Category Archives: animation

Stop-Motion isn’t as hard as I thought

In addition to today’s post, I have also learned that I’m horrible at keeping up with a blog.  Sorry.

At work we’ve been coming up with ideas for 15 second (silent) commercials to use on a new, upcoming video wall.  Some have been very difficult to storyboard because I am horrible at drawing figures.  Penguins I can draw, but not so much with the people.  Anyway, it seems my new approach to storyboarding is photographic animatics.  Basically, moving storyboards using photos (like moving paper dolls).  Also, I’m really the only one I can photograph, so the less people I need per concept, the easier it is to storyboard, but that makes it harder to advertise.

One of the ideas that the President of our company suggested was a sort of stop-motion video, that jumpy time-laps kind of thing.  Well, I tried some of that today with unwrapping a chocolate bar and I discovered that stop-motion isn’t as hard as I thought.  Now, granted, it’s harder than it looks, and you have to be patient as hell, but when you do it right, it looks damn cool!

One of the tricks is a motionless camera.  Tripod worked well for me, but I’ve seen them on C-stands before too.  Another is a slow and steady hand.  Now, I’ll be the first to tell you my drawing skills are not on par where they should be because my hand doesn’t like to draw steady.  However, that’s not what I mean when I say “a steady hand”.  For this, it’s moving one part of the object without moving another to create seamless motion.  Our eyes aren’t that sharp when it comes to movement which is rather handy when you’re trying to create a jumpy kind of video.  I could make large movements but hold them for more frames, yet it still goes fast enough that our eyes fill in the movement!

So bottom line to all this is that it seems those animation and motion graphics classes (not to mention copious amounts of special features from movies) have paid off.  When I showed my supervisor my finished sample (Note: This was a sample, not the finished product!) he only had one other comment besides “That looks so cool!” (which was to add something to the photos to make it more like what the final product would become)

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Filed under animation, work

Restarting things sometimes makes them easier

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I had to restart a project because it didn’t save properly.  Well, apparently my do-over didn’t save properly either and I had to begin, again.  This might have taught me to save backups of my work (which may also be a good idea from now on) but it also taught me that restarting things sometimes makes them easier.

The other day when I was doing the project, it seemed very complicated and time consuming.  However, after starting it from the beginning for the forth time, it didn’t seem so as much (but still tedious).  Also, I don’t think it took me as long as it felt like it was going to take me two days ago.  It really only took a couple of hours rather than the multi-day time-span I had anticipated.

Also on this train of thought, my fiancee and I downloaded a game this evening for an hour of free trial game-play.  Once we finished the hour, we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, so we decided to buy it only to discover that our trial game didn’t save!  So, we had to start from the beginning.  However, knowing what we knew about the story line and game-play, made getting to the point where the game had cut out on us much quicker and easier.

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Filed under animation, Games, online games, work

Double check I’m actually saving my work

So I have this project I’m working on at work and it’s effectively a fancy interactive product/image gallery.  No big deal, right?  Well, the program I’m using is a little finiky about some things and I think I renamed something when I shouldn’t have.  This program writes the interaction code for me, so I can design all I like and not worry about the code portion of my design.  However, the problem was in the code and for some reason, I couldn’t edit the code.  Neither could my coworkers.  So, I ended up having to start over from scratch.

This all being said, I figure, it’s alright, I can do it better.  So I start redoing all the work that I did yesterday and this morning and save the file with the same name, plus “2” after it so I know which one to continue editing.  For whatever reason, I can’t remember now, I had to close the program and reopen the file.  I know I was saving it as I went!  I go to reopen the file…but it’s not there.  I check the folder for the file name, it’s not there.  I check the whole computer for the file name, it’s not there.  The entire file disappeared into oblivion!  So now I know : Double check that my files are actually saving when I hit Ctrl+S

Maybe it’s because I can’t do laundry this week that the God of Laundry has come to eat my file rather than a sock…

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Filed under animation, work