Friday, March 20, 2009


I have finished animating 75% of the shots - only one more week to go! I am very happy with how my raw footage is turning out... generally my technique is to animate as best I can, then tweak the timing in after effects my stretching and shrinking the shots where I think it seems too fast or too slow. Rarely I will reshoot if time allows, which I already know I have to do for only one of these shots. I try to animate so that I only have to speed things up if anything, so that I have more frames to work with.

I don't have pics or video of near all the footage I have shot- but I hope this is at least appetite wetting.

Most of these shots have not been tweaked to a finish yet in after effects for timing- but they are maybe 70% done in regards to timing and color. I like to do a general pass while I am in the animating process, then finely finish everything after I have all my footage done.

Here is a mix of stills and video. Sorry for the TERRIBLE youtube quality- it's youtube, what can I say. The originals are crispy and clear. It gets somewhat better with their "High quality" button, but not much.

For some reason I think a lot of frames got cut out because it doesn't look nearly as choppy in the file I uploaded. I am including links where you can download a better quality version too.

In general chronological order..

so after the girl gets pulled into the carcass of a dead pig by the arms of an octopus(which is being shot at the end), she wakes up to see these folks standing over her

The better quality download....

this is a close up of the bee lady looking at her on the operating table

better quality download...

then things start to get a bit weird as we cut back and forth between the scene on the "operating table" and a scene where the girl wakes up on the ground to find herself in an empty cavernous room. There is a wooden box in front of her. She gives it a quizzical look.

She crawls to the box and opens it to find it full of different eyeballs. She picks one up.

The interesting glowy fuzzy look here is obtained by using my fisheye adaptor lens, and then zooming in so that the image gets distorted. I use it for the POV shots.

she looks into the eyes

through the first eye she see the bee lady moving about "playing" music on the flowers.

The video cuts back and forth from shots of the girl at the operating table and her looking through the different eyeballs. Each eyeball shows her a different view of one of the 3 characters. The next is time pig man. he rolls around in circles like a mad man banging on clocks like drums.

next is string man who walks around in this room full of floor to ceiling strings plucking the strings to hear the vibrational sound they make.

here is a short clip, some of the vibrational instruments from pig time man are at the end of the clip.

Better quality download...

through the last eyeball she picks up she sees herself in an empty room with strings attached to herself and no eyeballs

Better quality download...

at the sight of this she gets really disturbed and faints. The eyeball drops out of her hand and rolls on the floor.

we cut back to the operating room and the bee lady pokes the girls leg to see that she can't move her legs. They all look at one another, deciding something needs to be done. This is the string man's look of approval. There are two shots here, I just filmed them consecutively.

Better quality download...

So that's what I have for today. I am not happy with how youtube is playing the footage, I will have to find a better way to show it next time. Something gets lost when youtube compresses it for the internet.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shot over a minute already!

I am so excited!!!! I have shot 64 seconds of footage in the last 4 days, which is excellent considering my decrepit state of health. I can finally talk again(though I won't be karaokeing for another week or so) and I am getting my energy back.

This is a dead pig. He is made from clay, with a mix of acrylic paint and beige spray paint. You can actually see his storyboarded self in the lower left corner

in the short intro, I have some establishing shots of the farmhouse. This is one of them. The light from the window crawls up the wall and over this picture to signal a passage of time.

aha! Yes, that is the puppet, masking taped to a chunk of granite. For most of the dining room shots, you can't see the girl's feet, and also she was a tad short to make the shots work(you couldn't see her behind the table when she was standing). I was feeling a bit anxious and not wanting to deal with tiedowns in conjunction with her lack of height... so I just took this granite sample and taped her to it. The granite is very heavy so she stayed in place... and the tape was shockingly strong.

a headless farmer

Pig getting placed

I realize this all looks very sloppy,lol. Such a sad sagging backdrop... but you can't see that part in the shot.

a shot from between the dslr and the cheapo videocamera(used for grabbing frames into animator dv so I can have a reference for each move - I use the onionskinning option but don't use animator dv for anything else)

another establishing shot of the crucifix and the little kerosene lamp. there is actually a match stuck into a blob of clay BEHIND the lamp that was lit. I couldnt put the flame in the lamp, it was too small. But this way I got the flicker and reflections of light in the lamp I wanted.

the first establishing shot inside the house. This is that grandfather clock I made. The face of the clock is from a watch. The lens I am using is an opteka fisheye lens that attaches to my nikkor lens. I zoom in the give it that weird hazy circular distortion. The shot goes from a complete out of focus shot to this. The effect the lens has is really beautiful and eerie. When it is out of focus the lights and colors look like paint.

These are frames from the film, yet again I am playing around with color curves in all of them with photoshop- still deciding on what colors I want to have in the final edit. Just quick color touching.

this milk is actually hair gel mixed with white paint. It oozed beautifully to allow me to just put my camera on continuous shooting as it dribbled out of the milk pot and onto the floor. It gets knocked over by the farmer's head which the girl drops on the table after it falls off his body. Complicated. Don't try to understand now. This is a surreal video.

Next I animate her getting swallowed into the pig after being pulled in by these octopus tentacles that come out of the dead, singing, pig's mouth. Just normal stuff, you know.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shooting has begun!

I began shooting today! I was planning on starting shooting yesterday, but I caught the dreaded bug my whole family has this week, so things have been relatively slow the last couple days. While I normally work 10-12 hours a day, I can only manage to squeeze out 4 or 5 hours a day since friday without feeling queezy and ill. I think it's strep throat or possibly tonsillitis. Blech. It should be over soon, but thankfully I am ahead of schedule so it's not affecting my work flow in any great way. When I feel sick I just resort to sculpting things or doing small relaxing tasks. Thankfully Ryan was here to help me set up the lights and table this morning.

I finished two shots this morning (about 10 seconds), which I will show you a shot from in a moment, but first... the progress from the last few days...

the finished wall for the pig/time man. Some of the cogs turn and the hands on the clocks. That big evil spikey thing spins as well. It looks like a saw/wheel of death. I don't know what it is to be honest. You can't see the sharp razor edges on it from the picture.

this is that magical insulation foam I talked about filling the puppet heads with before. the red one is firm, and the blue one is like packing peanuts(flexible and squishy)

I used it to create the underground walls, give it a rocky texture.

there are pipes and grates that will fill the space too - and I added some rusty color on top of the black

the hill

after the plaster, I painted it brown, then put a layer of glue and sprinkled some leftover cactus dirt I had in the garage.

broom grass got glue on in bundles in a sort of forced perspective height gradation

this is what the grass looked like when I found it at the dollar tree(normally 8 bucks a piece! I love 99cents stores.

the grass gets a bit sparse in the back since you can't tell on the angle I will be shooting at.

building a grandfather clock from a smaller grandfather clock and some extra wood and the sticks left over from the broom grass

I made the clock face bubble shaped by dribbling some hot glue on the wood.

Ryan helps out with putting the table together. Apparently, Ryan wants to be my apprentice :) For those who don't know, he is normally my sound designer and my only other collaborator in all my animations. he was with me when I first tested out some stop motion with a chunk of playdoh a few years ago.

setting up the lights- the background is made from a vinyl window shade that I spray painted beige and then added transparent layers to. the house is sitting on top of a trashcan and a coffee filter box.

testing out some angles to set the house just right

I am adjusting her eyeball

and finally some shots from the real film!!!! This is from the opening shot. All of these have different color tones since I was playing around this singular images to try and get a feel for the colors I want - so they are all different here.

this is supposed to be a tad later in the day.. 20 minutes or so. All of this takes place at about sunset.

testing different colors

that's all for now. Off I go to continue :)