Thursday, June 5, 2014

Robot animation, Shakespeare, Birthday gifts!

While celebrating our first wedding anniversary, Rachel and I wandered through a Michaels craft store in Omaha.  I saw these adorable little figurines, and thought of my upcoming "Art In" animation class.  I offered this class last summer, and while the kids thoroughly enjoyed it, we didn't have NEARLY enough time to write a story, build puppets, animate them, and edit our creation.  We have about five hours total.  Soooo, this year, I wanted to simplify the puppet creation process, so we have more time to animate. Because that's the fun part, right?

After experimenting with one of these figurines, I decided it's really not such a great idea, especially for someone who has never animated before.  You can communicate so much more with knees, elbows, a waist, and a neck than you can with twitching facial features.  I knew that.  In "simplifying the process of puppet making", I will severely restrict their animation options.  Plus, the one I used was super top-heavy.
I will say, I think my puppet is cute.  Sad to say, that's about all he's got going for him.

This was my entry for the monthly challenge theme "skateboarder."  It was voted the best of...two entries.  Yeah.  But hey, I won some free animation software from a sponsor!  I never turn away free.  I downloaded the software yesterday, and it looks like it could be lots of fun!

Anyway, here he is all naked, showing the dowels I used to hold the bobbin spools on.  I applied a couple coats of silver spray paint.

His antennas are made from a plastic wiring staple and aluminum armature wire.  I used wing nuts for ears, and the gear on his tummy was from one of Rachel's sewing tools.  The skateboard is made of wood, the wheels from a dollar store model car kit.
I used two circles of tin foil to create the whirling propellers.  That's pretty much all I have to share about this guy.
Moving on...
Character concept for Puck, the mischievous jester to King Oberon.  By Levi Williams.
A little over a month ago, I completed the first draft of a new script!  My big project is a Western-style adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  My goal is to modify the environment and dialogue, but keep the story and characters true.  I'm working very hard to create a tight, entertaining story with fun, creative characters.  This is a big undertaking for me!  I really don't know how long the finished film will be, but my current script is around 40 pages long.  Right now, I'm working on story boarding the scenes, and working with my amazingly talented brother-in-law on character designs.  I am blown away by what he has created so far!

Titania, the vain and stubborn Queen of the fairies.
DeRoy, the blacksmith betrothed to Honey-May.  And his ever-hopeful admirer, Elmyra.
Forbidden lovers, Sandy and Honey-May.
Oberon, the selfish and manipulative King of the fairies.

<Clap clap clap clap clap>
There's some tweaking to be done, and many more characters to design.  I can't wait to turn these sketches into three dimensional puppets!  Ooph, where do I even start?  My head is about to explode with ideas.

I will leave you with photos of my awesome stop-motion birthday loot!  Rachel wins the prize!

Here we have an awesome "Fantastic Mr. Fox" tee.  A stop-motion classic "Chicken run", which I totally need in my collection.  And a beautiful book all about the art and design of Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie."  Filled with photos, sketches, concepts, and prototypes of puppets.  Like this:

Evolution of Sparky?
That's all for now folks, thanks for reading along!


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