Monday, September 21, 2009

The Big Two Four

So I'm 24 now. Looking back I've really only recently done anything worthwhile :) I still feel like a little kid though. Nothing wrong with being a teensy bit emotionally stunted right? Hoho... but I believe the next few years are gonna be real big for me - I just gotta make it happen that way. Which brings us to the animation front:

The past few days I've been setting up the stage for a Leia test and every step of the way an obstacle presents itself. With the green screen in place and figuring out just how much room the toy will give me animation wise, I set out to start the test. I wanted to check just how well the green screen worked first. So here is an example still. (You can click it for more detail but its quite big so be warned!)

With just a bit of movie magic we get this:

So the key is pretty clean. This was just 2-3 buttons worth. There are some color corrections that could be done but for the most part it works and it works pretty well. However, in just 4 frames I've hit a wall. Loose joints, no tie downs, and might as well be liquored up to hell with how much it doesn't balance. The solution now is to prop it up with a full-time arm as seen in the snapshot with the green screen. The arm now needs to be heavier so it won't tilt over, which I have to put together later as well.

Now even after putting all of that behind me, the hardest part is going to be the animating itself. The joints do give you a lot of freedom to pose, but to animate is a different story. Certain joints have to be twisted and pulled during which another joint could be moved. At this point one longs for the rigidness of wire / b&s armatures. I'm not going to give up on this anytime soon but I know it'll be tough to animate this particular toy. I don't think Chun Li will be as much of a problem. The combination of Leia's clothes and joints pose most of the problems.

The last issue (for now) is the act of animating on the green screen. I've always liked not having to deal with depth / scale in relation to the camera. So I animate over the actual space. When the puppet takes 3 steps it will actually move 3 steps and not "air walk". Here's Justin's Dober doing an air walk:

Maybe in this case animating over the same area might prove easier to do. After the heat dies and I weigh down my arm I'm going to give it another go.


  1. Tony, is today your birthday???

    *********HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! ********

    I like the result of your green screen test. I was not successful at my first attempt. I will try again and if it does not work either, I will try frontlight/backlight technique instead.

  2. First, Happy Birthday!!!!!!

    Secondly, yeah, try feeling the way you do at 47! I find it best just to do what seems right and give up entirely on what *should* be.

    Thirdly, yeah, stop motion armatures are very different than dolls. I tried too at first. It can be done if you are willing to trash the doll and/or fashion a rigging somehow to either replace or enhance its armature with a more animatable one.

    Fourthly, yeah, It's not really fair how excellent Justin is at animating. Even though Dober is air-walking there it's easy to feel he is striking the ground with each footfall. Inspiring and Bumming!

    We can't let it stop us though! We have dreams and vision! And green screens!

  3. Air walk!! ha!

    I do the in place walks when designing the style of movement....once I find a walk I like I will transfer those poses to walks through space.

    your on your way though.


  4. thats very inspiring sum how lik i liked how it was all put to gether very good