Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Color of Time

The equipment tests continue as we get closer to the look I'm after for the film.
This gets pretty darn close!

Above you see the finished Time Frog verdigris green patina puppet paint job (what else is the color of time?!) more clearly while the rest of the pond set has been blurred in camera with Vasoline© on the edges of the UV protection lens cover and then additionally enhanced in PS with a texture layer blended to multiply in green with burned out edges and erased over the frog.

Christine and I learned a tons in making today's test(s); how to gobo the window light to cut down the glare on the frog's left clock eye (above was my test with a paper watchface over his eye), that hot glue doesn't work on my set as tie down for his hands, that a piece of cardboard with a barcode on it allows us to focus on the plane of the frog's nose area instead of at the camera's field of center, that the pond water needs to stretch to make it more slack in order to ripple when touched between frames, the the whole set and room we are shooting in moves slightly regardless of how little we move--and/or the camera is somehow moving no matter how much we try to lock it down with every frame, that the shaking can be fixed in post production with Adobe After Effects, how to animate the Koi puppet with more minute movements and less often to get him swimming at a slower rate, that animating is far more fun than we thought it would be.

If you were here in the room with us, there is nothing you would rather do than make your own stop motion films.


  1. I love those days when everything gains momentum! I love it in my own work as much as I enjoy watching others having such a great time!

    Congrats to both of you for your accomplishments, and much energy to you to move on!

  2. YES! Thanks, Jessica. Same here.

  3. I think the colour of Time is Evergreen...
    Well, I can't be in your studio, but I'm in mine today and couldn't agree more, there's nothing I would rather be doing. So happy to see you getting to the point of actually animating something!
    Unsolicited Tips Dept: I found that, if attempts to fix camera or set movement in post are not completely successful, adding a deliberate move like a slight pan or zoom will cover up any remaining jiggle. It even worked for a bunch of rocks in the set that I knocked over and couldn't put back perfectly, once I added a pan to follow the character, you couldn't tell the rocks shifted. (It does help to have a storytelling justification for the move though.) If you shoot with a DSLR you have ample image size to do this without losing resolution.
    I use a loop of thin armature wire (0.6mm or 0.9mm) to tie down hands so they don't skitter about. I bet thread would work too, and it could already be frog coloured without needing a touch of paint.
    The short film I recently worked on, Grace Under Water, had swimming pool water surfaces made in a similar way to your pond I think. There was a sheet of plexiglass, about 3mm of clear hair gel on that, and a sheet of cellophane on top. The animator squidged it fairly randomly with his hands every frame, and it actually worked well to create rippling water not unlike the rapid wavelets found in pools with waves coming from all directions. There was no attempt to do ripples radiating out from a single source, like you might get with the frog - that might look even better.

  4. HI Nick! Your tips are highly Solicited, thank you!

    All the ideas you gave are ACES!!! WILL DO ALL!

    Wow. That water idea sounds so great. Better than mine. Mine's just a single layer of clear plastic with nothing under it. Very little ripple control. None actually.

    I'll have to be satisfied with general water movement and hope that the audience tastes aren't very sophisticated, which today, is getting impossible.

    HEY! When and where I we all see Grace Under Water!?

    Actually animating, yes. Bet you didn't see that coming!


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