Friday, September 4, 2009

The Next Step

The film I plan on creating has some fast paced action sequences in it (at least as far as I've intended), but I've never done any type of such animation. SO! I'm going to try and do a Patrick Boivin style fight scene. Anyone who's doing stop motion has probably seen his Iron Man vs. Bruce Lee video:

From what I can tell, I'm almost positive he uses a complete green screen for each puppet, inter-mingling some shots that include both puppets, a panoramic background, and a virtual camera. Add in some cool effects, great sound, and an awesome soundtrack and you got yourself a hit youtube video clip. There are a few things I'll need to put together to achieve this. I believe he uses a lot of braces, as if it were rod puppetry, and masks it out later. I've been doing a little of that with Moe but my helping hands can't take too much weight. So I may need a giant support beam of some sort to hang the helping hands from, which hopefully won't cause lighting problems. But first things first, I have to make 2nd Moe, this time with actual bone structure.

Here's the list of the challenges I hope to complete while doing this clip.

1. Try out the dolly.
2. A rack focus of some sort.
3. Slow motion effect (toughy, but try it out none-the-less)
4. Over a minute of animation.
5. Motion blur.

6. Frontlight / Backlight!

Alright! Here goes!


  1. Tony, do you have Susannah Shaw's book; "Stop Motion" She mentions about the 2 companies very good at making rigging systems for film industry. One is Climpex ( ) and the other is Berkey System ( ) If you think about making a new rig system, there are pictures in these websites giving great ideas.

    Good luck with your fight scene!

  2. Oh man.... don't shell out for Climpex!!!! I found a cheap alternative:

    But you can rig up anything.... just some wooden rods held together with 1/4" armature wire, or just good thick armature wire itself stuck in a big lump of epoxy putty or a block of wood. The simpler the better.

  3. Hey guys thanks for the info and I think I might have to order some of those surface gauges. Totally forgot about that article you wrote Mike :) After thinking about what kind of scale I need these rods to be I think I can do with the small ones I have. I'd like to get those gauges none-the-less though :) But in the mean-time I'm going to test front light / backlight with the helper hands I have, I just have to weigh them down a little bit more and find a steady system to switch lights / backgrounds with!

  4. You might be able to modify the helping hands into an articulated arm....

  5. Yep! The problem I had before was when doing anything that wasn't a close-up, the entire rig had to be inside the shot which could refract a bit of light or cause some cleaning problems in post. I tried making the arm long but then weight would be an issue. Now the puppet animation is all I need to worry about as I'll composite the background in after :)

  6. An interesting link:

    Plus, here's a method for digitally erasing articulated arms (or just wire braces, or whatever your heart desires). This is if you don't want to go the full compositing route:

    The videos won't play, but they're completely unnecessary. Wait... I think they're still posted on my site...

    I don't seem to have the original, unerased version anymore. But here it is converted into silent movie style:

  7. Wow Mike, stopmoshorts from Thats great. I heard many times people writing about stopmoshorts website on the board. Its great to know that I can view the site through web archive. I should have thought about this before...

    Tony, great posts about rigging here. I can not find helping hands here in this town so I will be making making one on my own. Thats why I posted URLs of those two websites just to get some ideas for different kinds of rigging.

  8. Wow great info! I came back to check while I wait for my foam to cure a little bit before cooking :) I'll be back to go through it thoroughly though, and really Yaz? That's a shame hehe. The amazing thing about the helping hands is that you can by 3-4 and make all different types of armatures too (costs me about 25 bucks in total). But I've even turned my brass armature into a "helping hand" once in awhile :)

  9. Yeah Tony, unfortunately... no helping hands here. We used to live in Istanbul, the biggest city of Turkey and moved here 4 years ago. So, such a small and beautiful town by the sea after that big crawded metropol. Everythings fine here, nice people, many artists around, etc... But, if you are trying to do something different like stopmotion, no way to find many of the things I need. My sister brought me some pre-drilled balls from USA (ebay) this summer. So, I will make my own rigs later after set and puppets are done. Something like making an armature I think.