I've got my little set up running now and it's taking a long time to get used to everything. I was hoping to use Dragon Stop Motion on this little 30 second dance animation but the trial wasn't working after I installed it. Dyami from the Dragon Stop Motion team is trying to figure out a fix as we speak. In the meantime I'm using AnimatorDV simple+ for video assist and Nikon Capture NX2 to capture the high res stills. This morning I watched Nick's "The Seventh Skol" short animation again:
Truly great and you can see why so many people have such high regards for Nick Hilligoss' work. It's just masterful stuff! It's videos like this that really pump you up and drive you to keep pushing forward.
So I thought I'd get my feet wet. I got through a very very small test animation:
Does this video look blurry or is it just me?
I'm still having problems with not shooting enough inbetweens. This animation would look better at 15 FPS, which means I have a lot of smoothing to work on. Another problem is that I can't export into true HD (1920 x 1080). Everytime I try to After Effects crashes. Maybe my desktop just can't handle it :) I'll try it all out on my laptop (which is twice the machine my desktop is) once I get a hold of the discs from my brother.
Till then I have a lot to think about in terms of what my animation is missing. Need more subtle, realistic movements and twice the amount of inbetweens. Better to shoot more and edit out later than to come up short and left caught with my tail between my legs.
I have a few kinks to workout with my setup - getting a better picture out of the video assist, learning more about lighting (so far it's just the Par 46 Can... which is awesome by the way), rigging the puppet better, etc. I'm really looking forward to using Dragon Stop Motion if /when I can and hope to figure out the problem with exporting to true HD - not to mention a loss of picture quality (though for these tests I do shoot with JPEGs). However, first things first - I really need to work on animating :/