Claymation: Changes

After the process of creating an animatic I made several changes from what my original storyboard was. My initial thoughts were to have my main character grow up through three stages of life. Then I thought that the main character should knock on the door three times. I thought the threes were a good consistent number to use through out my animation. Since the door knocking seemed to take up a great deal of time, so I decided not to include the middle life stage.

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This was the awkward teenage stage that everyone has. I thought it was less vital, but then after creating the animatic it seemed as though the door knocking seemed to be the wrong focus. I then decided to create the teenage character and reduce the length of the door knocking scene. I tried to stick with the reds, pinks and blacks to unify the characters, so that it was clear that it was one person. Plus I knew that my teenage-self needed to being wearing a lot of eyeliner, lipstick and have bright coloured highlights. I didn’t always look like that, but I think it was a good representation of my “rebellious” stage.

IMG_3374Next came the door scene. I initially was unsure if I should create actual props for my animation. I decided that I would try. I created a door, sign, letter and envelope so that the characters could completely interact with them. I created the door out of cardboard and drew the wood grain on a piece of paper to show make it seem like a large castle door. The real props brought with them some struggles in lighting. I’m pretty sure I used every single light in my flat. I think that the use of real props enhanced the real feel of animation.

The last final change was that I initially had the main character walk down the hill in the rain. I thought if I did something quirkier it would increase interest in the video. I decided it would be funny for the character to roll down the hill. After getting some much needed input I thought that the character falling towards the camera would add to the humour I’m attempting to evoke.

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I was saving the rolling till the end, because I was nervous to ruin the figure I had created. I thought that the best thing to do was to create a small version of my figure and make that do the rolling scenes. My figure was much smaller and without wires, so that the body was more bendable. It was obviously less detailed and less attractive. The decision proved useful and the rolling was much easier.

Inspiration: How to animate and create clay figures

Clay was not my forte prior to this project. I had created one stop-motion animation using clay but creating a dinosaur is not the same as creating figures that are supposed to represent people. I knew that I was hoping to create Tim Burton esque figures, but beyond that I didn’t know how I was going to complete that.

I naturally turned to looking at other claymation films and characters. Wallace & Gromit, the classic Christmas tales, and even Gumby came to mind. I tried to find other resources and stumbled upon the video below, which is done by  Isabela Dos Santos, who did the Robot Ballet video I posted before.

I found a blog (http://michaelsanimationblog.blogspot.co.uk/) that actually inspired me a great deal. He developed a character for an animation: “Alienated!” And he created a post about the character construction (http://michaelsanimationblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/alienated-character-construction.html). Although it was not made out of clay, the construction methods made me think. I really liked that he simply created several mouths to animate the emotions that the character would have. I found another source that suggested something similar:

I don’t think I’m going to go through the effort to make a mouth for every sound, especially since my characters won’t actually talk. But the idea behind it made sense to me so I have created my characters without mouths. I also didn’t add pupils to the characters, which makes them slightly creepy right now. I knew that I was going to want my characters to look in various directions and the easiest way to do that is leave the pupils off till I actually create movement.

Claymation: Creating the Other Characters

To create the secondary characters I began the same way as I did with the main character, which was a wire frame skeleton. I was excited to have them go so much quicker, because I had already done it once. It is strange creating characters that are supposed to represent you and your parents. It was very enjoyable though. I’ve learned be very careful with the black fimo, because the color transfers to your hands and an other colors. Big mistake to make a black skirt then try to fix the faces. Below are some progress shots of my process.

Claymation: Creating the Main Character

I’ve only done a claymation once before and that was of a dinosaur crushing a car. It is pretty terrible, so I won’t post it on here. It taught me that claymation is extremely difficult… So I started early with creating my characters. I of course wanted to start with my main character. Starting with a wire form, made of christmas ornament wire, of course. It proved more difficult than I thought to find cheap wire. The wire skeleton idea came out from inspiration of “The Animation Bible: A Practical Guide to the Art of Animating, from Flipbooks to Flash” by Maureen Furniss. In the book it suggests that the figures should be made of a twisted wire frame. I didn’t do that because it seemed to make the figure too rigid. The suggested some sort of beads, or cheaper clay to build the frame.  I decided to use aluminum foil, because the only clay I had is pretty expensive and I am on a student budget. I created basically a skull out of foil as well and then came the clay. It was a lot of trial and error but I think the end result was pretty successful. Below are some progress shots.