Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shel's Pre-production progress report


Shel's Pre-production progress report...

Okay, this is Shel, sticking my toe into the blog soup. I’m super excited that we are 1 week away from our begin shooting deadline and Im pretty sure we are probably going to make it…..

SET: I’m halfway done with a dog cage addition to the hallway set (a necessity now that the storyboards are done and we’ve realized we’ll want some hallway shots from over the shoulder of the dog in his cage).

Once this addition is done we will clean out the garage (stop motion isn’t all fun and games it turns out) and put down a carpet so it’ll be a little cozier for Justin in there for the late night shoots, and then it’s push and click time (woo hoo!!).

PUPPETS: I’ve been pumping out puppets like crazy lately. I had to go back (big fat sigh) and redo some of the puppets I made in the begining cuz as Justin does his test anims we are realizing that I hadn’t used nearly enough prose-aide in the paint (they’re cracking all over the place). This was a rather painful realization but now that I’ve committed to remaking them it’s actually been cool cuz I can feel how much I’ve learned since I first started foaming puppets 8 months ago. In the begining armatures were such an aggravation and now I can make ‘em and cook spaghetti, and help the boys with Latin homework at the same time; the foam comes out on the first run now (I’m not saying I’ve mastered the mystery of the foam process here [...don’t want to jinx anything!], but the FOAM GODS seem to have decided to take pity on me, which is kind and I am humbly grateful); pro-pasting just keeps getting simpler (especially as I’ve gotten more experienced with trimming and burning the extra mold foam at the seams), and then the painting….well that part’s always been fun (only now I’m using a 50/50 prose-aide/paint mix!). These new puppets look and feel a million times better than the first runs, I’m finishing up my last three now and I can honestly say I’m going to miss making them. It’ll be a long, long, long time till we are in puppet making mode for our next film!! (I’m starting to get how time takes a whole new perspective in stop motion land.)

I'm looking forward to posting a picture of the whole cast on the set (sometime next week hopefully...).



Michael Granberry said...

Shel, I'd love to get the benefit of your foam-casting experience in the form of some more blog posts if you have time. I've never done it myself, though I think it would make my life a whole lot easier. Congrats on your continued excellent work!

Animator X said...

Wow... You've converted the ENTIRE house into a studio! Puppets everywhere. Excellent work. Ooo, you can call yourself "The Puppet Master", heh.

shel said...

thanks guys!!

hey michael, i've just started seeing some of your work and am enjoying it alot!

it looks like we'll be foaming one more puppet afterall (decided last night to try the dog in foam again!).

i'll try to post the stages as i foam him, but i'm posative there are people who know much more about this than i do. we learned it from a helpful dvd by Kathhi Zung.

let me know if you have any specific questions.


adam said...

Shel- The puppets look great! I admire your commitment to this project and can't wait to see (and hear ;) the final result!

Nice first blog too. I like your writing style... :)


Daesup said...

Shel, You've been doing awesome job, man. It just look very proffesional.
I just can't believe you could build this much quality in 8 monthes experiment. Just let me know when these lovely puppets are on Toy-R-us figure shelf. Great work!!

Frankenbulb said...

Hey Shel...The puppets look great!! You guys are doing amazing things as always. It's going to be the best film yet. Justin has a great partner and it will make it that much sweeter!!

Jeffro said...

Amazing job on everything with this! Justin keeps talking about how it's all turning out. Nice to hear a different perspective on how well everything is coming together on the project. Can't wait to read more about it and see the final.

David said...

Awesome work Shel. It's amazing how much progress this project has made in the amount of time you guys spent on it. Soon all that hard work will pay off. Keep it up.

shel said...

you guys are so sweet! this whole blog thing is fun, (i check it like every two minutes to see if someone posted a comment). thanks for making my day.


Bart said...

Looks very professional! And you are very right: "stop motion isn’t all fun and games", it's all very hard work and patiance.

Good Luck!


Darkstrider said...

Wow.... it looks to me like you've been GETTING about a comment every two minutes! ;)

Sorry to hear about the cracking problems. I know how heartbreaking it is to discover you have to go back and re-do something you thought was finished. Hey.... look at it this way.... at least the puppets are still fully functional! I've had them actually break before i was done making them! Which really sucks, let me tell you!

A 50/50 mix should be good. I understand it's really supposed to be closer to 60% pros-aide though. It's also a good idea before painting them to give them a primer coat, just ure pros-aide. Let that dry overnight (it'll stay tacky unless you use the no-tack pros-aide) and then paint the next day. And you might already be aware (I know it's too late to help out on this project, but maybe next time) - acrylic paint is not ideal, because the plasticizers tend to be less than completely flexible. A better choice would be pure artist's pigment, or tints-all (also called Universal Colorants) available from an auto-parts shop for mixing up custom paint.

That said, I've always used acrylics, and they work fairly well. Just wanted you to know there's something even better in case you decide to try it out in the future.

And I really enjoyed reading your views. You know.... somehow I wasn't aware you actually foamed up the puppets yourself.... I thought Justin was doing that and you were just painting them! You're a much more active partner than I knew. And now I have this image of you as some kind of uber housewife/puppetsmith, vacuuming, cooking and cleaning as you make these fantastic puppets and get the kids off to school all at the same time!!! It's super-Shel!

Darkstrider said...

That was supposed to say ....

"It's also a good idea before painting them to give them a primer coat, just Pure pros-aide."

Also, I'd be careful with putting carpet down in the garage.... I wouldn't want to get it close to the door where it will get wet when it rains! Maybe just a big chunk of carpet, like a rug where he needs to walk around. Or better yet one of those nice cushiony rubber pad things they use for industrial workstations... those feel really good underfoot!

jriggity said...

Dark strider ....

shes WAY more than that even. She runs her own {sucessfull} buisness.
AND she rangles all the kids....and she is a Super Famous Amazing dancer..teacher..

and then she creates art for our film. Ha!

Shes A powerfull Woman!

and shes a NINJA too!


shel said...

(ahh shucks.....thanks, babe)


thanks for all the great info! i'm just heading into the garage now to foam another dog. justin made an all new and improved armature last night. (version 17 i think!?!) it's kind of like the shoemaker and the elves, i wake up and there's this sweet armature sitting there, magically created in the wee hours of the night.

when the dog is ready to paint (if?...) i will definitely give it a primer of pure proseaide and then use a 60/40 proseaide/paint mix (which, lucky for me has often happened anyway cuz that stuff pores out fast!)

our puppets need all the squash and stretchability possible cuz justin doesn't play very gently with them.

thanks for the feedback!


Darkstrider said...

Cool! I love hearing from both of you. Maybe you could guest more often on the blog Shel?

Hah... I love the Cobbler and the Elves thing! It must be the same for Justin.... making an armature and then finding a fully-foamed puppet next day!

Another way to think about the painting thing.....

the pros-aide is your fully flexible adhesive, and the paint weakens it. So you want to start with just the Pros-aide, mix up your paint, and slowly add paint to it until you achieve enough opacity that it looks right. Oh, and I use water as I'm mixing up the paint.... not too much, just enough to make it blend smoothly and turn it into a paint rather than a paste.

If you could get away with a 70/30 mix, or even 80/20, that would be even better! Sometimes your paint mix can be translucent rather than opaque.

shel said...

thanks darkstrider,

for another great tip, i will look at it that way, it's a whole different perspective.

Anonymous said...

I love the set!!

It's at the same height Wallace and Grommit's sets are constructed at. I think I made a big mistake when I had my carpenter build my animation stage to stand five feet off the ground! Time to grovel and beg him to alter it so that I can see over the top!