Sunday, October 4, 2009

Out of the Ebay hole.

First to Justin: The test I had planned (after doing a few movement tests) was for Leia to jump off of a high ledge in the distance, whip down to the floor as she lands hard - right in front of the camera, pulls her electrostaff from the distance using the force, figure 8s with the staff walking towards the cam and ends with a revolution above and behind with the staff into a pose.

Then stuff happened haha.

Over the past few days I've been playing around with Leia's movements and ultimately have decided that it just won't work to my needs. I did manage to get better movement from me as an animator though which I'm really thrilled about, but the doll's limitations are pretty clear to me now and I'm not trying to give myself anymore excuses to pursue it further. So, I'm going to keep it around for replacement parts and I'm sure the clothing and accessories will come in handy down the line.

Quick update on the green screen. It's actually pretty good now, I got the lights diffused (high five Yaz!) and the screen lights up evenly, the harsh shadows are gone, and everything is looking pretty dandy. Sample shot:

Since I could no longer use Leia, the first replacement idea was Spiderman (comic version). He's well known and the acrobatics required in his animation would be extremely fun and challenging to do. Here was the version I was looking at:

So clean! The comic version takes after the design shown in the game so it would work well with the Chun Li doll. It comes with all the replacement hands that one would need to animate with as well which was very nice to hear. Comes with web accessories shown and a replacement head (Peter Parker human head).

Now the problems. This was produced about 5 years ago and only 1000 were made. It's now pretty rare and some stores are now pricing it almost double what it was worth when it came out naturally. Add shipping and it would easily go over 200 dollars... for a Toy -.- On top of that there are many many many complaints with THIS PARTICULAR toy because the body inside (or plastic armature) is made of this red plastic that I guess is very prone to breaking. So 4-5 years time sitting in a box + easily breakable plastic armature is not a very good sign. Many have had their toy come into their hands broken before they even got to take it out of the case it comes in. Never-the-less, I loved the look of it so much and had planned out shots already that I went after one on ebay. The only one I could find was a used (displayed) one that would come with no box / no shell and it sold for 110 (thats with shipping) and I just wasn't willing to do that. So, more disappointment.

I made a list of potential characters and I gotta say... when I saw this one my knees went a little weak:
... then it sold for 300 haha. The people who work on toys are true artists I have to say. So good at what they do, really. But I finally decided on one that came at a great price (it was discounted AND on sale AT the SAME TIME!) I recently came into a bit of money so I went for it.

That's Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell. She won't be as well known to the audience but I think the anime look will meld well with Chun Li's design. I've done some research on the toy itself and she definitely has a good range of motion.

It's sad but just the fact that she can kneel down makes me happy! Leia could only bend half way over before the whole body came with it... very very frustrating. She can do high kicks and comes with assorted weapons / hands. The one problem I have is the package doesn't come with actual closed fists. There's one hand that resembles a fist close enough so I think I can make do. In the mean time I'm waiting for these flexible stands I'll be using as mini rigs to animate with to come in the mail (2-3 days) and then I'll start testing the toys. I'm glad the whole toy-hunt is over. It was kind of eating at me staring at ebay auctions all day. Time to watch some Ghost in the Shell clips / movies to study her movement, quirks, and "special techniques". 'Till next time!


  1. Ok, I am going to ask you the "question of the year" Sorry I think I am not a good reader and could not get this: Why do you use ready-made toys? You have been making some great puppets. I can see that you are trying to experiment animation but why dont you just go with your own puppets?

    You are after such hard movements. I hope I will start experimenting with animation soon. It sounds a lot of fun and at the same time looks very hard. Good luck!

  2. That's a great point. For me it was a couple of things.

    Originally I was going to do a Moe vs. Moe segment but the mold cracked and I couldn't reproduce more / better Moes. Sculpting... actually the whole puppet making process is pretty time consuming and after going through it three times I needed a break from it.

    With the heartbreak of the cracked mold, I saw the doll and immediately had scenes in my head I wanted to recreate and the look of the dolls is something I can't reproduce myself, I'm just not good enough to even try that :P

    And also I wanted to try and recreate and composite effects into this short as a form of After Effects practice... but the more I'm inspired by Ron the more I wanna try in-camera effects :)

    I do feel like I'm cheating a little bit but it's something I just wanted to try. Very intrigued by Patrick Boivin's stuff and wanted to put myself in his shoes and see how well I would do.

    As far as your animation goes Yaz, you've already started off darn well with the bird flight test. Post your animations soon! :) Good luck!

  3. Tony, yes I understand. It might be a good idea to skip into animation processs when you are tired of making puppets. Great to see that you say "I needed a break from it" So, you will get back to that process in the future... Please, do never give up! Ofcourse, you are totally free to choose animating with ready-made toys. But, I think you should do it just because you "prefer" to do other than leaving something behind incomplete!

    I really really like how you keep working continuously on stopmotion. You post very often and it is great to see someone very excited about the whole process. Thats why I wanted to ask you about you not using the puppets you made.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.