Previous / Archived News
* Stop Motion Mainstream International
Ego-centric USA, we would maybe like to
think that the world revolves
around us? Wake-up from your delusions!
There is a whole other vastness
of audience & different
cultures out there. Just got the word of preview
teaser clip for MAX & CO. SMW mentioned this Stop Mo project back in
'06, and finally, we get to see a
teaser. A few Euro-studios involved with the production and the final
product is in the language of France; an
all Stop Motion feature movie. The production
values look very good. It IS Stop
Motion, however there appears to be some post production
tweaking, where the puppets/scenes almost appear to have
an air brushed CGI look? In general, there are
usually various signature traits about CGI that
gives it away. In this case, Max
& Co. definitely rooted in Stop Motion.
It is better if you had fast
internet to see the teaser. It will ask you
to get latest Flash download; I clicked no, &
the preview still played.Or go here for small version EDIT: 10.28.07
Stop Motion Works Resource Links .... This is a
resource. Their exact description, ".....
a free online sound library & community for sound designers and producers.
People can upload sounds and share them with the
world". What an amazing free
resource tool, go to SOUND SNAP. I know that many of you just silently Lurk
and Info Sponge™, and I will continually hound
you, until you see the error of your habit-ways
. Get out of your closets; DO
something. Encourage the creators of this free resource/service with
feedback, props, praise, thumbs-up,
I found a few more Animation Timer mini
programs. One is called, Itty Bitty Animation Timer. They have a two
downloadable versions. One is Flash that
works through your browser, if you have
Flash installed (most browsers do). The other version is
a standalone of the program that does not
depend on Flash. You need to open their Readme txt
and follow instructions & play with it until you get
it. With Itty Bitty it works kind of strange. It
never zeros out. Just press mouse button & it will
restart the timer. You can change the FPS value to 24fps
or 30fps. It does not state if this is for PC only. Maybe
the Itty Bitty Flash version will work with Macs?
Give it a try and let me know.
This other Timer from Paul Van Gaans, looks more slicker
than the others (including ToonTimer) and it is for PC only. I have not tried it. Also, DO NOT forget, which you
probably have, my amnesia proned audience, you should
ocassionally revisit Stop Motion
Works Software page. Some Lip Syncing tools there too. The most basic tool for
analyzing soundtrack sound or dialog is the free WavTracker
(for PCs). Just set your FPS, play the sound,
read the sound waves and you then manually write-jot the
sound breakdown on your own Log Sheet (simple &
basic). There are some other programs there too,
including one called Papagayo and they
have 3 different downloadable versions, one for PCs,
one for Macs and one for Linux. Very nice
of them to offer for the Mac deprived.
For Mac users, just to let you see what the ToonTimer interface looks like (posted in earlier news)
Although these might be useful as added tools for
animation planning, they should not replace
the good ol' Stop-Watch as the foundational
tool. IMO, you should sometimes pull back
from COMPUTER a little bit, and use some ol'
traditional methods to keep your brain cells
exercised & active. EDIT: 10.28.07
Log Timing Sheet .... They were orginally designed for 2D, Drawn, Cel animation, and usually having too
many columns and unecessary info (cel
levels, camera, other stuff) that is
not needed for Stop Motion.
What we need, are wide
columns & pretty basic, so
you can write your dialog
breakdown, draw little stick figures,
keyframe thumbnails, action lines, or
whatever your own shorthand codes.
Here is a simple PDF format Stop Mo Log Sheet I created which is a variation of
what I used in past but slightly changed to an almost
similar design layout of this other animation log sheet
version I found online. Using the Excel
spreadsheet, he made up his own
Stop Mo exposure sheets, He includes every frame
number already in the Excel template. With his
version, you have to always print out each
different page with the different frame
numbers. Mine, you manually write-in the frame
numbers as needed. When you print the
log I made, it will serve as your single
original-master. It might print out smaller,
however, when you make copies of the
original (e.g., Kinkos), set the zoom
on copier machine to enlarge about 110%
so it better fills out the 8-1/2" x 11"
page (do test copies). The shaded areas marks 30
frames (video rate) for 1 second. This
frame division lays out evenly: 60 frames per column x 3
columns (180 frames) = 6 seconds on the one
page. For different frame rate breakdown (like 24-fps,
25-fps, etc.), I also have another PDF animation log which is not shaded for more generic use,
and you can mark your own 1 second intervals. Tip:
I always use pencils (and
erasers!), because I scribble notes or make minor changes
(if needed) during Stop Motioning. FYI, dropping
another random link, Animation Notes.
P.S. There can be variations for Stop Mo
use. Another, is having maybe 2 main
columns (4 secs per page @ 30-fps). This gives you even wider
columns to scribble animation notations. Or, design log
layout to fit larger 8-1/2" x 14" paper. You
can also design log, going horizontally. If multiple animated
elements or characters in same shot, then
each one could have their own set of animation
timing-logs. EDIT: 10.23.07
and Animation Timing How-to .... My personal nature, is that of
being mostly self-taught. I LEARN
as I need it. I
hate being forced fed to learn irrelevent things.
I was generally kind of bored with school.
Cookie Cutter, mass production ways of
learning is not applicable to
everyone. In general, for myself, the way I learn most
things, is first, I am verrrrry curious
about it. Plenty of self-motivation. I
initially read, research,
then find whatever short-cut or cheat,
to help me understand it faster.
I have no teaching degrees but my
commonsense Gandalf-like wisdom can see the flaws of some teaching methods.
One should make it as easy and
interesting as possible for
students to grasp & comprehend, so that
hopefully they will get the "Ah-ha ... I got
it!" instant revelation.
With regards to Stop Motion , there are
a few rare books that are Stop
Mo specific and you can see the thumbnail links on this
page. I do give much praise
to The Survival Kit for Animators book. It is the best
out there, however, IMO, it does not cover
everything. This 342 page book mostly covers human
type character animation, but only 6
pages devoted to animals or creature
animation. Where have you seen in any how-to or
book, detailed lessons or tuts on animating spiders,
snakes, crabs, , etc.? Since nothing was out
there, years ago, I figured my
own way. Also, The
Survival book gives you no
information on how to feel
or sense the timing,
or technicalities of breaking
down the frames into decimal
fractions when using Stopwatch and/or using Metronome 'beat' numbers to HEAR the timing.
I have yet to see a good how-to on specifically
using stop watches for timing. Personally,
I do not time the entire
animated action choreography, but instead, I breakdown
the overall animated action into smaller sub-actions,
by timing the individual segments/parts
of it, and then add all the timings to get the
approximate whole (adjustments made for overlapped
actions). No one showed me this, and
again, I figured out my own way. It sounds confusing but
a tutorial with pics, illustrations, or better yet, a
video demonstrating it, would reveal how easy &
useful tool a Stopwatch can be.
All the above what I briefly touched on, is actually
basic stuff but seems to be overlooked or not fully
explained. Maybe some of you 'Teachers' do
'teach' some of those tips & tricks (I don't
know). I am just going by what is out
here and in books. I have always used reference conversion/equivalency
charts for using Metronome
& Digital Stopwatch. Also, 24-fps
to 30-fps reference chart and other formulas.
IMO, 24-FPS pushed in how-to animation
material, is not the only framerate
standard anymore. You got 25-FPS (PAL
video rate) and 30-FPS (USA, video
rate). The Preston Blair publication did do a cursory
mention of the metronome & stopwatch
(not too detailed). Animation does
require some technical foundation or understanding,
and is not purely an organic
or black magic creative process.
Painting & Drawing is the same; it first requires
knowing techniques & principles.
Anyway, I will be generous today and reveal some links on
my secret list . Just random, about animation
timing/principles. They are not 'perfect'
(I have to write those ), but each one
reveals a little bit. They focus on 2D
drawn animation methods, but you already
know, the 'principles' applies to all
animation techniques. For now, I am not going to
critique them or give you details. Offered as is,
and no refunds: Shaffers Notebook: Training Blog
for artists/animators - Craft of Making Cartoons - Animating Rhythm And Dance - Gene Deitch - Toon Timer (for PC) - Metronome Online - Animation Stopwatch & Useful
Formulas. Yes, I
know; one does not usually think of using 'Keyframing'
in Stop Motion (which is classifed as straight
ahead style), although, it is very
do-able to apply some
key framing principles to Stop Motion. Example, "In
a certain number of frames,
I should approximately Hit this
pose" (referring to your timing log
sheet, rough thumbnail key frame
sketches, your storyboards, animatics, etc).
Okay, I am finished here. 'Hasta La Vista' EDIT: 10.15.07
Just to summarize since our last news, someone
anonymously replied to my little tirade but maybe did not
get the point I was trying to make. It could be
someone known in the animation or FX biz.
Even if the person identified him/herself, I still would never
reveal their identity unless they specifically granted
permission. The IP address shows that email came from a
certain location in Southern California. Anyway, I posted
at Stop Mo messageboard to clarifyget
some feedback. I believe, I am not
nuts and your and positive
support validates my observations. I am
merely echoing what is in many of your thoughts.
Some positive vibes
came from that rant, including a most surprise
contribution that Nick Hilligoss premiered at StopMoShorts.Completely unknown to me, Nick was
working on a parodyClassic Harryhausen Cyclops
and it absolutely blew me of the away.with
Nick's sooo very motivational
masterpiece of Maybe animation parody,
it will re-energize me. This is the
messageboard topic, Hyper-Harryhausen: I've tweaked
somebody? where we
discussed that, and Nick's No awesome animation work.
* Another one
for CuppaCoffee & Whassup with Stop Mo Legos? ....
Sheeeez, I am losing
track of the Stop Mo projects Cuppa
has going. This is another one called Life's a Zoo and website underconstruction, to tie-in with series.
Lego Stop Motion seems to be on a publicity
rampage. Last month, a segment was aired on ABC
TV series, i-Caught, in addition to this article on their site. Then an Wall Street Journal articlePersonally, I do not see this thing
with Legos (other figure-toys better for animating) but .
whatever floats your boat. We need
this kind of PR for Harryhausen
style Stop Mo!