I borrowed a tripod that allows me to take photos vertically, so it was easier to take photos of cutout shapes.
Using the plastic sheets I bought as I mentioned in my earlier post, I created a background that mimics the waves of water.
To balance the colors and patterns of the cutout shapes, I picked the materials that are closest to the primary color. Also, traditional Japanese patterns are used for the cutout shape of the boatman
This is a fragment of my storyboard (a cylinder going through lamp posts) that I really want to use in my final product. Thinking of lamp posts, I decided to use pictures of lamp posts from NYC and my hometowns (Beijing and Kanazawa). So I asked my friends from my hometowns to take pictures of street light posts, and went to NYC myself.
This is the stop motion animation of pictures of lamp posts:
(Storyboards of the scenes that connect fragmented clips)
(Storyboard of the motion of the monster)
These are my finalized storyboard. Although it is very different from my original storyboard, it works with mixed media better.
Realizing that I have to be flexible with my plan since this is my first time making animation, I have decided to finish up with the clay part, and make the rest of the animation with mixed media claymation. Mixed media will work perfectly as well, and it will look more interesting. Most importantly, it saves a lot of time.
Unfortunately, the halogen light bulb I borrowed is blown. I purchased new bulbs, but they wouldn’t fit on the lamp. Since I have no time to wait for the right bulb to be delivered, I borrowed lamps that are used for still life drawing. Luckily, they worked very well, and they don’t get as hot as the halogen lamps.
Details of the hand of the puppet
Since my storyboards are fragments of motions that are too obscure for a story to be formed, I decided to connect the fragments with a setting.
The story will be an adventure in a monster’s stomach. The reason why I chose to use the monster is that the overwhelmed feeling of being in a foreign environment is like being trapped in a monster’s stomach. Although the puppet isn’t used in my final product, this idea is used.
Thanksgiving break is the best time for getting inspirations and nice material for senior project. During my visit in NYC, I luckily found this store that sells all kinds of samples for plastic fabrication and acrylic sheeting. They are GREAT for making background and costumes for my claymation. Some of them are transparent, so I can combine them with my lighting gel and create even more interesting scenes.
( Each sheet is about 1×1 ft )
I have been struggling with technical problems for a couple of weeks. It is helpful to realize that the plan I made in my storyboard is not always likely to be achieved because of tools and techniques. Although it is disappointing to give up lots of ideas that I have, new ideas always comes spontaneously to fix the problem. Without sufficient tools to make a good background, I decided to use gel to create interesting lightings.
I have 6 colors in total, so I can also overlap different colors to create even more interesting lightings.
This short raw (not edited) clip is a formal test of a scene of the final product. Took me about an hour to figure how the lighting, camera, software, tripod… work. Technical problem is always huge for me. I will be using the metal strings (on the feet of the little men) for balancing the figures, and erase them out during the editing process.
Both of the little men will be directly used for the final product. (I should really hurry up)
First test with claymation. (8 seconds)
This short test is for trying out and getting familiar with the clay I have (Lewis Newplast Clay), and the software iStopMotion. Since it is the first test, I only focused on showing the motion with the texture of the clay as support. The movements of the creatures are similar to what I am planning to do for the first clip of my final project. Another purpose of the test is to see how long it takes for me to shoot a 1-second video. This whole video took me around and hour, with about 100 individual frames.