Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Beginning of Stillness

crummy on Vimeo
The tiedown indignation of last Saturday--but happily made from imported stills for the first time!

Not for the lack of enough foam on her arms and bodice,
Not for the wrong way Tiedowns,
Not because you can't see the problem hooves due to the difference between the view finder and the lens position showing the board the camera is set on,
Not because the animation was done without web cam/onion-skinning assist...

Posted because this is my first test of using my digital still cam (Nikon Coolpix 950) for stop motion capture!!!!!!

Sven (, to whom I will be eternally grateful for this fact alone! gave me the tip that QuickTime Pro had an "Open image Sequence" feature that will create importable clips of a series of still shots for you. This was greatly encouraging for me as I've never understood how this was possible. People would say it was doable but I could not grasp how. As I was about to click the perfectly reasonable $29.99 for the QTPro, I was hit by a Mike Brent gene splice and thought that I should first check to see if some software I already had might also share this elusive attribute. It hurt my head to think like him but the results were admirable.

I finally loaded up the Holy Adobe Premiere and After Effects apps that had been kept in a dusty time capsule here since I got them 6 years ago. I installed and tried them both out on this momentous day, even though they were so old they kicked off Classic!!! Yeeekh. I persevered with trying to import the folder of stills, even though both programs running in Classic repeatedly crashed out.

During one last Google for "stop motion sequence", I stumbled onto a mention that my (newly purchased) iStopMotion frame grabber also shared The Magical Gift; imported the folder, exported the clip to QT Sorenson 3, opened it in iMovie, slowed down the pace, exported the revised clip again to a QT Sorenson 3 (twice compressed) and uploaded it to Vimeo (UPDATE: The uploaded version had an error, not knowing what caused it, I resaved a lower res version and replaced the double Sorenson 3) . All just to see what would happen.

I'll be finishing the stand-in puppet and trying out variations on this still frame theme, but now we're on our way.


  1. Despite whatever problems, it still feels like this is the clearest glimpse I've gotten into Halfland yet. And, oooh! What a nifty world lies just beyond this window I peep through...

  2. The permanent tie downs can be seen in the first frames xD lol
    I love the tree in the back! And the chair also!
    How tall is the puppet? it seems like a giant!

    See ya!

  3. Thank you so much for the kind encouraging words again, I can't wait to fabricate the Halfland world for reals, Squweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Rana is about 13 inches (33cm) a big'n but looked so much larger than the scale of the tree because it's on the set pretty far behind her. Plus, the tree will fatten up a little, but not so much that it'd have to grow taller too, as it'd hit the ceiling. It's only 1 meter away from that as it is. The set is going to overtake the space here sideways too. It's planned to come apart in pieces like a puzzle so I can get into it whilst animating (and moving it from here--into a gallery one day--she says without irony.)

  4. Ahhhhh Shelley Shelley Shelley........

    I guess you forgot, but I've told you before to use QTPro for assembling an image sequence. In fact, I thought the info might get lost in email purgatory by the time you tried it, so I included the info in my Jumping Rig Tutorial. I didn't know if iStopmpotion could do it, but Framethief will also do this. I still like to keep QTPro around, because it's got some other neat uses. Yes, it sucks as a movie editor, but it does have its strengths.

    I was thinking you would go with a setup like mine (Framethief/QTPro/iMovie with Stupendous Software plugins) so I could help you through any rough spots, but you seem to be forging your own path with iStopmotion, which I can't help you with.

  5. Nice to see Rana taking on life. She seems to become more real with each appearance.

    I understand you were just testing out the assembling still pics thing, but I still thought I'd give a word or two of advice. I always start out by taking still pics, gradually working out my camera position/lighting/puppet placement etc. It starts rough, gradually starts to look better, and when I'm satisfied with everything visually, then it becomes animation. I just use Framethief to shoot the stills, and they end up being the first dozen or so pics in my image sequence, I just edit that part out when I export my animation.

    This is a great way to make sure exactly what's going to be visible around the edges of the frame etc. Also, recently I've started doing what Nick says.... often I'll start a shot and it's not going quite right, so I'll just quit and start over. I had to restart every shot in Race the Wind, and did some of them 6 or 7 times till I got it right.

    I'm just laying all this down for future reference {if you decide to start listening to me.... : ( }.

  6. (Mike, can I just say how much I love how you often type my name like you're exasperated and shaking your head at my foolishness! It's nice to know you're out there caring.) And believe me, I sure will take your advice, it's very helpful! And I'm certain that you did tell me about QTPro stitching stills but I did not understand it when you told me. I don't know why. It takes me a while sometimes to connect these dots. I'll have to go in and see how Framethief stitches, I couldn't see how when I was futzing yesterday. In the long view, I'm hoping to also check out After Effects/Premiere (new versions or whatever is invented when I get that far) for editing/effects for greater control, but iMovie is sure easy to use, bravo to them for that bit of software.

    As soon as I get down my ideal route of cameras I can use/animating and editing software, the process. I'd like to move onto fabrication phase of cottage set and puppets, armatures, etc. What do you all think about my doing that? advice? I still have a firm goal to complete animation for Halfland Film 1; Scene 1; by December 31st, which I just re-read involves just the large Kyra fishywench rod puppet on a real beach which isn't animated at all. Hmm, I may now change the goal to Film 1; Scene 2, which is a brief bit underwater with stop motion Kyra.

    Thank you!

  7. Oh, I completely understand. At the time when I mentioned it before, you weren't actually ready to do it yet, so of course you wouldn't understand/it wouldn't register. These things don't make sense until you actually try them out. It was just kinda frustrigatin'.

    To create an Image Sequence in FT, go to FILE>EXPORT>IMAGE SEQUENCE TO QUICKTIME MOVIE. It will let you choose any image sequence, it didn't have to be created in FT or anything.

    Fabbin' sounds like a good plan to me! Maybe first do a little playmation of Ranna in/around the set first, to make sure there are no problems with where she needs to walk etc.

  8. Yes! exactly, like a moving 3D story board, sketching out the action was the point of Husband Paul's idea of actually shooting with what was already here sketched/mocked up to make sure the scale was right, etc., to avoid a big whuppsey after finishing out everything. And the stand-in was to try out a wire armature with Tiedowns, and the whole Action Only/Blog thing was for getting what the process of shooting, editing, animating would be like through to my headbone.

    It's really doing the trick! Thank you Mike and Everyone!!

  9. 3-D storyboarding, great concept, that is exactly what it feels like!! I definitely think it helps (me anyway) to sort of mix it up a bit, some fabrication, some armature stuff, some animation. That way I don't get 'bored' and neither do you (you being the audience in general, which is what we all are for eachother, kind of a test audience....we need a light up sign that says 'applause')...

    Looking great, cannot wait to see maybe a 'birds in hats' test! pressure ;)

  10. Shells --

    FYI, I have quite a bit of experience with AfterEffects. ...If you get stuck, consider me at your service. ;-)

  11. Sven, Yes! Please. I'll be back to you with questions, thank you!!


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