Project proposal

For this project I propose to create an Interactive Zoetrope. The Zoetrope would need to contain 48 frames, and when spun would create the illusion of movement. The cylinder will rotate via a gear driven wheel that is fastened to the cylinder and will require audience participation to function(to rotate).

 Attached to the base of the zoetrope would be a camera that is focused on one of the outer slot holes. The camera is then connected to a projector, which is projecting the footage that the camera is receiving. 

The idea hoping to achieve is that the audience is responsible for the momentum needed to animate the image contained within the zoetrope. Also, by fusing two different mediums/formats, such as zoetrope and digital projector, It will create a hybrid of old and new. This artwork intends on having the process unfolded to you while simultaneously experiencing the result and accumulation of each individual process.

What I Have Learnt During the Practices Project

As an Animator, primarily working with two-dimensional cut out animation, I wanted to expand my knowledge in the field and for my practices project, learn how to confidently work with 2D Stop-motion animation and move towards 3D Stop-motion animation.
I started off by drawing a black figure on a whiteboard, taking a picture, then erasing the image and drawing the black figure positioned for the next frame and repeating this process. While experimenting with movement, i noticed a difficulty in getting the proportions right in each frame. I ended up giving my character an unintentional growth spurt during the process. I then, came up with the idea of cutting out the head and the body of the character, from black cardboard, then sticking it to the whiteboard with a bit of blutak, then positioning it according to movement and drawing the arms and legs along side the cardboard body. This helped keep the body in proportion and keep it consistent.

When moving onto 3D stop-motion, I faced another difficulty and that was lighting. When working with 2D animations, light and shadows aren’t an important factor as there is no depth in the image, but when using 3D animation, you need to be weary of lighting. I only had a table lamp and a white piece of A3 sized cardboard as my studio set up and struggled a bit getting rid of shadows and illuminating my subject. I’ve researched resolutions and If I were to continue creating 3D animations, I’d build a photo soft box (which is a white cube that works as a backdrop and light diffusor) to place the object into and light from the outer left and right hand sides with LED lights. That way, the model would be well lit and there would not be any shadows which would save a lot of time in the editing/ post production stage.

Stop-motion animation is a very time consuming job, as it takes several frames to create just one second of a clip. I could only produce short clips due to time restrictions and lack of narrative. Although I portrayed actions within my clips (such as waving and kicking a ball) there was not a solid narrative to add more time onto my animations. I think If I wrote a short story and created a story board, I could then reference the two to be able to produce a longer narrative. I found it a bit hard to come up with a story spontaneously as you have to be consistently thinking about how you’re going to position the next frame and if it is anatomically correct to how a human body would move. To create a 3D animation to my standard, It would probably take over 5 weeks.

I also wanted to extend my after effects skills by creating an animation, in which I merge the 2D character and the 3D character into the one clip. I thought if I put both figures on top of a white background, It would be easy to blend the two animations together, but it was very difficult. What I struggled with trying to edit, was due to my lack of studio equipment. Since i did not have a tripod for my camera, the whiteboard 2D animation was positioned on an angle, which was then hard to warp back into portion. I had difficulty blending the backdrops together due the shadows in the 3D character clip, I tried changing the brightness and the contrast as well as masking, but I am not that confident in after effects, so I wasn’t happy with the result and scrapped the clip.

I went into this project hoping to learn a new skill to add to my digital media belt and am now confident to continue using stop-motion animation in my practice. Once I got the hang of proportions and movement, I realised that it is very similar to what I was doing before, 2D cut-out animations. What I found very beneficial was watching tutorials on movement and framing as well as researching different ways of creating stop-motion animations, such as the app I found for my iPad, which reduced a lot of editing time.Now that i’ve learnt a new skill, I can incorporate that into my cut-out animations and experiment with different dimensions and depths.

Finding a Quicker Way to use Stop-Motion

Over the past few weeks, I’ve realised how time consuming capturing the stop-motion is, but then there is the editing process which involves collecting all the images in order and importing it into an editing program such as Adobe After Effects to create an animation.

I’ve been researching different ways to create stop-motion animations and found an app I can use on my iPad called “Stop-Motion Studio”, which is a free program that creates a timeline as you’re taking the images, so all you need to do is to position the character and take a picture. When you’re done, you choose the number of frames you want to make it (which I personally change to between 10 to 15 frames per second) and spits out a video which you can import onto the computer and convert to movie format (.mov)

The animation below is 43 frames at 10 frames per second, running at 4 minutes

Drawing figure coming to life and removing the stand from his rear end 🙂

Media Arts Class Excursion

Yesterday we attended the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (formerly known as the Powerhouse Museum) and went into the Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital exhibit which “explores the increasingly important role of digital manufacture in contemporary art, science, fashion, design and architecture”

I found two pieces that appealed to me the most, namely with my practices project and three-dimensional stop-motion animation.

The first artist was Ho-Yeol Ryu from South Korea, who had two pieces from 2014 exhibited. Kampf (fight), is a 3D printed sculpture (made from plastic) that has captured the movement of a fighter. I found this relatable to my practices project because of the documenting of each step of movement in the sculpture, and how it is a similar process within stop-motion. Laufen (run) is an animation created from 3D printed figures. Ryu questions the perception of Reality in his work.


The other work I found interesting and that related to my practices project, was the Faces Used For ParaNorman Film (2012) which were 3D printed plastic faces that were used by Laika for replacement animation (changing limbs of 3D character for stop motion). This was very special because Laika is the first company to combine replacement animation (usually used with clay) with 3D printing technology. It took around 40,000 face parts to create the movie ParaNorman

Creating a 3D Stop-Motion

This week I’ve been playing with 3D stop-motion using a small drawing model. Ive been watching youtube tutorials on how to create a stop-motion with a moving figure and have been experimenting with different movements. Ive placed the figure on a white background so I can superimpose the 2D stop-motion with the 3D at the end of the project. Ive noticed that Ive created some shadows in the process, as I was just using one table lamp for lighting. If i were to continue creating 3D stop-motion in the future, I’d build a light box for it.

Attached is my first attempt at the model waving to the camera.

Having Fun with 2D Stop-Motion

For the past few weeks, I’ve been learning how to do Stop-motion animation, to expand my knowledge in the field of animation. I’ve been using a white board and drawing a character on it with a black marker, then take a picture and rub it all off and draw the next frame. It is very time consuming, especially for a longer animation. All my animations are quite short, but has taken a long amount of time to achieve those few seconds. I now understand why it took 10 years for a team of animators to create animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton, 1993)

The animation below is at 67 frames but only goes for 4 seconds, playing at 15 frames per second.