Mar 25, 2012

Junior Project: update 2

on my last project update, i ended with this foam mock-up tree.
 which i painted black and also made little pantyhose balls stuffed with polyester stuffing
 glued textured white fabric in strips to the tree (the black underneath was to help emphasize the white fabric texture), and sewed the pantyhose balls to the ends of the branches. i glued squares of shiny/sheer blue fabric to needle pins and tried sticking them into the pantyhose balls, but the result was clumsy and comical. not enough material to support the needle pins, and it just looks bad.

exhibit A:
 so i ripped off the pantyhose balls and roughly stuck foam shapes on the branches instead. needle pins stick really well into foam because it's much more dense than.......polyester filling. lesson learned.
 glued ripped pieces of thick artsy paper on needle pins, and tried them out as leaves. looks just okay. but still too comical, especially in comparison to......
 LE PUPPET (shown here getting his stocking skin on. if you buy children's size stockings, it's cheaper)
 painted his hands and arms
 for his "cape" i glued the tree fabric onto some black wrap and then cut then into triangles. glue gunned everything. even on the little guy.
 TADA! one puppet, complete. the black wrap gives stability and body to the fabric, but i can also animate it! not too much control, but enough to have it show movement in my animation later on. you can also see his hair and face coloring. red eyes!

 so back to le tree problem. i made a new sketch of the final tree, ditched the old version completely, got some advice from my teacher, and started full scale version a couple days ago. 
balsa wood base, 4-strand aluminum wires.
 but big problem! spine was not strong enough to hold the weight of the crown, no matter how much i tried to reinforce it. you can see the frankenstein-esque attempt i did. 3 layers of copper wire wrapped on the aluminum, then 2 layers of aluminum on top of that. not good enough.
 so after about 8 hours of work into this, i decided to scrap it and start again because the disaster worsened. i just cut the crown off, because that part was just fine, and used the wires from the base to keep building up the crown.
 and here it is! i just wrapped the ends of the wires onto the longer ones and kept them together with propoxy20.

i'm going to make the base much taller and a little wider, and my friend made the great suggestion of using 3 wire columns in the spine instead of just one for more support. i think i'm going to have to twist 5 single strands into one thick wire, instead of 4, which is what i was using.

the ends of the roots will have tie downs! it's a tree that will move.

now that i'm feeling more confident about my tree, i will make a more complete sketch and upload the scan sometime this week. 

i'm hoping to be able to complete this puppet during spring break (oh sad) which started on saturday. the plan is to start lighting/animation/green screen tests immediately after.

Mar 24, 2012

tha's better


whew. the previous doodle was gonna haunt me all day if i didn't improve it, haha. may i never ink my doodles with a tablet again. have a good day!

little doodle

this is based on my african arts and cultures professor. she had a curious combination of colors on that day. i like the original sketch better, because i just quickly colored everything in photoshop. i think i will ink by hand in my sketchbook later, haha. she's so cute.

Mar 19, 2012


i have been working on animating a drunkard monster. right now he is "undressed," no fur or anything, because i am trying very hard to get the basic movements down.
it's gone through a few revisions, and a few more are in order.
my friends suggested a little more bounce when he takes a swig, and another pointed out i need to be careful of form consistency at the end (he seems to be bigger than he is at the beginning).
but i like this character very much, and i'm going to stick it out. (his sketch is actually one of the doodles i posted)
my plan is to animate him slumping over and throwing the bottle off screen, then the bottle will come flying back to hit him on the head.

if you have any feedback, please comment! tomorrow i have to fix him up some more in hopes of showing this work in progress with my reel at my department's portfolio review day.

i actually do like handdrawn and stopmotion just the same, it's just that handdrawn requires more............mental tenacity hahaha. for me it is constant revision, and remembering to be a drama queen, which is hard, as i am a quiet person (usually). i find the stopmotion process easier to embrace and feel motivated, maybe it's a more natural process for me. though it's true, there's nothing quite like the end satisfaction of good 2D acting.

not sure if i'll have time before it's due for class, but i want to color him by hand with blue pastel. you'd be able to see the path of his motion through color! something about coloring via computers renders the animation just a little more sterile.

Mar 17, 2012

doodle post

pieces from my sketchbook. i'm trying to find a way to draw people that makes me excited to draw them HAHA. still struggling, but less apprehensive than before. i need to haul myself to open model sessions on saturdays. need moar practice. i suppose i'll always need to, until i can't hold a pencil anymore.

the monster holding a bottle below is middle-aged, and is an alcoholic. i'm doing my next character animation homework with him. the topic is weight, i think. i quite like him. he's easy to draw, too. just 2 circles, little feet and squishy arms.

i have always been self conscious about personal artistic style, because i never really had one. but i've been more actively noticing my tendencies, and i've been trying to take advantage of what i gravitate to. and i think it's important to keep the integrity of your intentions, but also not be afraid to learn and borrow from the "masters."

that is what all master artists do, anyway. learn from the best.

i wonder why i prefer drawing fuzzies and monsters than people. maybe because i feel as though monsters cannot be "wrong."

basically we should not forget that we do art because we just enjoy it. no stress. 

Mar 15, 2012

some homework

This links to my vimeo page. I uploaded one of my first character animation homeworks, walk cycle+background pan. A lot of room for improvement, and it was exhausting trying to squeeze time in to do this with junior project looming above me all the time, but it was fun :)  I hope I get better with more practice!

Mar 13, 2012

Spring Semester Junior Project

An update at last! Spring semester at RISD started only 3 weeks ago, but in that time I've had to come up with an animation project to work on for the remainder of the semester. I had a hard time deciding whether I wanted to do a 2D animation or stopmotion animation, but in the end, I must have wanted to do stopmotion the most. Luckily I'm taking character animation class too....get my handdrawn inclinations taken care of.
Here are some process work photos, sketches, etc.
he (unnamed for now) went through several revisions, but i was happiest with this design
copperwire hands covered with sports tape, later shown after being dipped in latex a couple times. the armature is made from twisted aluminum wire, brass tubing cut down to size, and propoxy20. and hexnuts in the feet, for tie downs.
separate super sculpey head, sculpted/baked around aluminum foil

foam surgery time.

I used spray paint for the first time (on puppet head). That was exciting.
rough pastel concept sketch for the forest. white bark, blue foliage.

tree armature!

 this little tree is just a prototype, since i've never built this sort of thing before. It has one tiedown nut held together with propoxy20 at the base of the trunk. For the full scale tree-puppet I'll probably use 2-3 tie downs on the ends of the roots so I can have it lift up and move on its own, if I want.

I used wire and foam instead of a hard material because it's going to interact (not sure if it'll be one tree or the whole forest) with the other character.

 I'll post a picture of the finished model soon! Will be covering it with fabric, stuffing, and needlepins.
I'm honing down the "story" idea as I work on the construction. I think it will not be like a traditional narrative (what I usually default to), but the basic idea is to explore the relationship between my two characters.

My characters are a forest spirit whose job/function it is to repair cut/bleeding trees, and the forest itself.