(But if you do HAVE to, do it as quickly as possible. That was my motto to myself during Sven's visit, that was how much I didn't want to waste so much as a minute of this rich and valuable time.)
A big raucous thank you to Sven Bonnichsen. His visit was so special for several reasons. There was a certain short hand to the time together, a certain harmony and comfort, that made the experience splendid, invaluable, and meaningful for me. But then again, that's Sven.
After talking together on many interesting subjects, we both focused on showing and telling the things that are not as translatable through the computer, things that come to life in person, the color and textures, how things feel. For example, I learned that Sven's Dad and Jimmy pupps from The Great Escape that he brought with him are a complete blast to animate, good Lord. I could not tell by looking at photos or the short, but brother, were they a pleasure to work with! "Down and Dirty"? my tuchkus, they moved like silk! This clip isn't at all good or about anything other than hooking up the web cam via Firewire to Sven's laptop and start feeling up the pupps.
Webster Runs Amok on Vimeo Just messin'. (I had promised to try something with Webster.)
During our visit, we talked honestly about each of our strengths and weak points in this medium. For my part, the most comfortable area for me in all of this is in the details, set dressing, prop construction and finishing, textures, realistic faux finishes, rich costuming, fabrics, sewing, painting, a little building, anything, the more intricate it is the better. I feel my weakest point was obviously in animating, as I have done next to none at this point. I had in mind that after my main set was finished I'd start in on developing my chops with animated "preparation exercises" in order to have better command a puppet's performance. But after Sven's visit I think I should not wait, and want to simultaneously begin to exercise these skills while I build the set, say, one day a week? I was also kind of waiting for the next great camera breakthrough. You know the one, where you get the resolution and clarity of a digital still camera that flows flawlessly with a great framegrabber like Framethief and plugs directly into a portable Mac moniter? But while waiting, I am now happy to dive in with the Honorary Strider Stop Motion Patrol Unibrain Webcam of Joy and my second hand Nikon Coolpix 950 with the broken battery hatch latch held up snug with a rubber band.
To put me on track, Sven generously wanted to accomplish teaching me voice syncing while he was here. He walked me patiently through the entire process of adding dialog to animation, something I would have aptly avoided for YEARS!!! on my own. But everything is possible with Sven around. His clear and positive nature makes even the most daunting task seem doable! I learned how cool Garageband is and the input and distortion filters there, how to make a Papagayo dope sheet based on that sound file and then how to use that to animate the mouth of my puppets, how to use Quicktime Pro to export that into different formats and frame rates. Loved it!
It's About Damn Time You Learned How To Do The Sound! on VimeoShelley first learning sound and not caring about any other aspect of this little clip with Dad and Jimmy (and Toby!). Voice talent, Sven Bonnichsen.
I'll give Sven first dibs on describing what type of mini workshop we did for his exploration. I had such a blast and will show my cool results later!