While updates may have been scarce from me in the past few months, work has continued. With ten days to go until the animation must be done (plus post & audio) we are pushing through to the end. Today I decided to step back for a moment to start to see how things will look cut together. The sequence is still a bit incomplete — infomercial graphics to come! — but it’s a good start on seeing how things are coming together!
More updates to come…
So, don’t have too much time to post, but I thought I would post some pictures of the finished puppet and set. I am very, very pleased with how everything turned out and it was a great group effort to get to this place. This has been a great and intense process and I am so happy with how things are turning out. More later, but here are these images for now:
So, this is the long and exhausting run to the finish line. We still have an enormous amount of work to do, but I still am holding some hope that we will be able to get everything done on time. We have his set completed other than some minor details, the main puppet is just about finished and we are just about ready to animate. Matt Emmons built us our ball and socket armature, which saved Andrea and me a ton of time and frustration. It looks really good and I am very excited to get to animate with a soundly constructed puppet as compared to the relatively flimsy and delicate wire armatures I have used up to this point.
I have spent the entire weekend punching body hair into the puppet’s head, arms and legs. This has to be one of the weirder things I have done and I can guarantee I was the only person up at 10am on Ohio University’s campus Friday morning punching leg hair into a fat man’s silicone leg. And, well, if I wasn’t the only one, I would like to meet the other person so we could chat about it.
Well, anyway, I should be getting back to work but I will leave you with some pictures of our partially completed puppet and his hairy legs:
So, I apologize for the huge amount of time in between this post and the last one. After Treeshaker, I remember saying “why didn’t we keep up the blog more? We should be better about that next time.” Well, I remember now: it is really hard. But, I will try to keep this up as we skedaddle to the end of the quarter.
Since the last post, a lot has happened. Animator Justin Kohn visited from San Francisco for a week and it was just the most refreshing and inspiring week we’ve had all quarter. I think the visit was timed perfectly as all of us were just beginning the process of animating. The three groups of students had done at least primary animation tests and I had just finished my first shot (the shot posted below). We were able to learn so much in this short period of time, and I was completely reminded of why I am doing this and what I love about it. It was great.
Besides that, I have just been busy animating. I have a handful of shots completed: some dumbbell curls, side stretches and other sorts of warm ups. I was just about to animate some squats, but the lead puppet’s hand snapped off at the wrist. Great. I think this is the main drawback to working with puppets instead of humans. Human wrists don’t just snap. That just doesn’t really happen. But that is my reality. I have lost hours remaking her hand. But in the end, I knew that this was an obstacle we accepted when we chose to use wire armatures and her hands were starting to look really rough anyway. So, as soon as I finish writing this I will be back to work.
Production on the main living room set is going fabulously. In just a bit I will post some pictures of the details of the set: VHS tapes, pill bottles, peppermints, working lamps, cigarettes, french fries, you name it. Our studio has become a little workshop of elves making various accessories and props that will fill our couch potato’s depressing home. I’m really excited.
Anyway, hold tight for photos, they will be up later today. Wish us luck.
So, here is a teeny tiny bit of animation to share with you. This is first thing I have animated since last spring, so I’m a bit rusty, but this clip will show you how our puppets, set, lighting and everything came together. I’m really pleased with the quality of the colors- how muted and pastel they are, it is really the look we were going for. Anyway, enjoy:
So, I am very pleased to say that with the exception of some shoes and snaps, our workout puppets are completed. I am incredibly happy with how they have turned out, I am amazed to step back at this point of the process and realize that Andrea and I created every single part of these dolls. They were once just something completely imaginary, but now they are real puppets that look very much how we always thought they would. Here are some pictures of how they turned out:
Oh and I looked down while I was working to witness a secret puppet romance, some stolen puppet kisses:
Swear I didn’t put them like that.
Anyway, here are some pictures of an opera singer puppet that sculpture student Natalie Burrows has been working on. Natalie is one of the new eleven students working with us and I could not be more impressed by what she came up with. I absolutely love this puppet which is made from fimo modeling clay for the head, bust and hands, and a wire and cotton batting body. Note the beauty marks!
In addition to puppet construction coming to an end for this part of the project, we are just about done with the workout room set. I am really loving it, it’s very full-house-esque (more uncle joey than uncle jesse).. With our vision realized, I actually think I was subliminally inspired by Stephanie’s jazzercise phase. Who knew?
Another note, animator Justin Kohn is in town and I feel so lucky to be getting to know him. He has been working in this industry for 30 years and has worked on many of things we think about about when someone mentions the words “stop-motion”. Justin has animated for the likes of Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, The Life Aquatic, James and the Giant Peach, and many, many, many more projects. He will be running workshops throughout the week to teach us more about armature building, rigging and animation performance. Also, Wednesday night, he will be making a public presentation of some of his work as well as answering any questions you may have about this industry. So, if you are interested, Wednesday night at 8pm in Walter Hall! (same room that Coen Brothers storyboard artist, J. Todd Anderson, presented, for those of you who attended that.)
And finally, I am so pleased to say that we not only met our fundraising goal of $1000 in 7 days flat, but we have now surpassed that amount, totaling $1,140!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who helped us out, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many supportive people. The money eases so many stresses surrounding the completion of this project and helps make this all possible. So, again, thank you.
Well that is all for now. Keep checking back because before long we will hopefully have some animation for you to check out!
So, other than the fact that I am very relieved to hear that Punxsutawny Phil did not see his shadow this morning, I am relieved to say that I have made some good progress on the heads of the puppets. I might have mentioned that I decided to do a re-sculpt of the aerobic girl heads, I was really unsatisfied with them and they had the wrong expression. So, I back tracked and redid the heads, re made the molds, re poured and spent last night and this morning coming up with a new strategy of attaching the hair to their silicone scalps. Two words have saved my life : Felting. Needle. It’s the most perfect tool! It is not quite as sturdy as hand threading the locks, as Andrea did last year, but takes literally only a fifth of the time. It is also easier to get full coverage. I have to admit that I think I am most excited for punching the hair into our main character’s legs and chest. I have some good sick black, curly hair that will do the trick. And with my felting needle? It will be great.
Andrea is also chugging away at the costumes. They’re looking really good and I can’t wait to see them finished. Below are some pictures of our progress on the aerobic girl puppet (she has no coloration yet, after some makeup she will look much more vibrant) as well as some images of Andrea’s costume making process, just to give you an idea of the colors, patterns and styles she is working with. Enjoy!
Thanks and more soon!
P.S- Please keep the donations coming!! It means so much to us! And thank you thank you thank you to all of you who have already been so generous!
You can make donations here: http://www.indiegogo.com/Nite-Sweat?a=78487&i=addr
Our puppets can actually stand upright now! Andrea just finished their feet, made out of plumber’s epoxy putty (a rather toxic smelling, but incredibly useful material that looks something like one of those cowtail candy bars). It feels good to see the three puppets standing in their formation, it makes it much easier to imagine how all of this will come together. I finished building up their bodies after much trial and error, surprise, surprise. I found a great method of cutting strips of a mattress pad, and stretching and wrapping them around the limbs, much like a mummy. It looks pretty great and is really sturdy. Meanwhile, Andrea has started in on the costumes – she found a great, tacky prom dress to cut apart for their purple leggings and a rather creepy floral.. smock..? for their leotards. Soon our puppets will transform from wire mummies to aerobic super stars.
On another note, we are rapidly spending down all of our funds. Bringing an extra eleven people onto this project is spreading our budget very thin and we will not have enough money as it is to see this project through. This is where I come to all of you for help. We have a website where you can donate any amount that you feel you could spare to our cause. There is no minimum, but those who donate $25 will get a copy of our movie when it is complete and those who donate $50 will get a copy of this project as well as our first project, The Treeshaker’s Worry. So, if there is any cent you can spare, please send it our way!
You can donate here : http://www.indiegogo.com/Nite-Sweat