Friday, March 16, 2007

Because I'm a Giver

Because I care for you, my readers, L.A. readers in this case (but also everyone else, if you have a place like this near you you may want to check it out) I will let you in on a real find for stop motion sets. I wish I could say I thought of doing this out right but the truth is I fell bassakwards into this score. I stopped in to House of Hardwood near Sepulveda and Olympic blvds. while running errands, thinking they might have a trim scrap or two that I could use for the new wainscoting paneling I want to put on the interior cottage walls. The guy pointed me to the bin in the giant mill room of this vast resource of exotic hardwoods in Los Angeles and said I could certainly help myself. Next thing I know, I'm looking down into a bin filled with all kinds of beautiful wood scraps in various sizes. This wasn't plywood, this was mahogany, alder, spruce, etc. all fine grain woods, some already cut to the sizes I would want for roof beams and planking.

I found myself uncontrollably making a kind of cross between a whimper and quiet moan, kind of like when a dog sees a bone. Fortunately I was alone in the room. I pounced before anyone realized what they were giving away. I acted like I was on a game show, "NAB THAT WOOD!" where the object was to get as much wood into a cardboard box and skedaddle outta there before a buzzer sounded. I raided two more lumber yards on the way home, but the best treasure was surely there. So, if you go, say hey to the guys and be nice!
Bosq's under belly is now filled in with wool! and his tail can now move. I broke the rigid sculpted tail (seen on left) into segments and filled in with the matching wool. Looks natural fluffy but I felted it down.
In an incredible bit of luck I found a PERFECT color match to the Bosq puppet in Australian wool roving (the dyed raw wool fiber before it is spun into yarn) right here in my stash! The match is absolutely uncanny. I painted Bosq, gosh must be 13 years ago, and I find the exact woolen fluff right here? I must really like these colors. Anyway, what I used it for led to an interesting puppet building technique. I needle felted mixed hanks of the wool and glued them into the spaces where the puppet's joints are, filling in the gaps left between the painted fabric "skin" and the hard sculpt underneath. It gave a wonderful fluffiness that I never would have thought up directly. Now I will want to use this method to build the large scale Writing Mouse puppet for the next Halfland film!

I've had a lot of fun lately finishing the mask puppet I started when Sven was here. I finished the texture to look like rusted iron and glued wire to the reverse in order to be able to change it's expression. When I hold it in hand it gets a great deal of ominous expressions and has a kind of oracle quality, but when I animated it today it came out looking goofy. I dug the way the wire eyes, twisted with black thread for pupils, would move in unison on a toggle though.

Mr. Cow Pie on Vimeo
this clip wasn't worth a download wait so I triple compressed it to the point of no detail and about every 2 out of 3 frames is dropped.

Art is Life Quote:
"Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual." --Arthur Koestler


  1. Cool progress herself!

    It awesome that your animating so much..your gona grow every time you do it.

    I like the face alot!


  2. Anonymous1:06 AM


    ...And I'm groovin' on the "Art is Life" quotes, hey.

  3. Bosq is looking Ace, nice and cuddly:->


  4. Nice find! I work next door to a cabinet shop. I am amazed at the stuff they toss out. Lots of stuff too small for furiture but just right for the scale we work at

    I have been feeling kind of bad that I havent' checked in lately with my bloggin'buds, Crazy busy with the day job... great progress Shelley keep it up.


  5. beautiful shelly,

    and thanks for the wood tip!


  6. hey shelly,

    just caught your curtain call animation on vimeo. very very cool. good job!

    i watched your other two clips as well. i love all the detail in the cottage one...that chair and rug and hat are amazing. really looking forward to seeing more...

    did you find that animating dance is much easier than animating walking? maybe cuz we've studied the dance movement in terms of placement and all....although i have to say i have studied walking too so maybe it's just cuz the weight changes in walking are so much subtler...hmmmm....

    in any case i'm looking forward to puzzling this all out. thanks again for the encouragement. i'm really excited about this stuff....can't stop thinking about it....

    i've been bit for sure.


  7. Thanks, Mark, Cabinet shop, eh? That sounds like mighty good pickins' too! The good thing about catching up with people's blogs after a while is that the progress is more fun to watch speed by!

    Thanks, Shell, I sent the link to my first animation to you to show you that we BOTH chose to do ballet the first time we got to move a puppet. In my case it was Sven's first ball socket armature!

    To tell the truth here, I'm cringe-y over showing you and everyone these early clips because they don't represent what I hope to one day do.

    BUT I really love doing something, even badly, and posting it here so that everyone can see things develop as they go along.

    I can tell from your first clip that you are going to make great things.

  8. Anonymous2:44 AM

    You are a generous person, a true giver of kindness!


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