Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The cottage set wall mechanics still need to be worked out for any porch or interior shooting, so today I set about animating a test of flexible hosing material, called Loc-Line (http://www.modularhose.com/), as an over the head puppet control system. I thought I'd better see whether I could animate a quick simple stick figure, without any bones or real attention to the movement, just to find out whether my rig notion might work. (below is an unedited montage of my experimenting with the general idea.)
I found out that a "top control" would be better for me than holes, magnets, or any other tie-downs on the feet of my puppets. A pipe fitted with a fully-positionable ball joint arm, attached to the ceiling via plumbing flange, over the set (roof panels removed when shooting inside) and attached well into the puppet heads may be well worth testing out. I could either edit/key out the rig in PS and/or shoot most often without showing the tops of heads.
I found out that Loc-Line may also be highly promising to use for armature material as well. The entire linked ball and socket chain remains hollow and has an unchanging 1/4" diameter all the way through. Stock wooden dowel fits perfectly inside and could become the bones of an armature and its joint nearly bend 90 degrees without any spring back. I plan to take the amount of it I have here and and make-up an armature that will fit the Rana sculpt. I could use that as her Mach II stand in for additional tests. All I will need to do is add weight inside the feet or install push pin tips to grab and anchor to the flooring.
I found out that Framethief kicks butt. I lost all memory of how to use it since August and messed up formatting and settings but I felt elated while animating anyway. I thought that stop motion was supposed to be a big drag that required bucket loads of patience and endurance to work. But while I was moving and clicking and checking the positions hundreds of times all I could do was grin. I see the long road ahead of improving my performances but I can also see that the road is my home.
I found out that to animate these detailed puppets as I envision them I will need to truly practice how to get the movements more convincing. They'll need a sense of natural weight and more believable choreography. Making the next armature with bones and right angle bends at the joints will help me practice.
I found out that I absolutely loved animating today. This is good. I do not think the animation is any good, but my promise to post something here today forced me to work without finesse. This is also good.
View this clip on Vimeo