Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A new article about my project as been published !

Yeah !  I can't believe it.  Within the last month, my project's visibility increased a lot with the article Marc Spess wrote on "Animateclay.com" and with this new article wrote by Hasan Ismail on is blog "RASTASIA : In full motion".

I met him on Vimeo, where he created a video channel "Stikmotion" that shows Stikfas in action.  I'm very happy that someone took the time to create environnements like that for the great pleasure of all the Stikfas fans.

On his blog, he says that his mission is to share with you his passion on audio, video and the one toy that fascinates him so much that he undertaken personally to show them around the Netherlands !  He wish to present Stikfas as a communication platform and bring it to another level using tools available in Web 2.0.  He is also an audio engineer by profession with a fully equipped post production studio for post productions works. 

You can visit is Vimeo channel here and also read news about Stikfas here on his blog.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The "Puddle" sequence

Hey there !
The "Puddle" sequence is done ! 

I wasn't expecting this one to be done so fast.  I did the setup last week very slowly.  I wasn't really in the mood since the rush i imposed to myself for the last two sequences.  Friday night came and i thought that some more lightning test would be great to be prepared for the shooting on saturday.  The camera rig wasn't gone throught tests neither.  I was surprised to have good results so fast and before i knew it, half of the sequence was done.  The other half was very thought but since i got that far, there was no way to quit that and lose my momentum.

Here's the results

Here's the setup

The only light bulb that was used was the one showed below (I set my camera's exposure at 3.2 seconds).  This is a general household spiral bulb.  The only ones used in this project with the leds used as streets lights.

The spiral bulb Enersaver specs

- 40 watt
- 4100K
- 500 lumens
- Medium base
- T2 smaller size
- Cool white

For the camera rig, i built pretty much the same mecanism as i did for "The city" sequence.  A hinge was screwed to maintain the rig.

To maintain the camera in place, i had used an old support.  The five screws in it are to maintain the tripod adapter that is under the camera.  Note that the screws are half way in the wood.

Popsicles sticks were used as measurement marks.  One Popsicle stick per frame (72).

A 2.5 lbs dumbell weight is there to maintain a constant pressure on the popsicles sticks.

Here's what it looks like in motion


(Note:  For the shot, i had to put my video camera on the rig in order to take these pictures with the camera that stands on it normally.  It's just there so you can figure out how this works)

Some pictures with the real camera on the rig


A normal mirror was used to simulate the water.

For the water ripple effect, i was lucky enought to borrow a computer for the week-end with Adobe After Effect on it.  I didn't really worked with that software before.  It's very powerful, but you get lost very easily.  Without this tutorial (done by Cirus), there was no way i could have make it.

Finally, for the character's animation, i had to pin it down in order that it doesn't moves everytimes i had to touch it.  I put through a wooden board, two nails for each legs and a steady wire that goes... in the butt.

I drilled two holes in his right foot, one in his left leg and another one in his left foot.

Here's the last hole drilled for the steady wire.

It didn't need to had glue for that.  The holes were tights enough so the nails and the wire stayed in place.

A little bit of soil and the wire disapear. (Yeah ! No wire removal required on this shot)

As the right arm doesn't need to move on that shot, i glued it on the right leg with crazy glue.  It can be seen on that picture.  I thought that it would become transparent, but it turned white.  I had to add black color on it in the post-production.

I was ready to let this toy for dead after that shot since the joints were very tired.  I placed an order for a new black Stikfas before putting crazy glue on it by the way.  Here's a picture after the shot.  The plastic melted on both members.

Here's a final shot from the sequence

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sequences un-edited

I took the last week off (stopmotion).  I wasn't really in the mood to animate, so the only things i have done was removing the sequence 1 & 2's setup and putted in place the new one for the "Puddle" sequence.  I tried some animating tests yesterday, but i had many lights flickering issues.  I may try other things this week-end.  Until then, here's the sequences done so far, before i removed the rigs, the wires and the lense dust.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sequences #1 & 2 are completed

Here they are !

The sequence #2 was done on the same set as the first one (view previous post).  I was looking again for a sunset,  so i just replaced the different parts.  Every parts was at different distances and the focus was on the character.  The camera was set on a low aperture.  This created a good feeling of depth. 

The camera was installed on a moving wood board that was able to slide left & right.  I put an old camera's support on that board.  A ruler was installed on the sliding board and a mark was done on the set frame.  I had to move the board 1mm by picture for a count of 64 mm. 

I like the effect of the light at the end of the sequence.  It happens when you shoot directly at a light at a slow shutter speed.  No special effects were required.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sequence #1 "City" setup progress

The setup for this sequence is almost finished.  I have underestimate this sequence for 2 reasons.  First, there's a lot of clouds to do (not a whole sky, but almost) and secondly, it's very hard to adjust the lightning to create a sunset.  The camera movement is basic, but i had to build a system with a lot of increments (around 125).  I could have choosed to put the camera on a swivel screw, but the increments would have been hard to indentify.  So, even if it looks complicated, my system works very well.


First, i've put 5 little screws (i don't screw them all the way) on a wood block in order to maintain the camera in place.  I have a squared tripod adapter that i put under the camera and i slide it under the screws heads.  I've put a hinge between the set's frame and the camera support.

Another wood piece was added to work as a tripod arm.  Then, i've curved a thin wood board and fixed it in a way that the camera support is almost touching it on every position.   The popsicles sticks will be added, one by one, and for each one added, i'll take a picture.  A 2,5 lbs weight is installed on it so if some popsicles sticks are a little curved, that won't affect the increments.

As i said before, this set requires a lot of clouds.  I built a "sky" over the street set.  I've place styrofoam boards on a frame and glued pillow's stuff on them.

I have to go to Wallmart to buy another bag of pillow's stuff tomorrow to finish that.

This clouds board is at the end to the set.  At the bottom of the board, there's the sunset.

I've used a desk light with a tungsten bulb to have a yellowish color (my camera is set on halogen, so tungsten light appears yellow).  Under the clouds board, i built another clouds board with a hole in it.

The lightning needs adjustements, but the results i got so far are satisfying.  

Updated - October 11th

The sequence is done.  I'll upload it with the next one "Sunset" when it will be done too (maybe by the end of this week).

Here' pictures of the completed set.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An article about my project ?

That's too good to be true.  Marc Spess, from Animateclay.com, wrote an article about my project yesterday on his website.   

After i saw this picture from Jon, i was fantasizing that one day, i'll do mine too.  But i wasn't expecting that day to come so soon.

So here's mine, "totally geeking out" =)

My interest about this website doesn't stop growing.  
There's so much stuff !