Monthly Archives: August 2009

Stop Motion Puppet Replacement Mouths

Ever wonder how they made those clay puppets talk in Coraline, the hit stop motion movie? The effect is achieved by using “replacement mouths”. That is to say that each syllable or mouth gesture uses a different mouth. So for example an “oo” sound will have a specific mouth made for it and swapped in to the characters’ lower half of their face when needed. Coraline as you can imagine had a whole set of mouths for each character. Below is a snapshot taken from the backstage shorts of the movie. It’s interesting to note in this case the nose and the lower part of the characters eyes are included in the mouthpiece. Normally it does not include the nose or eyes..just the mouth.  Amateur versions can be found on the internet , youtube, animation sites etc. A very effective and basic one shown below from sk8inLeo. sk8inleo’s approach is well within any budget and experience. It is something worth trying out if you have not done so already. The Coraline (professional) method uses the full jaw at least when replacing mouths but the alternative is to just stick the replacement mouths onto the surface of the face is done by AndreasFrancis with his below video. One of my favourite very simple stick on mouth replacement stop motion shorts comes from sebyoung. So simple but very well done

Stop Motion Blog Design Change

Not much today guys..just decided to change my blog design /theme from the default to Tropicala by Goro. His theme is clean, stylish and looks good. I hope you like the new look and come back to check out my post tomorrow.
By |August 28th, 2009|Announcements|0 Comments

Stop Motion – Eerie and Creepy

Uncle Creepy returns in stop motion! In 1966 Warren publishing introduced a group of three horror comics (in magazine format to avoid censorship) called, Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella. The comics were in black and white with the exception of the front covers designed by renowned graphic designer such as Williamson, Crandall, Evans, Angelo Torres, Gray Morrow, Joe Orlando, John Severin and Frazetta. The series ran for nearly 18 years. In 2007 Craig Haffner founded “New Comic Company LLC”  and purchased the rights to the Creepy and Eerie magazines. Craig who is a fan of Ray Harryhausen approached the Chiodo brothers to produce a stop motion video for the launch of his new Creepy Comic first edition at Comic Con in July 2009. Chiodo brothers are best known for the puppet producers on hit movie Team America and the stop motion producers in Will Ferrell’s Elf. Below is the result of that work.. Executive producer and written by Craig Haffner and Dan Braun, Stop motion animation by Chiodo Bros. Production Inc., Stephen, Edward and Charles Chiodo. Stephen directed the short stop motion “ad” and used green screen or chroma keying for some of the backdrops. Below you can see the main set with green screen in the background. The shape and layout of the set make it easier for the animators to move around the character. John Deall created an intricate armature for the face […]

LEGO Mutilation – Bizarre or Creative ?

Is this really what you need to do to make stop motion more interesting. Lego minifig customizing is a big thing these days.. You decide..
By |August 26th, 2009|Bizarre|0 Comments

Breaking News – 1,500 hours playing with LEGO®

The music is written by Daniel Larsson and the animation was done by Tomas Redigh of the Swedish techno group Rymdreglage, the below stop motion video took over 1,500 hours to complete. It is awe inspiring. When it was picked up online it went viral those shutting their website down because of heavy traffic. It just goes to show originality, creativity and sheer hard work pay off (most of the time). The video reflects on the era of 8 bit computing and the games of that age. They are showing their age (and mine) if they can remember playing those ! While not a techo fan I appreciate the music. They have 44 other songs on their channel which they are encouraging people to listen to. I wonder will it be a case that Rymdreglage end up being called the 8 Bit lego guys and renowned only for that work going forward rather than for their music.
By |August 25th, 2009|Bizarre|0 Comments

Stop Motion – Chromo Key / Green Screen on the cheap !

Lighting lighting ..it’s all about the lighting. Get the lighting wrong and your chromakey looks bad. I have been trying to help a friend to improve his YouTube submissions by suggesting he use greenscreen. For those of you who are not familiar with “Chromakeying” or “greenscreen” (sometimes called bluescreen), it is the method by which you can replace the background in a video with anything from a skyscape to a weather forecast. Think of the weatherman standing in front of a map of the US warning of impending storms in Florida. What is behind him is a green screen made of green material or a wall painted green ( or blue in some cases). Also superman flying ..thanks to chromakey (sorry if I keep interchanging the words..but they are the same thing). The reason by the way that they use either green or blue is because it is the furthest away from our skin tone. Also you have to be careful not to wear either color when doing this type of video work. I am more used to lighting small sets for lego minifigs or clay puppets for stop motion than for full size human beings!. As a result I realized that you need alot more light for larger sets that you would for stop motion movies. It took many attempts before we got the lighting right ..including having to borrow another 1000 watt lamp from my brother in law. Now for the “cheap” part. We used Wax 2.0 which is free. But I have to say its chromakeying is primitive. It does not allow anything other than color picker and tolerance. The color picker is an obvious must. The tolerance on Wax is too […]

Zombie Zombie – Mini Epic Stop Motion with GI Joe

Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann created and directed a mini epic stop motion movie for techno duo  Etienne Jaumet and Cosmic Neman and their song Zombie Zombie back in April 2008. It is a unique piece of stop motion with GI Joe characters ( a favourite toy of the Directors ). While I realise this may not be breaking news for those who have already seen it, I am mentioning it because it I believe has not got enough recognition…(263K views on Youtube). I have seen absolute crap get ten times as many views. So give it a viewing here.   According to the directors the mini movie pays homage to John Carpenters movie “The Thing”. Is homage another word for “knock off” , not sure. The stop motion is excellent. The sets are really well done. I like it when action man, GI Joes figures are used in stop motion. It evokes memories 😉 As for the music of the french techno duo..I had to mute the sounds after a minute..it was getting in to my head..too repetitive.  
By |August 23rd, 2009|My Favourites|0 Comments

Resident Evil Degeneration CG – At least Pro Stop motion can lip sync!

I just finished watching Resident Evil Degeneration on DVD, the first full-length Resident Evil film in CG. I hadn’t watched a CGI file of this type in some time so I was interested to see if thing had improved in terms of the quality of animation. I have to say I was disappointed. The good.. The non human / inanimate CG aspects were top notch. For example the vehicles, guns, helicopters, buildings, scenery were all excellent. Also the character movement such as walking, running was in general very good. The bad.. The faces are just not there yet. The idea behind this style of CG is to make thinks as realistic as possible. But when it comes to the facial expressions and the mouth especially, CG is just not there yet. The last full CG movie I willingly watched was far better when it came to facial expression. The mouths always looks too stiff when they spoke. It was very “off-putting”. Also the hair was overdone in this movie. It was always perfect and shiny…way over the top. It was also amusing at times ..the two main female characters boobies increased in size from one scene to the next. “I know” I noticed..lol. Another strange then I noticed was the elbows on the hero “Leon” where too thick..bizarre. Ok..now I am moaning a bit. It was relatively good overall. But I thought to myself that they could have done a better job on the mouth and lip sync. If Nick Parks can do it with a lump of clay ..then a dozen or so programmers should have been able to also. So I think it made me appreciate quality […]
By |August 22nd, 2009|Other Animation|0 Comments

Stop Motion Webcam Lighting Tips

So many stop motion brickfilms and claymations are disappointing to both the viewer and the new animator because of basic mistakes with lighting when using a webcam. We have all seen those claymations and brickfilms that are creatively very  good but fall down on their lighting or settings on the webcam being used and thus result in poor image clarity and color. You can get good results these days with a budget webcam such as the Microsoft VX-1000 ($20). You do not need a Canon EOS/D DSLR 40 / 50 D etc etc to get good quality shots. The mistakes are made firstly by in some cases not even installing the webcam drivers but secondly by not using them when they are installed. Take for example the snapshot below of my brickfilm minifig. This is what the picture looks like when you do not adjust any of the settings on the webcam. Now take a look at the image after a few clicks on settings dialogue of the webcam. The difference is dramatic. So by spending 15 seconds clicking on a few buttons on the webcam dialogue you have moved from a “crappy” image to a near professional image for your stop motion movie. And as you know 15 seconds is a very short time when it comes to stop motion. How can I do that for my stop motion? This is how to do it…at least with the Logitech range of webcams. Open up your webcam application (assuming you have installed it…if not install it!! […]

Stop Motion – Anime !

To be honest I can’t really stomach much of the Japanese Anime that is out there. The underlying current of sexuality and violence in the guise of very young nymphs unsettles me! Or is it just me? However I can make an exception when it uses stop motion. It’s rare enough to find Anime characters used in stop motion online. It’s even more rare to find good stop motion done with Anime characters. But the above stop motion uses excellent sounds ,expressive movement and very low budget special effects superbly. I came across some very good stop motion from a guy in Japan called Plamoo. He has a Youtube channel that is worth checking also. Now since I do not speak Japanese I cannot tell you much about him (or her?) But what I can say is that the stop motion is top class. Anime Dolls
By |August 20th, 2009|Bizarre|0 Comments