Claymation: Reflection

As I get to the point where I believe that I am finished I feel as though I should make one final reflection on this project.

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I say that I believe that I am finished, because I feel that you are never really done with a work you create. There always changes that could be made, but there is a time that you need to decide that you are satisfied. I think that I am the closest I will get to being satisfied with my video. So I’m going to call it done, or as done as it will ever get.

The final changes that I decided to make was to add a vignette and to tweak the sound. I thought that the vignette would add a sort of fairy tale or story book feel to the video. From the addition of my narration it seemed as the natural next step for me to continue with a fairy tale or story book feel. Since this is my personal story that I was making into a short childlike narrative the fairy tale like theme would fit. The vignette also fit with the piano music which both seemed to mimic a silent movie. The sound also needed to be played with some before the final version. I think I finally got to a final version that I like.

Programs and equipment I used:

  • Figures: Fimo, Christmas Ornament hangers, Aluminum Foil
  • Film Production: iStopMotion, Hi-Q MP3 Rec Android App, Canon Rebel Eos XS, Green Screen, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects

My biggest issues:

As I stated before I really needed a second pair of hands at least. I struggled a lot with getting everything completed by myself. I had to contort a lot in order to make my laptop take photographs while I moved my figures. I also struggled with my figures falling apart and being in constant need of repair. I was sure to use Fimo so that the clay needed to be baked to harden and would remain soft through out the process. The problem came from the wire skeletons that I created. The wire provided the stability I needed in order for my figures to stand for enough time for me to take a photograph. Yet the wire tore holes into the clay regularly. It simply meant that I had to focus on the tears and ensuring that they weren’t visible. My next major problem was the fact that I had never used a green screen prior to this experience. I had to order one online and I had to hope for the best. They shippers had sent it folded up tightly and no matter how much I steamed and ironed it stayed wrinkled. The screen also had a texture that seemed to pose some issues, mostly that it would leave the texture in the clay. It also added shadows that I couldn’t easily remove using After Effects. Speaking of shadows, I struggled with lighting. I needed to do the whole process in my flat, since the studio at the University was checked out for the entirety of the time available. I think  I did very well considering the limitations of working in a flat. The only problem I had was the lighting I have used professional lighting for photography, but this was something completely new to me.

What I would change for next time:

  1. Timing: This project had a deadline and even though I really liked the result, I wish I would’ve had more time. I found that with each new scene my technique improved. If I would’ve had more time I believe the result could be even better.
  2. Lights: Buy more and better lights. The lights in my flat served their purpose, but it would’ve been better if I had lights that I could control more.
  3. Recruit help: I really could’ve used and extra pair of hands to ensure that everything was going the way I wanted. Plus I would have to do a few less things all at one time.
  4. Use a studio: This would’ve solved many of my problems. If the timing had been right for me to use the University’s studio, I would have had access to lighting, DragonFrame, a Green Screen and a better camera.

Even with all of my problems and changes I would like to make, I still really like what I created. I began with wanting to create a narrative about my life. I took my life and decided to have some fun with it. I initially unsure of how to accomplish this and took inspiration from the amazing Tim Burton. Once I had the story and the inspiration things seemed to flow naturally. I created a storyboard and although I made a few changes, I stayed true to it for the most part. I really think the narration and the use of my voice adds a personal touch, that adds to the feel that it is made by me. The whole thing feels like it is my story and I think I accomplished exactly what I wanted to. I ended up with an animation that I really like and am proud of.

Unfortunately Vimeo won’t let my upload another video until Thursday, so you will have to wait to see the final product. I will be uploading it as soon as I possibly can.

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