Cut-out Animation and Setup Test
So I’m an artist again. A full time artist who teaches what she loves to do. That feels much better. School’s out since I had my last day on Tuesday, and I feel so unbelievably relieved that I’m not a school teacher anymore… (It was an important experience though.)
The whole week was a burst of creativity: I was working on so many things… Over the weekend I had my good friend Leo visiting, and I talked him into trying some animation, because I really wanted to try a haven’t-tried-it-so-far technical setup, and because I haven’t animated for years (or at least it felt like this). Inspired by animations I did with a group of kids last week, we set up a little scene on top of my Tricktisch:
We created simple cut-out puppets by using food packaging boxes, color pencils and those cramps for the joints. I simply like the aesthetics of this kind of puppet, and I already applied it a few times (as in my first animated short Ein anderer Traum and in an installation I did in 2009).
Oh, and thanks to the scrapbooking people there are now so many colored cramps available… Horay! See my new box of brass cramps of all sizes:
Things That Make Me Happy – today: sorting boxes…
For the setup I had the animation stand lit by four 75W lights. I used my DSLR, a Pentax ist DL2 (that doesn’t have a video feed) with Dragon Stopmotion for framegrabbing. I also had an Eye-Fi SD card which is a SD card (obviously) with an WiFi-Connection to my Mac. Every time I take a picture, the card sends it to a folder from where the animation software generates a video (they call it folder watch mode).
This works nicely despite the fact that I don’t have a live preview. So the animation is pretty much intuitive then. I could use rigs and other tools for more control over the movement, but this particular one was just a test shoot, so I don’t care too much.
We didn’t plan anything. No dope sheets, no acting-out, nothing. We just played. Even the story evolved while we were animating. But – and this is far more important I think – we animated. Roughly, but playful and enjoyable – and I remembered how much I missed it.
That’s the one thing this was is good for. The other thing is that I have some more projects in a folder labeled Thing I really want to make, and this animation test is for one of these projects. I suppose I’d like to buy another camera first because I really enjoy working with a live feed and preview feature… (I’m not sure yet.)
Before I do so, I want to share the inspiring animation I did with the kids as well: