story.
So...goal.....decide on the one I want to use, and write a short sketch of a story by Friday.
Then I will take the one I want to use and break it down.....make the different segments of music for the different parts of the story. Maybe I will split it up, like I did with the Douglas Adams audio, to make it easier to animate. Hmmmm
I pretty much finished the cane now. It looks ok. I did have a few issues. I tried spray painting the handle, which resulted in my hand getting black every time I used it. I resolved that by wrapping it in the stuff they use to wrap bicycle handles. It looks lumpy and is almost too big to handle with my shoert stubby fingers, but it works for now. I am guessing it will compact a bit with use.
So...I promised pictures. So here goes....
After applying the decals I sprayed the whole thing with artist's varnish. It is meant to be sprayed over artwork to protect it from light and dust while still allowing people to see it. I think it looks great. It is brighter than I expected. And I used metallic blue for the background stuff, so with the varnish when I put it in the sunlight it looks like I used glitter. I am not a huge fan of glitter, so this annoys me, but still....not too bad.
So now I have a Tardis cane. If I do this again, I think I would do the background a more evenly. I would get someone to help me place the decals so they are more even. I need to figure out something better for the handle.
But there ya go.
So I did some modifications on my cane. I spray painted it with a matte black background, then did seom blue and white stuff to it. Here is the result thus far:
It turned out OK. I mean, I am not an experienced or talented painter, so it turned out not too bad for what it is. Here is a couple of closer views:
See, not spectacular, but not embarassingly bad. I found some small Tardis decals I ordered off the web. The first two are here, and they are the perfect size. Once I get the rest in, I will place them all and shellack the whole thing.
Once I get the rest and get the cane finished I will post some (hopefully better) pics.
So due to exciting circumnstances I have the opportunity to go to Anglicon in Seattle in a few weeks. I am really excited about getting away from home for a few days. Most days I don't leave the house, because I don't have a reason to. I can do my job search from my computer. Most places I am applying to have online resume systems in place. I don't need a ton of groceries, so once a week shopping is sufficient. Last week, I did not leave my house from Tuesday till Sunday. That seems pathetic. Well, I did go into the yard to take pictures. The bees were busy in the mint flowers, so I took the opportunity to practice using the telephoto lens. It is a Canon 75mm-300mm. Not the most expensive, but not bad. It is taking me a while to get used to it, and remember all the settings. My goal is to eventually try to get good pictures of the moon with it. That will have to be somewhere other than at home though, as usually I can't see the moon from my house due to trees and/or houses. But still, I didn't really leave my yard to take the pics. I posted my pictures up on Flickr. I also took the camera with me to the Fair on Sunday. I didn't get a whole lot of good ones, though. I need to learn how to change the settings correctly to get indoor flourescent and outdoor shots. If you want to take a look they are all posted HERE. I made an album of the fair pics. They are all so mushy. I need to figure out why so I can fix it. So many of my pictures are mushy. I may need to invest in a photoshop class.
Anyway, my point was that now I get to take a train up to Seattle and hang out with my fellow nerds for a few days. I am taking my camera and my uke, though I don't expect there to be any music there, per se. I have social anxiety, and I find it easier to deal with constructively if I have the uke in my hand. It grounds me....reminds me I am not stuck where I am, and if I need to I can step outside and noodle until I am calm again. And Anglicon is British fandom themed, so my Who songs and Red Dwarf will be totally appropriate. So now I am getting ready for con. What will I wear? Will I try cosplaying? I have been contemplating painting my cane with space scenes and Tardis's. I don't know if I will do that. I may try. I am not exactly sure how one would accomplish that. I am not an artist. Am thinking maybe paint it solid black and flick white paint on it to represent stars. Maybe use a sponge and some dark blue on it. Then I have to try to freehand Tardis. Hmm....There may be an easier way. I will have to think about it some more. I am putting puppet building on hold for the week. I need to get away from the heavy glue smell anyway. I did get some more tubing, so I may try assembling more bodies. Though a lot of my time will be taken up getting ready for the con. I wish I was able to do these when I was in high school. I think I would have been a lot better off knowing I have options. That I am not a loner wierdo. That there are others who think like me. What I did after high school may have changed a bit.
Anyway, there is a long rambly update. I really am excited to get out and away. I am excited to be with fellow nerds. I am excited to destress for a bit.
It has been 2 weeks since my last post. I have been pretty busy. Working on finding a new job. I am working on building more puppets to animate. I am low on square brass tubing, which is where I need to start. I use one size brass tubing inside of a larger size to make the joints.
First I took apart Wade to remind myself of how I constructed him.
For the torso, pelvis, head and "bones" on the twisted wire limbs out of grey extra hard Sculpey.
Next I created the head.
So now I am working on the head. It is baked and painted, and I am trying to decide the best way to get hair on it. Wade's hair was horrendous to do, and I don't want all my puppets to look like Wade, so a new construction technique is in order. I did some thinking and some research, and I have decided to make a wig. That way if it turns out bad i can easily redo it without having to redo the whole head. I am currently expreimenting with making a skullcap out of hardened glue. Then the plan is to try to root hair strands with a dall hair re-rooter tool, glue it inside the wig, and cover that with enamel to make it smooth and easy to attach with temporary tape to the puppet's head.
Another advantage of doing hair this way is I can make several wigs for a single puppet with several different styles, and I don't have to worry about trying to style a wig that has been glued in a way that makes it hard to change the hair style. Currently the last layer of glue is drying. I will continue with it tomorrow, and will post the results here.
Wish me luck!
Last week I did some experimenting. I still want to do a podcast. And I think it would be fun to do live concerts and collaborations. I looked into the newer utilities with which to do that, and I came across Blab. It is kind of like live on Facebook, and Hangouts in Google+, but seems a bit more stable. You can have up 4 people join the video conferance, and show it to as many people who want to join. You can interact by chat. You can record it as a video or audio. I figured out how to use my Canon with it. And my higher quality mic too. So now I need to convince someone to play with me with it.
Been playing around with getting some stop mo with my new camera. Don't ahve anything worth posting yet, but once I do I will be posting. I guess I don't have much to say today. I am just trying to keep myself plugging along.
More later. Maybe.
So the last few days I have been going between applying for jobs and playing with my new camera and my new wheel. And I am having fun with both.
I finished my first ball of yarn from hte new wheel. She spins so nice. I really need to rig myself a lazy kate though. It is really difficult to ply without one. Here is the results:
Not too bad for my first time after several years. The majority of it is even. Just those parts where I was getting the feel for my drafting again where the huge roils are. Now I am seeing how easily it crochets. A friend of mine wants to spin and weave. This stuff would be fine for weaving.
The camera is a bit trickier. I am still learning how to use it properly. And at this point failing miserably. My hope is that if I keep working at it eventually it will click and I will get good animations from it. I did like the way this test pic turned out though. I was using my 18-55mm lens with the Polaroid telephoto Macro lens attached. I don't like that the whole background is blurred, but the hand is full of detail. That makes me happy.
It also would be nice if I could get a consitant letter sizing in this blog. I love Weebly, but instead of letting me choose a number it has a plus or minus, which I have to click every time I start a new section. I have been trying to click the plus 2x, but that does not produce the same size every time. That is a bit lame.
Today I also intend to see if I can get good video from this camera. It would be fun to be able to do live action as well as animation with it.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the local Black Sheep Gathering. I had so much fun. I hugged the sheep. Never underestimate the power of hugging sheep. :) I met a nice lady who had a goreous spinning wheel for not too much. She let me pay part up front, and I will pay the rest when I get my severance. She is pretty. I have been playing with her. She spins like butter. I am out of practice, but it is coming back. I have a bunch of roving that needs spinning, and it came with 4 bobbins, so I will have stuff to do.
Here she is:
She's a Paragon wheel. I do not know what that means yet. It is supposed to be an old refurbished wheel. Not sure what that means yet either. But she spins well. Spinning is kind of a destressing, zen activity for me. And she is a single treadle. That is good. I prefer the single treadle. It means I can continue spinning even when my joints hurt. I can use one foot then the other. I can rest the one I am not using up on something, and I don't have to put twice as much pressure to use it with one foot. So now I have a wheel again, a good quality camera to animate with, and food enough for the next few months. Now I just gotta get a job. Or win the lottery, one of the two.
So yesterday at work I was in the middle of a support phone call when my boss told me to get off and follow him. Fuck.
I worked at Symantec, where they decided last month to get rid of %10 of thier work force. Yesterday the heavy axe of restructuring landed painfully on my job. I don't know final numbers yet. I am hoping it wasn't just me from the Springfield site. Not that I want others to be out of a job too, but if I am the only one from that site escorted off campus I will feel totally singled out. I have been unable to find anything online about it. We were told it would happen, but not when. As the Springfield site has been running almost on skeleton crew since the last "big cull", we thought we weren't going to be effected. As well as having a site wide all hands that made it sound like cuts were not happening there. They are also selling thier building, and only renting back what they need, which to me tells me they are planning on closing thier Oregon site soon.
So for me, that means I am unemployed in the most tech-unfriendly cities and one with the highest unemployment rate in Oregon, which is one of the highest unemployment rates in the US. Portland has a better job market, so I am looking there. Lately the local news has been trying to tout Eugene as the Silicon Shire. Bullshit. We have 450 tech startups, that is what they base that on. Well, "start ups" do not equate more tech jobs. Start ups rarely have the money to hire outside help. All that means is 450 people, plus whatever partners they have in the business, are kind of employed. Does not mean huge employment jump for the whole county.
The ironic thing is it happened right after I got a bonus, and blew it all on a new camera. And I can't send it back because it was a no returns bundle sale. Which is fine, I guess, because I think I will need the creative outlet to help me deal with this shit. I can't get Dragonframe to work with my computer. According to the manufacturer and the glewinfo utility, my graphics card is compatible to work with OpenGL 2.1. Every time I try to open Dragonframe it throws an error that it is not and closes. This computer cannot be upgraded any further, and Dragonframe does not state it is compatible with Windows 10, and that doesn't matter anyway cause I don't have the money for a new computer right now. I can run Unity just fine. I should be able to run Dragonframe. I have a feeling I am going to have a fight with DZED over this.
For now, though, I have a new camera and a fuckton of stress to get over, so my plan is to get a trial version of Aardman's Animate-it! that is made for kids and see what I can get through it. I have a feeling I might have to deal with a watermark issue, but we shall see how it goes. And maybe re-research free or low cost programs to use in the interim. I am sure that landscape has changed since the last time I did the research.
So plan of action set. If I get anything watchable I will post it here.
Eleanor is an aspiring writer, stop motion animator, crafter, musician, and anything else shiney that might cross her path. She is a geek, nerd, and all around weird person.