by Laura Jones and Ashley Hoyland
Unit 33 Stop Motion Animation Production
everything that i have written is in normal text and everything that Ashley has written is in bold text
key – Laura Jones, Ashley Hoyland
I have been tasked to devise a stop motion animation with a soundtrack and i have a list of sub subjects to work on and consider. my first subject to consider is the use of possible formats. i am going to research a list of techniques. list below.
stop – frame techniques, time lapse photography, Plasticine animation, Claymation and using found objects, modelling, puppetry and a combination of these formats.
i looked at each of these different techniques and discovered what is involved in each technique. Below are my findings.
stop – frame techniques :- this is a series of photographs strung together to create frames, much like the frames used in film cells where there is an image on each cell but the image has changed ever so slightly and when they are put together in a succession it creates the image of movement. these images can be creating using different techniques and this is just one of them. The website below gives you a guide of how to set up and what you should do if you are planning to create animation using this technique.
Time lapse photography :- this is much like the stop frame technique however you can set your camera to take in place, to take one picture at regular intervals instead of trying to animate an object, you are observing what happens in that one spot for example if you are shooting the setting sun you would have your camera in place and you would take pictures of the image at regular intervals. the speed at which these images appear in the final compilation depends on the gap in the interval. the website link below has a guide to time-lapse photography it takes you through what equipment you would need to finding your scene/considering composition and interval length.
Plasticine animation :- this is often used by animators as it Plasticine is firm enough to retain its shape for modelling but can be re used over and over again. The most famous of all Plasticine animated stop frame is Aardmans morph.how it works is you create your model or item out of the Plasticine and place your object in your scene then you move a piece of the model or figure a little bit at a time and take single shots of it through each separate piece of movement. when these images or strung together it creates an animation. The two websites below one is a website where you can buy Plasticine used for animating and the other is where the creator of the new morph animations Merlin Crossingham explains how they went about creating sloped world and how they would capture each frame as a raw file so that it was easier for them to put there film out at any resolution. Crossingham also goes into detail on how they used found objects within there creation.
found objects :- this is a form of stop motion animation that uses objects that are non drawn or already created and are generally animated alongside other objects or combined with other forms of stop motion animation. On the website below gives tutorial video on how to animate found objects. he uses an orange cube to illustrate his point and how he uses a form of software that allows him to move the cube a little at a time while being able to see his last shot and his next shot. after he moves the cube all the way out of frame he plays the images back so you can see in full the results.
Claymation :- in this type of animation usually each and every piece of the animation set can be deformed and molded into something different and this is usually done by using Plasticine clay. On the website below is how to video and he shows how claymation animation works and gives a good example of how he moves and flattens the clay then takes a picture after he has changed the form of the clay. he gives a basic approach to working with clay.
modelling and puppetry :- puppetry has been around for thousands of years its art of taking a model that is held together with with usually string and manipulating certain parts of the puppet to create motion and action these actions are then filmed and pieced together to form an animation. The first link is to the puppetworks website they have a showcase video that shows some there work that they have done recently, they work on digital 3d modelling and stop motion modelling. The second link is to a company in Scotland that specialize in providing support to puppeteers and animators. The final link is to puppet animation festivals that take place at dates and events this year.
combined forms :-most 3d stop motion animations today are mixed in with cgi techniques some developers have taken stop motion animation and turned there creations into video games making there creations not only visible but also playable.
the screenshot is taken from the above website and its some of the creation for the dream machine video game that is out on steam.
Films such as box trolls which is a mix of cgi and stop motion is a very good example of how the merge of these two separate animation techniques can work well together. http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/behind-the-scenes-with-boxtrolls/
The picture is taken from the above website and shows the green screen behind the animator as he is moving the puppets in to position. the website gives an in depth behind the scenes look in to the making of the box trolls movie. showing a good example of how the two different animations techniques can be used to enhance the overall production of the animation.
All forms of stop motion can be combined with each other or mixed and matched to create some really good looking animations.
from my research i decided that when it comes to me making my animation i looked at using traditional stop frame methods where i take an image and place it in an environment and then take a photograph of each image and string them together in succession. going to combine formats to make my animation.
When i devised my stop motion animation i had to consider the use of possible formats. I decided on using found objects for my animation as they allowed me to create an animation which would flow nicely and it would allow me to correct mistakes if i made any. I will also be using clay animation for effects in my animation such as water as it allows me to create nice looking effects without making it too time consuming.
Generation of concepts
So one of the ideas i came up with was to loosely base my stop motion animation production based off of Eadeard Muybridge original idea of showing an animal in motion. I would have done this by drawing a series of images; each image will be a specific animal in a different gate of movement. Each drawn image will have colour and be cut out on to cardboard. I will take photos of each separate gate of motion. I will then string them together to make the illusion that they are moving. My limitations are that i will be using my camera phone to take the finished image so i may have had to spend some time perfecting the image to get the right light on my taken images. I would have used images from the outdoors weather would have also been a constraint. My animation has to be 1 to 2 minutes long so i would have probably looked at looping the image i also have to find an appropriate piece of music to accompany my animation so i need to look at what license free music is available that i could use. Time is also one of the constraints because i need time to draw, cut and photograph my images and to edit them and string them together. I could also look at taking a small video clip everyday string the footage together and speed it up to give my background the feeling of motion as well. so i would be looking at using stop frame techniques and time lapse photography maybe using found objects so i would be combining a couple of techniques and formats for my animation. I think that if i used any other technique or format such as Claymation or plasticine modelling it would slow me down and take too long to finish and get the desired effect that really after.
As far as characters go i wouldn’t need any voice overs or dialogue for this as i would have tried use the music to tell the story. Modelling my subject would have been too time consuming. Visualization wise i would have wanted my animation to be bright but not too bright and i want my audience to feel like they could be watching my animated subjects in the wild.
The second idea I came up with was to use combined formats to make an animation based loosely of two video games halo and defiance but only in the aspect of character models the narrative would be completely mine. for this I would need to use found objects this would include a statue of a hell bug from defiance, some halo Lego figures along with some vehicles, pictures of some natural scenery to use as my set background and fore ground and some clay for blood simulation.
Another idea I could have created was to maybe make a morph style animation but have dialogue I could have made it using Claymation methods and could have added some educational meaning behind it for small children for example look twice before crossing the road or never play with matches. For that type of animation I would have definitely needed some form of dialogue to illustrate the point I wanted to get across.
I could do cat and mouse animation using plasticine to model the cat and the mouse film the cat chasing the mouse around found objects, with the cat knocking over the found objects as they moved around the room. It would look something like a Tom and Jerry animation.
so i developed a pictochart to help me formulate ideas, taking into consideration use of the above formats and taking into consideration of target audiences and help me decide who my target audience would be.
The website i used for my pictochart is https://bubbl.us/mindmap
Generation of concepts
Some of my characters will have dialogue so i will need to voice them. I will also need sound effects and a soundtrack in my animation so i will have to find fitting music.
I have to be aware of my technical limitations as i may not be able to create everything i originally planned on as clay animation is time consuming also if any mistakes are made i will have to correct them which is time consuming.
For my idea I’m going to go with my second choice which is to try to create something revolved around the halo universe using character models from two games Halo and Defiance. I will use Lego mega blocks and a hellbug collectable figure from my own collection of figures these items I would consider as found objects and I will use clay to simulate blood effects. I will use some dialogue that I might be able to obtain through pre-recorded halo dialogue. If this does not work I will use voice recordings of me and my team member ash. For explosions and maybe smoke I am considering using cotton wool balls or even some effects created in Photoshop. I will include some music for the more dramitical scenes and pre-recorded sound effects for the vehicles and weapons firing and moving. There may be some technical difficulties as this will be my first 3D stop motion animation production so i am anticipating a few problems. one of those problems i have already overcome as i had to build up the Lego models manually and because there were a lot of small parts and the instructions weren’t really all that clear it was extremely aggravating and time consuming.I picked this particular subject because I believe it will provide a better narrative for my target audience because while my animation may sound really cheesy, that level of cheese may be enough to come across funny and entertaining to my targeted audience.
Generation of production ideas
I created a story line for my animation where there are two teams who are trying to capture a flag. Team a will capture the flag first and then team b will come up with a cunning plan to take the flag from team a. team b will capture the flag but team a will fight until they are all defeated.
The characters will communicate with each other and have different personalities. I will have to voice the characters or get somebody else to voice characters.
I will use music which will fit the mood of the events currently happening in the animation. I will also be using sound effects for weapons and any other objects in my scene which will need them.
I will be using backgrounds on my scenes. It will be set in an urban area with some interior locations.
I will be using between 18 and 24 frames per second.
i went to Argos and Toys r us to pick up the Lego items i needed for my project and while i was out i picked up some cotton wool.
i have come up with a list of my equipment and how much these items cost these prices are a mix of what i paid and how much some items will be. Below is a screen shot of my pricing document.
Generation of production ideas
Audio – so I found a really good website for halo dialogue and it even says on the website that the clips can be used for fan animation. I have to make sure that in my credits i mention the website and that they all dialogue sounds are taken from the game and who the developer and publishers are. the licence agreement that is with the website i found for sound effects and music there licence agreement is that i mention them in the credits of my video.The audio I want to use for my animation has to be dramatic so maybe some horror style music for the starting point and music that inspires action for my action scenes. Sound effects such as when the monster roars some ground rumbling sound effects for when it emerges from the ground. Other sound effects I want to use are vehicle sounds for my characters vehicle and gun sound effects for when my characters are shooting at the monster and the enemy grunt. I want to try and take dialogue from the halo games itself and integrate and splice the required bit s of the dialogue together to create the type of feel I want to get from this animation. I want it to sound and feel like people are watching and hearing something that could have been created in the halo universe.
I found a site for the monster sounds that are sort of licence free though it requires that there website is listed in the credits or somewhere in the description.
The same website also does gun sound effects.
Sets and backgrounds – my sets and backgrounds will mostly be pictures that I have taken on my phone after it snowed here last week these images will be enlarged and placed over a sheet of cardboard to cover the ground and the background settings for my animation. The pictures I have taken are of snow covered gravel and snow covered grass. I will be looking at some images to cover the back and side views of my set maybe something like a line of trees or maybe an image of some mountains or hills maybe even a concept art picture from the halo universe.
Scenario and storyline – the scenario I have come up with is that it is set in a halo type universe one enemy solder (grunt) walks into screen shot he is casually patrolling an area (seen on the screen) the ground starts to shake. You see the monster emerging from out of the ground (simulated by the movement of the cotton wool (snow). The solder (grunt) is startled he turns and sees the monster. The solder (grunt) screams and starts to run away the monster starts to chase him. there is a human solder (Spartan) placed high on the edge of a rock mountain looking through his sniper (shot is of a view through the sniper) he shoots the grunt (more dialogue celebrating kill) he/her then looks through the sniper again (another first person view) he sees the monster (more dialogue suggesting surprise) he gets up and moves down the hill to where his/her squad (shots of him/her on the move). The rest of the squad is by the vehicle (warthog) they turn to see team member they tell them what they have seen (more dialogue and movement of them interacting). They mount up on the vehicle and start driving towards the monster. The vehicle is driven over a jump (dialogue from the Spartan on the turret with enjoyment) they land and slide the vehicle (more shots of vehicle movement) (dialogue that starts action) The turret starts firing and the Spartan riding shotgun starts shooting (passenger seat). (Switches back to monster trying to crush vehicle) (More driving skills around the monster) (The monster taking damage) (Some more dialogue). Spartan riding shotgun climbs to the top of the vehicle and jumps on to the back of the monster he shoots the monsters back to open up a wound then plants a grenade in the wound (close up images of this) the Spartan then jumps from the monster and rolls (in between shots of an explosion and then back to the Spartan landing and rolling, with bits of blood simulated by clay stuck to them). The two squad members show up and in the vehicle after the monster crashes to the ground (smoke filling the air)
(A figure walking out of the smoke) there squad member walking towards them (more dialogue) they get in the vehicle and drive off back to base. The end.
Audience – This is a very important part of a production piece as you want people to view it to listen to it or even read it. An audience is basically a group of people who take part by being spectators to what you produce they are the people who watch, read or listen then they give their opinion on whether they like it or not they are the ones that spread what you create by sharing on social networks and tell their friends who in turn tell their friends and encourage people to watch what you create. They are a key component to getting other people to view your creation.
My target audience is aimed at people who are above the age of 16 and people who are fans of Lego and the halo series I may even reach people who are just fans of animation in general. My reasons for choosing these types of viewer’s are that there is a market for this type of animation and it is highly popular at the moment. The story idea is completely my own however the characters and original halo and defiance characters are not.
My target audience for this animation are people between 12-16 but other ages can enjoy it also. Because of my audience I have to make the animation suitable for that age range so I have to make sure there is no content unsuitable for the audience.
We had technical difficulties with getting the backgrounds for the scenes of our animation due to printer issues. We had issues with models being unable to balance due to weight differences. We resolved this problem by sticking them down with some clay/bluetack. This created another issue where the clay left a mark on the surface it was on. We had an issue with the camera due to low light conditions which was resolved by moving to an area with more light. We had an issue with posing the Lego characters which was resolved by using clay to stick them down.
For the sound i decided to search for dialogue from the halo game. I found this website “http://halo.bungie.org/misc/hdialogue.html”,
which offers free halo dialogue which the original creators have allowed for use. For music and sound effects i found this site below, which gives lots of free sound effects which are royalty free.
Film day ash is putting the final touches on the set backgrounds and once we get them printed we should be good for filming. so the filming day didn’t exactly go to plan the set didn’t turn out great, the lighting on the animation was all wrong and the footage we took was out of focus and too bright.
these two pictures are taken from today you can see on the left how the main character is out of focus and the set isn’t stable. you can also see that someone walked across the set as the picture was taken. in the picture on the right you can see that the lighting is all wrong someone turned the spotlight on at the wrong time and the characters are out of focus and are at an awkward angle.
Over the weekend i built a new set from scratch and used the original photos taken for the scenery and background to enhance it. i stayed behind after class to re film the animation. Ash stayed till about 12.30 to help but had to go but i stayed to finish filming in room B105. I was in there till about 3.30pm painstakingly going over the the movements of my found objects and taking pictures of each movement. I took a picture every time i moved my objects. after i had done filming i tidied up my work area packed up all the equipment and proceeded to room A011 where i imported my pictures that i had taken on to a folder on the desktop. when i had done this i then moved the folder onto my z drive and made a copy of that folder and put it on my memory stick as a back up. There were some technical issues. I had to attach plasticine to the foot of one of the found objects because it wouldn,t stand upright on its own, i had to get someone to cover the camera shots of the vehicle in the air because ash was not there the fishing wire would not take to the vehicle i tried several ways to try to remedy this but none of them worked so i had to hold it in place with my hand and i could not reach the camera to get clear shots of it. Some of the shots had to be retaken because they were out of focus. The front of my vehicle was unstable and kept falling off, The smaller pieces of the Lego i used would fall of the bigger ones. I spent 3 hours in total filming and only achieved about 40 seconds of actual footage, in retrospect if we had got everything right on the Friday we probably would have ended up with around 2 minutes of footage which would have given us more images to play with.
As you can see from both pictures left and right that they are much clearer, in focus actually on the set and the lighting isn’t perfect but is much better than the original photo,s taken from the previous Friday.
i decided to edit my photographs before sequencing them all together. i took out most of the photos that were blurry and copied a couple of the action photo,s that were clearer to replace them. I removed about 19 photographs in total. i re numbered the shots and separated them into 6 different image folders so that each sequence of events could be monitored more accurately and i could see where each piece of dialogue, music and sound effects would fit into my animation sequence. When i sequenced them all together i could see that the images were moving too fast so i had to reduce the speed to about 25 percent on each clip sequence, this slowed the animation sequence down enough for it to still run smoothly enough to fit dialogue, music and sound effects in comfortably so that people could watch it without missing something.
this the website i used to create my qr code – http://www.qrstuff.com/
i favour this site over other because it easy to use you can choose which format the code is for and you can change the colour of the qr code via the slide bar on the right hand side of the screen.
This is my completed animation.
When Creating the final video i exported all the images in as a sequence. I added sounds effects by importing .mp3 files into the project. I also used some images with alpha channels to create an effect for a sniper scope. i used fade to black to the credits screen at the end.
Here is my video below.
I went to survey monkey and created an online survey for the next part of my assignment.
Below is the link to survey monkey.
I then posted the link to the class Facebook group along with my video so i am able to get some feed back from my piers. i will use the feedback from the survey answers to help aid me in giving a good review of my animation.
I also posted my animation video to my Facebook page and a gaming group Facebook page i am part of called UR8BIT. So far i have some really positive feedback from this and as a result some people have subscribed to my youtube channel. i will incorporate this information into my review as well.
MY EVALUATION by Ashley Hoyland
For my evaluation i will analyze the responses to my questions to come to a conclusion overall. 10 people responded to my survey
The first question was to find out the gender of the viewer
there were 7 male and 3 female viewers which shows that the animation was more effective towards male viewers.
The second question was to find the age of the viewer.
50% of the responses were from people aged 17 or younger (5 viewers). 18-24 covered 40% of the viewers (4 viewers )and 25-34 covered 10% (1 viewer). My animation was aimed at 10-25 year olds so i expected results alike the ones i got.
The third question was to find out if the viewer had found the animation entertaining. 8/10 viewers said that they found the animation entertaining while 2/10 viewers were unsure of it. I think this is due to the fact that the animation may of been referencing something that they did not know or understand. if i was to do the animation again i might change the references slightly to help make the animation more entertaining for those who do not understand the initial reference.
The fourth question i asked was to find out if people understood the whole storyline behind the animation.
MY EVALUATION by Laura Jones
when I created my animation I had an idea of how I wanted my animation to look and had a vague idea of how long it would roughly take to film and edit I had no idea that the whole animation process is a very time consuming one and found myself having to put in a lot of time outside of the classroom to get 1, the animation idea I had in my head on paper, then film and 2, to get it to look and sound like I wanted to because I essentially wanted it to look amazing but I knew that it wouldn’t because this was my first attempt at creating a stop motion animation. Before I started this unit I had a vague idea of what was involved in the process because almost everybody has seen a film, advert and cartoon with some form of 3d stop motion involved for example take Tony Harts Morph almost everyone I know has heard of Morph or some of Aardmans studios other creations like Wallace and Gromit and even more recently Shawn the Sheep but I had never created one myself so I saw this unit as great way to learn about one of the most influential animation techniques of all time, you could even say that 3d stop motion animation is the one animation technique that is the foundation for all modern animation techniques.
Looking back at the whole process from filming my animation, editing my animation, and even gaining audience perspectives through active participation through class discussions on our animations, survey feedback and audience comments through Facebook and you tube. I had a hard time using the format I had chosen to work with for my animation I had no idea how difficult it was to work with Lego and certainly had no idea that I would actually have to build the vehicle I was going to use I honestly thought it came ready built out of the box which in retrospect was a little bit naive of myself to think that and I definitely didn’t expect to be spending Saturday afternoon putting together Lego toys for a good 6 plus hours. I also didn’t realize how expensive toys are to buy now I found myself looking around for 2 days to find the cheapest price outlet that sold the Lego items I was after.
I then later on discovered that all the main Lego characters all had different weights to them which made it difficult to maneuvre them around the scene and getting them to stand up on their own was a nightmare as a result of this the movement on the final film was somewhat jerky I think if I had possibly taken a closer look at how Lego could have moved I may have been able to find an alternative way to move them but initially they would stand on there own. When i did import the shots in sequence to edit them i noticed quite a few shots out of focus and adding all the different sound effects, music and dialogue was particularly difficult as some sounds were louder than others and having to balance those elements together was quite hard to do and even now when i look back at my animation i can see some sounds over power some others if i were to go back and re edit i would spend a bit more time balancing the music out so it was not overpowering the sound effects and some of the dialogue and balance the sound effects out so they were not doing the same to the dialogue.
Before i created my on survey the website survey monkey to gain some feedback from my piers i had already posted my animation on to Facebook and to one of the gaming groups on there that i,m apart of. The overall feedback i obtained from my page were 4 people gave me the thumbs up and liked my animation as you can see from the screenshot below there are 4 likes from them viewing my animation.
The picture shows the post i made on Facebook and the results of that single post with 4 people initially liking the post. It also show two of my friends that i had tagged in the post to get because they had been wanting to view from the first day that i had mentioned it to them about the creation of my animation.
Below is the post that i posted to the Ur8bit group on Facebook as where you can see i obtained 2 likes and 10 people have viewed my animation. i would say again that this is useful exposure for my animation and 2 people have left feedback expressing there opinion on my animation. Overall good responses but they confirm what i was initially thinking about the sound volumes and that there a little loud at a certain points throughout the animation.
The picture show the post i made on Facebook to the ur8bit grp and the responses following that post. underneath the video you can see the amounts of likes it received on the bottom left of the video and on the bottom right it displays the views. Underneath that you can see the comments people have left.
Through me sharing my animation on Facebook i have gained two subscribers and so far my animation has been viewed 46 times as you can see from the picture below.
My survey results came back and they were collated from the 10 questions that were asked here are those results rounded up. Each of the pictures have a bar that represents the percentage of yes no answers with yellow for yes and blue for no with those percentages represented as numerical values underneath in the bar.
100 % of people that answered enjoyed my animation.
72% of people that filled in the survey found the animation amusing. 28% did not find it amusing
86% thought the music fitted the style of animation. 14% did not.
86% thought the dialogue fit the animation. 14% did not.
100% of people thought the sound effects fit the animation.
100% thought the animation was age appropriate.
when asked what age group they thought the animation was aimed for there were some interesting answers 4 people commented that they thought it was for over 16 years while one of those thought it was limited to 18 to 24 year olds. one person commented 12 years and older, while someone suggested it was aimed at over 18,s and 2 people people who are fans of the halo series and people who are fans of action.
when i asked what could be done to improve my animation there were mixed comments ranging from camera being more steady to the ending scenes being a little messy and some said that the frames went by too fast in my defense i left some of the unfocused scenes in to create a more life like portrayal of battle scenes and the shaky camera scenes add to the effect of movement i don’t believe i could slow my frames down any more as it would have caused way too much jerkiness in the final animation. In answer to the comments about the volume of the soundtrack i do agree that the music is a little loud and it was one of the faults that i picked up my self. this issue was also brought up in a class discussion about our animations and people were pretty much on the same track with the camera being a little shaky.
If i were to make a list of things to fix the first would be the amount of shots used to create my animation i would go back and spend more time adding extra camera shots and i would film at least two more scenes to slot in between my main animation that might level out the jerkiness of the camera a little bit but i wouldn’t want to make it to smooth as i would still want to retain the effect of an actual battle scene.
The second thing i would fix would be to add more movement shots to what i have already filmed.
The third would be to really spend time perfecting the balance of sound within my animation.