Today I did take some time to go out photogging, though. The whole album is On My Flickr Page. Here are a few of the better ones.
Real life is eclipsing my creative life again. Last few weeks until I start classes, finally. A few job interviews. Working on writing and planning the stop mo for Anglicon. I need to figure out how to get shooting soon. I only have a few more months to submit it.
Today I did take some time to go out photogging, though. The whole album is On My Flickr Page. Here are a few of the better ones.
Another month has gone by. I suppose it is time to update this.
I have been working on audio, but I have a limited amount of time I can work on it, and I don't yet have anything I am willing to post. I will probably work some more on it tonight.
One of my favorite geek bands, Debs & Errol, were in the running for the CBC Searchlight. Errol wanted to do something with the #Votegeek hashtag, and called for fans to send him pictures of themselves with it. So I dusted off Wade and ran around town taking pictures. I also decided to take this as an excuse to actually build him a set. He needed furniture, big time. Everything I have is simply Liliputian compared to him. Here is one of the pics I took at Dutch Brothers. They are so awesome there.
So, anyway, I took a few days a built Wade a sofa and an end table and a coffee table. I sewed a cushion and crocheted a blanket to go on the back of the sofa. I painted a background. So now that I had all these things, of course I had to play around with them. The resulting videos are not great, but the set looks awesome. Needs more detail, like pictures, a window, a book shelf, etc. Otherwise I am happy with it. Here is the mess I call a video...
So, there ya go. This month hasn't been completely uneventful. As I play with Wade and what he can do I hope to have more test videos to post.
Ok...so the last couple of days I have been working on my iPad frame. I got a hold of a Dremmel tool and was able to cut the slit in the middle. I learned a bit about cutting PVC. Of course I followed all the safety procedures. I wore a mask and safety glasses. I opened all the windows and turned on a fan. I wore protective clothing. That was a big deal as I hate wearing extraneous clothing while building things. I like a close fitting tank top and a pair of comfy but not too roomy shorts when I work. That way I am comfortable abd don't risk getting pieces of clothing in the way.....ie in glue, under my cutting tool, knocking over things in my set, etc. Though Dremmels work very well, the one I used overheated quickly and I had to stop every few minutes or I couldn't handle it. The Dremmel would also stop if I hit a harder spot. I realize this is probably a safety feature, but it is damned annoying. The best way to cut PVC with a Dremmel, in case you were wondering, is to make several medium speed passes at it. It is better to go from right to left, as the other way when you hit the end of what you are cutting the Dremmel goes flying off to the right. As I am pretty sure that could end badly, moving the other direction seems wiser. Also...PVC doesn't just knock out when you get close to the end. You have to cut it the whole way through before it'll move. Not like wood at ALL.
So now that I know, I probably will never work with PVC again. But it is mostly finished now.
I am finding it difficult to get the foam insulation to stay on the inside edges. I have yet to decide if that means i need to glue it in with better glue or if I need to find a better padding medium. I also need to glue down the nut that is currently holding the screw from the tripod in place. I plan to sand down the corners and paint it with black spray paint. The kind made for covering plastic furniture. So that project is almost done. Action shot:
I also think I need to figure out how to make the iPad sit higher in the frame. I was relying on the insulation to do that. Maybe it still will.
I feel a bit more accomplished now. I love working with ny hands. The Dremmel is a blast. Now I am going to have to find other projects to use it for.
So the creative bug had been biting me pretty hard lately. I really want to do some cool stuff, though I know a lot of it I just will need to learn how to do and it will be crap. I made a list of everything I want to do, and looking at it (it is pretty long) I think I am going to need to make a plan if I am ever going to get any of it done.
Warning: LONG post! Lots of bullshit! A bunch of pics! Feel free to read or skip as appropriate.
First thing, I have been working on a new stop mo. My camera has pretty much crapped out on me, so I am going to have to figure out how to do it without the camera. I have my iPad. I have figured out how to get pics from my iPad to my computer. I have found a few camera control apps for the iPad, though nothing that lets me control the focus the way I want. Also I need to anchor that sucker down somehow so it doesn't look like my characters are in an earthquake all the time.
So I have designed a frame thing that is made of PVC piping and foam insulation tape. I had planned on cutting the PVC with my hacksaw and mitre box. The box is missing. I packed them together, because I usually do not use either one by themselves. One of these days I will either go get another one or find a friend who has power tools to help me cut them at a 45 degree angle and cut a slot in the top for the foam insulation and a place to rest the iPad. Then I will drill a 1/4inch hole in the bottom for mounting to the tripod platform. Project number one. :)
So last weekend I helped a friend move. As per usual she wanted to get rid of stuff, and as per usual I accommodated her and took it off her hands. The first thing was this awesome globe thing that lights up.
Now I have to figure out how to costume this bad boy. I can't sew, and I have other sewing projects I want to do. So I will need to find a place to find South Korean looking jackets and grey slacks. And of course the mask. I HAVE to take a shot at making a mask of that face. I have no mask making experience. I do have liquid latex. I have been looking online and if I do it in 3 pieces I may actually be able to pull it off. One piece for the face, another piece for the tentacles, and a final piece for the head. I am currently researching the cost of latex foam. I also need to get myself a few styrofoam heads to use as bases. I think I would make a thin latex mask for the face, a molded latex foam for the head, then attach the tentacles to a large mesh frame that attaches to the mask. that will make it easier to breath. It would also be awesome if I can find a cheap voice modulator.
On the latex mask front, I decided if I am going to do an Ood, I also need to make a Vastra mask.
This is Madame Vastra (picture property of BBC and Doctor Who). She is strong and beautiful and a warrior and everything I wish I could be. She is one of my favorite fictional characters ever. She is married to Jenny, the lady behind her in this picture. If you don't watch any other Doctor Who, it is worth watching the episodes she is in just to bask is this dazzling character. I have been waiting out the last few years of less than stellar storylines and Moffet's version of Psych! and a Doctor who doesn't really feel like the Doctor, but her alone has made this wait worth it. As masks go, this one looks like the most comfortable one to wear for long periods at a time. I would do her Victorian outfits, though. She has some gorgeous black dresses I really want. Though, my next project could conceivably be used for her character.
I also got a green leather coat. It is HUGE. It is very 80's. The shoulder pads are gone, but thiey have left thier mark in the shoulders of this coat. there is enough leather fabric in that coat to make a steampunky vest or two. A vest that would go with the brown leather coat I found last winter. It would also go with the Vastra mask. I also want to sew some aviator pants to use with steampunk.
I want this look, pants boots and all. Except I want to make them black. These pants could go with steampunk and Vastra.
I also was given several sets of vampire fangs. So....I can do regular vampire, steampunk vampire, or vampire Silurian (Vastra is a Silurian). OR Vampire Steampunk Silurian! Oh this is going to be awesome. :)
I can't sew worth a damn, so I will have to find someone to supervise.
So the list....
Not in priority order...
1. Latex Ood mask
2. Latex Madame Vastra mask
3. Build a more interactable stop mo set
4.Leather steampunk vest or two, depending
5.iPad frame with foam insulation
6.Button over aviator pants
8.Crochet sweater and vests out of mounds of yarn I have laying around
9.Spin the fleece I have sitting around
10.Play with armatures and different materials to decide on puppets for stop mo.
11. Finish all writing projects (web series, 10 minute short, play, novel)
12.Finish filming current stop mo
I once told someone I am never bored. If I had a bajillion dollars, I would have plenty to do. They didn't believe me. :)
So now I have to decide what needs to be done with each of these projects, when I want to have them done by, and what I need in order to finish them. Then I will make a general plan to get them done.
Obsession. I think that is the word that best describes my relationship with stop motion animation. I think I have also mentioned in the past that I have a secret crush on Aardman Studios. They are the creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, the kid's show Timmy Time, and last but not least, the new movie The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists! (which was changed to Pirates! Band of Misfits for US audiences. WHY??? the original title was SO much better!!) BTW, thier stuff is no longer claymation. It is now all latex. It is a better choice. Easier to keep from getting fingerprints or lint sticking to the models, harder to destroy, imminently more reusable. Imminently more practical.
Anyway, I digress.....
My point is that Aardman has teamed up with some software developers to create an easy to use interface for stop motion called Animate It! It is aimed at kids, to get them started with playing around with stop motion. They have a kit you can purchase that has some plasticine type clay, a mold, plastic eyes, and a green piece of felt that can be used for a green screen. I think you can only get it in the UK. But the software is available online for a 14 day free trial. As it is a free trial, I thought I would play around with it to see how well it works. I haven't played with it very much yet. I must admit, if you are capturing your movie with a webcam or computer connected camera it is easy to use. It does allow for stills import, but you have to really search to find the options for it. It also takes forever to import your stills. It took me 40 minutes to get all 917 pictures imported into the software interface. I also had to import them in batches. Here's a screen shot:
See the odd looking frame in the middle of the strip at the bottom? That was my attempt to expand the beginning of my animation by replicating frames already in the timeline. I have no idea why that happened yet. I am guessing it has something to do with the size of the picture. I still need to research why, but my theory is it autosizes it when I import but doesn't when I replicate. I am thinking it is something I can overcome if I learn a bit more about the software.
The other problem I am encountering thus far is lag time and responsiveness. Sometimes when I try to do something in this interface, it either takes an unreasonably long amount of time or doesn't happen at all. Again, I need to do more research, so I am not sure if it is because this is a new interface or maybe I don't have the processing power this software requires. I did not see any requirements listed anywhere, so I assumed they had made it usable for the lowest common denominator. My computer doesn't have the greatest processor, but it also isn't that bad. I can play most video games no problem.
In the next couple of days, while I still have the free trial, I will play around with it and look for forums and answers. I hope to have a good video to show you by the end. The list price on the website is in pounds, so I suspect that it is not available for purchase in the US. that is something else I will have to research. The price for the full version is 19.95. Direct conversion places it at around $30.
I also have yet to play around with the audio options.
Though I doubt that Aardman studios will move from the full featured Stop Motion Pro to this software, it looks like it may be a cheap, useable alternative.
Well, all is moved. I am working at trying to find a job. I don't have myself all set up yet, but at least the major stuff is done. I am working on playing with my iPad as a camera. Biggest issue so far - keeping it from moving. I don't have the money to buy any type of clamp system. Ironically, because the trigger is the touch screen, I no longer have the wiggle from triggering. Just from the handi tac prying up and allowing it to move. I am trying to make them dance to They Might Be Giant's Istanbul Not Constantinople. If I can get it to work, result will be posted here.
Gotta go, but I will leave you with a picture from the iPad experiment:
So I am currently working on getting some of my ideas written up for my next stop mo. I have about 5 ideas that I am going to flesh out and see what works the best. It kind of makes me feel like a real writer.
So today, being the easily distracted person that I am, I noticed that my mini roses are blooming. When I smashed my face a friend bought them for me as a get well present. It has really grown. It was about 3 inches tall when she gave it to me, and now it is about 12 inches. The blooms are so pretty - a dark, blood red. I had to try to capture them in photograph form. Due to my shortage of batteries for my camera I wasn't able to get many, but I was able to get one that I really like. It is of boring composition with the bloom in the center of the shot. But the bloom itself is sharp and the color comes through nicely.
One thing I have been struggling with this camera is color. It doesn't like to keep my settings consistently, so sometimes it is over saturated and sometimes all the colors look like one. I realize I can easily fix that in post. However, when making a stop motion video you are taking thousands of pictures for each minutes of video. That is a lot of work for something you should be able to do from the camera. Also, when you edit pictures individually it is harder to get conformity. Yeah you can try, keep the previous one open until you get the next one adjusted, blah blah blah. That is still a lot more work you are creating for yourself, with no guarantee of success. A lot more work amongst the ton of work you have already created for yourself by choosing stop motion.
Part of my issues may also be with lighting. I have read tons of books on the subject and read lots of blogs and online articles, but for some reason I am missing some key element to make it work right. I still get hotspots. When I am out photogging, my favorite kind of light is overcast. Not only is it the default lighting setting for Oregon, it makes my photos softer. If only I could recreate it in the studio (or my bedroom, whatever), with a regular consistency. Even outdoors it is regular. Clouds move. The sun makes a surprise appearance for a moment. I wonder if there is any reference material on it. Hmmm....
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.
If you feel like contributing to help me upgrade equipment or pay for building supplies, feel free to click this button. Anything you contribute is appreciated muchly.