Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stop Motion How-To: Creating an Armature

An armature is essential in creating a stop-motion puppet that is capable of animation. An armature is the skeleton that holds together the puppet. Not only does an armature hold the puppet together, it also keeps it in the correct pose. This is very important.

The best (and most expensive) armature is the ball and socket. These are constructed of (if you hadn't guessed) metal ball and socket joints, and they seem work quite well. Most pro studios like Aardman use the ball and socket type armatures. However, because each piece on a ball and socket is made by hand, they can get quite pricey. You can buy lower-end ball and socket armatures for pretty good prices here.

Brass tube armatures are made of wood, wire, metal, and bass tubing. These are really nice because they allow you to remove and replace certain parts of the armature, such as hands, feet, heads, and so on. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any retailers who offer these armatures. If you're interested in learning how to make a brass tube armature, check out Marc Spess's DVD How to Make Aluminum Wire Armatures.

Most amateur animators (such as myself) use wire armatures made from 1/16-inch aluminum wire. They work really well and are relatively easy to make! heres a picture that shows some of the parts on a stop-motion wire armature here . Marc Spess again made a nice vid (available on YouTube) showing the basics of armature making(Look below)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun Stuff: Tim Liebe's Eigendynamik

Here's a creative short stop-motion vid I found on the Animator DV site. It was made by a guy named Tim Liebe, using the Animator DV software. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stop-Motion News: Neverhood Movie

The Neverhood, an adventure video game created totally in stop-motion clay animation, came out in 1996, and most people agree that it was the best clay-animation game ever. Now Frederator Studios are bringing the wacky world of The Neverhood back in a full-length feature film, premiering sometime next year. Luckily, Frederator Studios are producing the movie in clay animation, just like the game. Doug TenNapel, who designed and animated on the game. is coming back to work on the film. For those of you who haven't seen anything of The Neverhood, here is a cut scene from the 1996 game:

The Neverhood: Pulling of the Pin

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stop Motion How-To: Timing

One of the biggest problems an animator will run into is getting the timing on his animation right. This will determine whether or not his puppet looks like it's moving at the right speed. Anthony Scott came up with a quick and easy method for finding out how many frames are needed for a movement that takes less than or exactly a second.

One-thou-sand-one is the key word in this trick. The amount of time it takes to say one thousand one equals 24 frames or a second worth of animation time. But the nice thing about the word is you can break the word into fewer syllables for timing smaller movements. For instance:

One equals 6 frames.

One-thou equals 12 frames.

One-thou-sand equals 18 frames.

And one-thou-sand-one is 24 frames.

If the animator requires a movement that takes longer than a second to complete, he'll need to film himself performing the movement and note how long the movement takes. I highly recommended Marc Spess's How to Animate Puppets 2 DVD Set It gives a more in-depth explanation on timing and also demonstrates many other neat stop motion tricks.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fun Stuff: Stop-Motion Animation Frame by Frame

I found this cool little video this afternoon. Someone filmed a stop-motion animator while he was animating some puppets and sped it up so that it looks like the puppet us actually moving while the animator animated him. Check it out.