Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Girl in Halfland: Tavi

We met this little skinny lost kitten at our friend's new house party last month. They had found her behind their old house, on her last legs from hunger. We took her home to give her more time and attention than they had at the moment, just to foster her until construction and chaos of their move was settled. She was 8 weeks old or so at the time and all skin and bones and fluffy fox-tail.

She has the greatest personality and is so fun and fast and smart and funny and cute, that we love her now as our own. I think our friends know we are adopting her from them. I'll ask them that, at some point, after a while.

She's what you call an Amber/Smoke/Ebony Tortoiseshell breed, with a very appropriate half-white chin.
Pond set protection measures have been taken. Queen of the house, Cloud (on the right), was VERY upset at first, seen here hiding and mad as heck behind the tall grass set pieces on the top shelf of the closet shortly after the kitten arrived to live here.

A month into the arrival there's still a lot of tension and upset between all the cats. But there have been moments of playful chasing and wrestling in amongst the hissing and swiping with sharp claws.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eat Me

I've mostly been trying to resolve my facial swelling, experimenting with making alternative food to live on to pinpoint which may be causing an allergic reaction. Getting my trigger point muscles injected regularly with acupuncture needles and trying to unwind at home in case the cause is muscle tension instead. Could also be due to an environmental reaction like pine tree pollen (there's a beautiful 100 foot pine practically in the house), could be viral nerve irritation from the flu I had last year. So far, it's been like trying to nail down a swiftly moving target. Maybe that's what this clip is about without my thinking of it.

Halfland continues to be ever present in my mind and heart. I have watched many armature/moldmaking/casting videos and gotten a even better idea of how I'd like to proceed to make the rest of the puppets here. Looking forward to the tests.

Christine! came by yesterday and spent a couple hours or so getting me back up to speed animating, bless her. She's incredibly kind, smart, and patient. I had forgotten what the conditions were on the pond set and saw what repairs are needed (due to the subjects of the next post), etc.

Purpose: We wanted to make a new clip to continue experimenting with lens distortions and other in-camera tweaks to see what was going to give my the dream-like quality most wanted for certain scenes.

I made the experimental, improvisational clip above after Christine left for home in order to kinda keep my feet wet and to see what the water looks like if moved more slowly and subtly. The rest of it was my being wild moving clear plastic hanging over the free-standing lens and using a larger sheet of it folded up in front of the camera in order to create a sort of analog blurry fade out.

Discovery: I animated the little white specks on each frame by hand at random to give the puppet something to be reaching for. That was EXTREMELY fun, and I am afraid to say it, but I may enjoy working on the post-production tasks for the film series, as much as I did the prop building, when that time comes.

Christine also helped me play with hanging both white light diffusing table cloth material and a piece of black velvet between the set and myself in order to cut the glare/reflections on the Time Frog's eyes. After trying a few new things out, we actually only used the natural light from the room's windows, stage left and behind the camera.

Errors: I missed closing the eye flap again, patched badly in PS, didn't notice a gap upper screen left (didn't show on the monitor?) either way will have to snap test shots and view them on the computer before making future tests. I didn't pay to much (any) attention the the timing of the clock hands in the eye. The new tongue piece was not tied down in the mouth, just sort of animated/pushed on the fly--sorry for the joke.

Thank you for watching!

Tech notes: Batch processed for; size reduction to 1280 x 720; used Blog Spoon Graphics free PS action "Forest Light" with a color overlay of (50/18/22/0). Created the fade out by shaking increasing layers of clear vinyl in front of free standing lens. Made the titles in PS only by creating new frames and adding the wording one file at a time. (If I wanted to spend more time than I did--spent all afternoon and again naughtily late into the night--I'd have animated the 1/2L logo to fade/blur away while the words "camera test" remained longer on screen through to the end.)

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