Been working on the project for the Eddie Izzard contest. It is frickin hard to get stop mo to sync to dialog. I tried doing it the way I thought it was supposed to be done, now I am experimenting with the long way round. Not really co-operating. I wish this was easier. Is it too much to ask to allow me to listen to my audio while adjusting the frames to match? I would like to adjust, watch and listen, adjust, watch and listen. Apparently that is more than any software can deliver. It is so frustrating. I did the math, and tried to figure out how many frames I had to cover per second and how many pictures I needed per frame, and what I wanted to go for how long. Not even close. I am not a math major, but I am not bad at it. Grrrr.
He announced today that he wants people to animate some of his standup and post it to his YouTube page. The best 10 will be played at his live shows on July 16th and July 20th. I have decided to make a stab at it. Even if I don't get anything worth posting, it is a good practice project. I have chosen to do the Cake or Death sketch. Mainly because I think that one would be the easiest to do with the stuff I already have.
Why yes, I do have a bit of project ADD, why do you ask? :P
So my plan is to plot it all out today and gather sets, guys and props, and then tomorrow spend the day shooting it. Then Thursday will be spent trying to get it all together and hopefully I will have something postable by Friday.
So....i need a plan, and I think I will work it out here, just because I know no one will read this and it will make me think a bit.
Ok....so the whole sketch is 1 minute 50 seconds long. At 24 FPS and 2 frames per picture, that is 12 pictures per second, so total I will need 1080 pictures. Not too hard to do. And some can be reused.
The man who asks Cake or Death? will be played by Mr. Zombie, and the assorted little soldiers and monsters will play the inquisitees and the assistants handing out the cake. Maybe I should have one holding a sword, and he eagerly tries to hand it over even if the guy says Cake. That would be cool. He should get really dejected looking when the one that said death first gets to change his mind.
Sets should consist of a floor, and a backdrop. I think I will just make a generic one color background to use. Or maybe I will make a brick or stone looking backdrop.
No furniture. Will need cake and plates. And a rack. At the beginning he talks about someone getting tortured. A rack or something torturous.
Ok...on to the next planning stage. Hehe! :P
I have spent most of the week trying to keep my face from itching to pieces from all the allergies I am suffering. I hate this. I have been working on trying to record some songs to post here, but the allergies are seriously getting in the way of anything worth listening to. It is getting better. I just did another trial run. It went better than others, but not good enough for others to listen to yet. I will work o0n it more later today. Eventually there will be audio in that page.
Stop mo has been put on the back burner for now. I will be working on it off and on, as the inspiration strikes, but it was frustrating me so bad I needed to step back a little. Why can't I get it all to work right? I can't be that bad of a fuck up. Grrrr.
Took my mind off it last night with a Lebowskifest. Which was attended by me. A local theater was playing The Big Lebowski for $2, so I invited a bunch of friends to come watch it with me. And no one showed up. Yeah, feeling like a loser now. But I love that movie so it wasn't a total loss.
I didn't get much done today. I had an intake interview with a temp agency and I had to go through all their placement tests. The good news it the recruiter seems to think she can get me a good temp job with Symantec. That would be cool.
I did play around with After Effects. It is kind of confusing. That will have to wait for a day when I have a lot of time and patience. Maybe I will haul my ass to the library and see if they have a book or two to help me out. Maybe tomorrow. it would be a lot coller there.
And in other news, the sky is still blue and the grass is still green. :P
Yeah, I spent the majority of the day yesterday trying to get the damn thing to work. GGRRR. So that is not an option...still. I got a friend's copy of Dragon Stop Mo, which is pretty rad, except you have to be able to capture to your computer, whcih my camera does not allow. I tried to jailbreak it using CHDK, which creates a bootable SD card that will run short scripts and allow your camera to do stuff you normally can't. That didn't help either, as I can't get Dragon to recognize any of my USB ports. So until I win the lotto and have enough money to get real equipment, it's back to the drawing board.
I got Windows Live Movie Maker to work....sort of. It is really jerky, no matter how incremental the pictures are. I can't really control how much time there is between each pic. Unless I add an effect, which makes it jerky anyway.
So now another friend gave me her old copy of After Effects. I am going to give that a try and see if I can at least get each scene sorted.
And it isn't helping that I have been blessed with a huge allergy attack the last few days. Even with my medication I was finding it hard to function yesterday. I chugged Benedryl before bed last night, which at the very least helped me sleep last night. Still feeling it today, but not as itchy.
Will report back with results of After Effects Experiment.....
So I finished sculpting my crude Tardis:
It's not great, but it turned out better than I thought it would. I can't sculpt worth shit. if I could I would be making my own figurines to use in my animations. The one thing I don't like is it is plasticine, and therefore VERY malleable. I have to be careful I don't smash it during shooting. Which, being the clumsy person I am, is a high possibility. I finished shooting the first scene, and now monkeying around with it. I re-downloaded Monkey Jam to try again. If I can get this first scene to work, than I will continue with it. I just really needed a break from shooting, and this was a good project to work on.
Today on my way home from picking up milk I got dive bombed by a couple of crows. Usually the crows are my friends. They used to walk with me to the bus stop on my way to classes in the morning. What have I done to warrant such a violent change of heart? I cannot think of anything I have done that is specifically anti-crow. I never fed them in the first place, so not feeding them this time wouldn't be the problem. My theory is that this isn't the usual crow crowd that hangs out on West 11th. This is actually the bullies. The gang bangin crow crowd who thinks it is funny to torture passers by. I imagine this group beating up the old ones, pecking at thier eyes and heads and feet until they all fly away in fear. Once they gained their territory they found a good branch from which they could observe their approaching targets. Then when they saw me coming, they dropped off the branch, right onto my head, then flew away, taking a chunk of my scalp with them. When I turned to look, there they were, the two of them, sitting on a branch, laughing at me and probably splitting thier take. :P
Harrowing crow attack aside, I had a semi productive day. Here is what I worked on:
I reassembled the set, and reassembled some of the furniture. I took an inventory of what I have, and what I will need. So now it is time to construct what I don't have and then start shooting. Yes, that is a half sculpted Tardis. Will I use it here? Maybe. If I can figure out how to sculpt it better. I suck at sculpting. But I plan on making a valiant effort. I think it would be awesome to have an 8in8/ Doctor Who thing going. If not, I have another idea.
I also figured out how to use Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 to do this. I think. I will get my photos done then I will test it. I can actually change the duration of the pictures to .12, which makes 8.34 pictures per second of video. If I do the movements in batches of 8,9,8,8 then I should be able to go with the beat of the music. That's 8 slides or pictures. Maybe tomorrow night I will have some more to show you.
So today, after spending a frustrating amount of time talking to temp agencies (really? Why, exactly, do you want a market summary about me for an OFFICE JOB??) I decided I need some stop mo therapy. I ran down to the basement and dug up my little plastic guys. These are 1- 1/2 inch little articulated soldiers and monsters I purchased a while back when I had plans for a big monster movie. They were cheap... $2.00 for a pack of 8. They snapped together really easily. The only problem is they are so small it is hard to get the pictures just right. When doing stop mo, the bigger the scene the easier it is to get consistency. Here's a cartoon I did with some of them and sets I built myself:
Yeah, kinda hard to see. Yes, that is Handy Tac on their feet. When animating it is easier to keep them upright that way. And as you can tell they are not fully articulated, just at the arms, wrists and waist. Which is enough. I just need to get it to focus right and stop bumping a piece of the set every time I move one of them.
I was listening to the Amanda Palmer/ Ben Folds / Damien Kulash/ Neil Gaiman project from 8in8, and the song One Tiny Thing has inspired an idea for a short music video. We shall see if it works out. I still need to get some kind of rendering application to work. I think I will shoot the bloody thing first, then monkey around with the other parts.
Wish me luck!
Job hunting, in and of itself, is a flawed institution. No matter how good your resume looks, no matter how much or little experience you have, no matter how charming you are whether or not you get the all important call back boils down to the personal prejudices of the person reading your resume. You are competing with 400 other people who are just as desperate as you are to earn a regular paycheck and support themselves and/or their families. In that type of situation nothing you can do will really make you stand out. Everyone is jumping through hoops to try to be "unique". It is all about who you know, how you know them, and how well they like you personally. It is hard to look at this situation and have any hope at all. For someone like me who has been in school and unemployed for 3 years, who has no real contacts and no friends in the industry yet, it feels like trying to break into Fort Knox with a tooth pick. Maybe if I was McGyver it would be possible, but as myself looks damn near impossible. Does this sound a bit pessimistic? You bet your ass. Is it realistic? Absolutely. So the next problem to tackle is how to restore faith in my ability to get a paying job against all these odds. I think I would have more chance of succeeding relying on the Lottery Fairy to bail me out. :P
OK....rant done. Now time for the other crap. This weekend I really haven't produced much. I have been planning on my next stop motion, and researched free stop motion renderers online. I am surprised at how few actually allow you to import pictures rather than managing your camera.
My camera is a Cannon AS590IS Powershot. Not exactly an expensive or fancy camera. Being a student I really haven't had money for fancy equipment. The reason I got this camera is it gave me the most control options for the amount of dollars I was spending. However, I cannot control my camera from my PC. I have to be able to import my pictures into the movie application in order to make my stop motion work.
Yes, being the computer geek that I am I did try to download stuff that was supposed to make my camera work that way. Nope. Apparently none of them support my particular camera. And the ones that support models close to mine don't actually work with mine.
When I had Vista (ptui, ptui) I used to use Windows Movie Maker. It worked great. But then they started modifying it, so now it isn't so good for making stop mo anymore. I can't control it as much. And it assumes I am adding video instead of pictures, so it doesn't allow me do to some of the things it used to. Settings that used to be there are gone.
I tried MonkeyJam. This would be a great and handy program....if it worked. My old laptop didn't have the RAM or the processing power to allow it to work correctly. My new laptop does, but it seems they have stopped developing it or something because it doesn't play well with Windows 7. I can download it, I can import a maximum of 100 images into it. And that is about it. It doesn't even get as far as allowing me to do a preview. Then it closes itself down because it can't handle what I am asking it to do.
Several site suggest VideoDub. I downloaded it, but I cannot get it to import images. It only wants to capture and can't find a capturing device (duh, I don't have one). And it won't advance until it detects one. My guess is that the paid version has that feature but the free one doesn't.
And that is where my swear words started to outnumber my regular words, so i wisely put that project away and went to get cake. Cause cake makes everything better. Just saying.
I did start a crochet project. I found a spool of green colored yarn in my stache, and as it is getting warmer here (we are finally in the upper 60's. woo hoo) I decided to try my hand at crocheting a tank top for myself. I have never been one for constructing anything. I can make hats, socks, scarves and blankets. that is about the extent of it. Although I have been crocheting since I was 6 years old, I have for some reason never mastered the art of reading and following a pattern. Which might not be so much a surprise if you knew that it took me 20 years to finally be able to bake a decent loaf of bread.
So...here is that project:
Yeah. I have no idea how to construct this thing, so I have decided to crochet a big giant rectangle, sew the ends together and add straps at the top. I am 4 rows in. It took me 5 hours. I have majorly slowed down. Well, that and this is really a fine yarn. It isn't like the thick worsted you get from you regular craft store. It is the thickness of your average dental floss, so it might take me a while. Hopefully it will be done before the cold snap sets in. It will be my TV project for the next few weeks. Hopefully. :P Yeah, like adding that word will make it go any faster.
Recently (like, last week) I graduated from community college (woo) with a degree in computer systems administration. This has freaked me out in a big way. Now what am I going to do? It isn't like people are clammering to hire the n00b. So while I am looking for a job, I plan to spend a bit of my day every day on creative pursuits.
I get a lot of ideas. All the time. I love to create, but I love so many things that everything gets put in bits and pieces all over the place. This blog is meant to help me get my shit together. I plan to talk about what I am working on, what I plan to work on, how I plan to do it, and possibly the results. Some of my interests include stop motion animation, digital photography, spinning wool, crocheting, writing, music, and really learning anything that crosses my path that seems interesting.
Seriously, I don't expect anyone to read this. It is mostly for me. But if you are reading this then I guess you have somehow stumbled on it while surfing the intertubes. Welcome to my blog thingy. You are welcome to stay, read, and comment. Hopefully as I get more into this there will be more interesting things to read here.
If you feel the uncontrollable urge to share something from this blog, PLEASE just give me credit. All pictures, videos, mp3s and projects here are my own (unless otherwise stated). I generally use the Creative Commons attribution copyright, unless otherwise stated.
If you see something here that is yours and it is not suitably attributed, please send me a message and let me know. I will be more than happy to fix it.
Welcome to my geekery! :)
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.
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