Monthly Archives: October 2009

Foxes and Cars

Heya folks!

I’ve been a bit ill for a few days so if you’ve been wondering, that’s why I’ve been away. Before I begin, I want to write down a few things I learned from the masterclass with Mark Gustafson. Use hard plastic foam for feet and pin down to fiberboard. Instead of magnets. This can be good for small puppets and maybe it will solve my feet problems (although I’m trying the magnets atm)

Nut and bolt for the neck, to hold it down properly. He used some kind of string mechanism inside the puppet’s head to pull ‘muscles’ and Quite neat! It was used in corpse bride. Okay then…
I’ve had a really nice day out today. First I walked a bit, strolled through St. James park and then Green Park, then I decided to go somewhere I didn’t go before so I took a different exit and arrived at some street. They were selling paintings by the sidewalk so I enjoyed those for a while. They were mostly replicas though. Then I crossed the street and sat in a random cafe, on the bar. I started noticing strangely beautiful old cars crossing the street. I thought it was some tourist thing, ride in an old car for half an hour sort of thing… But it seemed the drivers and the passengers were family, so something was fishy. Since the were all coming from a similar direction I decided to follow the stream to the source.
Well! It was hardly a challenge. The more I walked the more cars I saw. And man, what cars! They seemed about 100 years old. Of any variety and color. Hand painted and decorated, in beautiful shape, and all riding on their original engines! I affirmed that note when I saw a steamed-powered one. There was a guy in the back stacking up the coal!!
There was a huge variety, from the steam engine mini-bus to tricycles where the driver sits in the back and two passengers in the front.
Walking further up a few turns, I saw one who was stuck, so I spoke to him. When I asked if this was a race, he laughed and said the challenge is getting them to move at all. Later I saw it’s a trip from London to Brighton for “veteran cars”, which will be on tomorrow. He said the cars were mostly from private collections or museums. I caught the car’s model: Renault 1902.

[edit: I looked it up, here you can get a good idea of what the event is like.]

Anyway, after my excitement dwindled, I continued my walk, and went to see the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Suffice to say… I feel really sad for the artists. The story and directing is just… Well…
All the frames are so straight! Either extremely frontal or entirely profile. Very two dimensional. The camera movements never surprise you. There are far too many straight up close-ups to the puppets and well… The puppets are beautiful but they’re just not human, they’re not meant for extreme close ups, especially so many and so centered. Argh!
That said, a lot of things are stunningly beautiful. The furry puppets. The sets are just amazing. The human faces are very good too. The humans are maybe the most interesting characters. They have done great things with the lightning and mood, although it all just seems too red throughout. I miss something cool.
Especially after the masterclass I had with the Animation Director (Mark Gustafson) and the director of photography (Tristan Oliver). It seemed like the director was too specific and didn’t give them any creative freedom, which leads to this feeling of stiffness in some areas.
The story well… too many cliches on the characters. No clear points made.

Okay done killing that movie! I adore what the artist did do.

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Posted by on October 31, 2009 in Journal, Stop Motion


And there she is!

Everyone, give a warm welcome to Fibia! The ignorant woods spirit!

She took longer than I’d thought. Especially the hair. Still a few things not done. The feet for one, I’m still waiting for the magnets to arrive. And I want to add more colors to the dress, and more flaps. Everything has got wires in it, so it can move 🙂 Even the skirt. Yay for secondary action!

She’s pretty small, fits in my hand.


Posted by on October 25, 2009 in Game, Stop Motion


Alright, a few things.

First about simplicity Vs. Complexity.

Lets start with character design. Many people tend to create complex, detailed characters. And others use simple, almost cartoony characters. You can easily attach yourself to a face with two dots and a smile, and honestly believe that that creature has a heart and soul, and can go through many endeavors. It’s also a lot easier and quicker to animate simple characters, simple shapes. When you use simple characters, you are more free with your animation, so the character feels lighter and more flexible, and not stiff and stern. Well, that’s in classic animation, anyway. So why use detailed characters at all? If simple can be more audience-friendly, easily self-identifying, and easier to animate.

Well, there is no reason. Except of course, if that is what you want to show. I realized, by watching a beautiful french film which was created (I think) in oil or pastels, in a highly realistic rotoscope technique, that it achieved something else. So what if I don’t really need all those detailed to pass on the story or feeling. That is not the only thing I want to show. I also want to show beauty.

There’s a lot about this in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. (Go read it. It’s excellent.)

Also, I thought for the transformation of Fyvia between human form and animal, I’d create a demi-doll and unravel her strings in stop-motion, only to return the form to that of the animal. Dunno if I could manage that, but it sure would look cool.

By the way, today I went to see Wallace and Gromit anniversary event. They screened A Grand Day Out and then there was an interview with Nick Park. I enjoyed it very much. He’s such a quiet, humble person with a great sense of humor. Of course he’s also a perfectionist. There were many children in the audience and they asked the best questions. It seemed the adults just wanted to ask clever questions or draw attention to themselves.

Anyway, meeting him was inspiring. I didn’t know that A Grand Day Out was started in Uni, and that he worked on it for 6 years. Now that’s good to hear! Giving me the feeling it’s not hopeless 🙂 I may need to work on something for a while, but if it’s good, it won’t be wasted time. He said that we just need to continue animating, and he also said to send our work to Aardman. Cool!!

Here’s a sketch of Fybia. I wish she could like that on the game ..

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Posted by on October 24, 2009 in Journal, Sketches


Randomness United

Here’s a few pictures of the set progress. It’s not much to look at yet though, only the undergarments… Cutting down the woods for the forest! (tee hee hee!)

Also, some progress on the flower girls. And some random sketches! Sorry for the awful quality on those. I miss my scanner…  Hmmm I wonder which will be next on the watercolor weeklies? Maybe it should be a photograph. It would sure improve my texturing skills. Hey, which do you think I should color next? Maybe there’s a way to put a vote up in here… [edit: there it is! Please vote 😀 ]

I’ve been to a service in church today. Weird huh? Never gone to one before. Wasn’t your ordinary sunday service though. They had a full 10 man band on stage, with lights and smoke and all, singing religious pop songs. No offense, really, I had a good time. I don’t think I’ll go again though.

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Posted by on October 19, 2009 in Journal, Sketches, Stop Motion


No, I’m not dead

Hi guys, sorry for not updating for a few days, I’ve had my dad and grandfather visiting me so I spent most of my time with them, and the laptop was in the cabinet.

We went to see Billy Eliot. It was fantastic! I did not believe I would enjoy a play as much but I was so absorbed into it, and so thrilled… the acting was honest and joyful and not too strict. You could see the actors were improvising somewhat, and it only added to the charm. Especially on the little 6-year old on stage!

Still, I’ve got a few sketches for you! Warning, some of which are from a life drawing session. Middlesex is awesome. They give us free life-drawing classes, just drop by and draw. I choose watercolors. Also here’s a sketch of something I’m gonna be painting next, in watercolor. New resolution: Paint at least 1 full color A3 picture a week.

As for the game, I’m working on my set next. I am also looking for a place to shoot it : a studio. I’d rather not do it at home, it could lead to home-quality… but currently this seems to be the only option.


Posted by on October 17, 2009 in Game, Journal, Sketches


Model updates

Onward to second stage! Wrapping with masking tape! yay fun….

Then I covered it all with yarn, and also modeled the face with fimo. I’ll burn the head and prolly have the hair in plasticine or strings around wire.

By the way, I spent a few days looking for aluminum wires. I started with art shops, tried gardening shops (they had some but it was too thick), moved on to builders shops, even looked up modeling shops online but only one sold wires and they were out cause some crazy fine-art dude had to make a huge doll with them. Those damned artsy folk!!!!!!!

I tried online shops but the only one who would sell to individuals was using pay-pal and from some reason it wasn’t accepting my card. So I’ve found a beads shop and they had… copper wire. Which is not nearly as good but I was nearly losing hope. The sad thing is, I took it for granted that it would be no problem to find some here. I have a stock at home, which I just bought at the art shop inside the school (guess you learn to appriciate Ventura when you’re out in London).

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Posted by on October 11, 2009 in Journal, Stop Motion


My first armatuer!

First step is making my puppet: Complete and [badly] photographed for your viewing pleasure!

I like her. I think she’ll do well.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking,wouldn’t it be cool if my game was a bit more open ended? So you’d realize that her magic was destorying the forest, and could either continue for total sheer chaos, or work to heal the forest. The more you destroy, you’ll stop meeting people or even monsters. You’d just be on a rampage of burning. I would assume that with no opposition, you’d get bored. But then it will be be too late

Anyway, this may be far too much flexibility than I could commit to creating at this point. But just an idea. I don’t want this game to be another power hungry killing rampage.

And yet I do want it to be fun…

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Posted by on October 10, 2009 in Game, Journal, Stop Motion