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In Every Job That Must Be Done

We last posted a work by Dina Amin about a year ago in April of 2018. She recently shared another one of her works with us here at Stop Motion Planet.

“My very first lip-sync animation!

I am a product designer from Egypt who discovered her love for stop motion. Since I am a self taught stop motion animator, to teach myself how to lip sync this is what I’ve done:

I recorded what the characters would say, I wrote it down phonetically to try and figure out what kind of shapes and sounds are there, then after I identified key shapes, I video recorded myself saying the script then traced the key shapes from my phone (just like how the pros do it, i know!) then I scanned these into photoshop and made a mouth set. I then imported my mouth set in dragonframe and started testing the lip sync. I sculpted the tiny mouths from regular plasticine, made my characters out of regular items I had around and started animating.”

Uploaded to Youtube by dinaa amin

Scott CulpepperComment
Can I Animate a Bar of Soap?

The talented Kevin Parry recently shared a new stop motion animation experiment/instructional video. “So I have a bit of an obsession with animating household objects,” said Parry. “It's a super fun way to learn about animation - hopefully I can teach…a thing or two by making these kinds of vids!“

For this project, Parry challenges himself to animate a bar of soap. “I show you how I turn a regular bar of soap into a stop-motion puppet and the process of how I bring it to life through animation.”

The video at the end of the post is a must-see for StopMotionPlanet readers as it’s yet another opportunity to hear an animator describe his/her motivations and methods. Parry explain his rig and green screen setup and shows how he created three different soap puppets up to achieve his vision.

In the video, Parry encourages beginning animators to attempt household-object animation experiments like these with a plan to communicate an idea. He maintains that there’s no better way to learn how to use motion to create a performance. Other highlights to be gleaned include Parry’s description of his thought process that goes into communicating the performance in every single frame and when he uses a loop of the soap flip and a camera lens cap to answers one of everyone’s primary questions; how much to move the object being animated between frames.

“A lot of people ask me how to get started in stop motion animation and I always tell them the same thing,” said Parry. “‘Animate household objects.’ See what kind of character you can create. Use motion to create a performance, to create character. If you can use motion to turn any object into any character then you can be an animator.”

Uploaded to Youtube by Kevin Parry.

Brett HughesComment
Distortion • A Stop Motion Animation by Guldies

Uploaded to YouTube by Guldies.

Guldies is back on YouTube with a remarkable new animation. “This one took a loooong time because I've been studying AND animating at the same time,” he said upon uploading.

The different materials and textures that appear to transform from one to the next are so convincing thanks to brilliant use of sound and clever, subtle wobbles and smears. The movement is so smooth and the lack of any trace of animation on the surface of the clay makes the animation extremely “convincingly invisible.”

The final product consists of “2500 still pictures played at 24 frames per second,” said Guldies. “(Each image was) shot with a Canon EOS 600D and animated in Dragonframe. The clay I used is called Plastalina. Everything (was) edited in Photoshop CC and Sony Vegas Pro. Sound effects (were) recorded with a Blue Yeti and also taken from freesound.org.”

Uploaded to YouTube by Guldies.

Want to get to know the animator better and learn about his technique for achieving the bouncing effect seen throughout Distortion? Check out this informative tutorial from the artist himself. Also, should you be interested, you can browse his YouTube page for more animations and how-it-was-made videos.

Guldies, who actually goes by the name Alexander, is an artist from Sweden who says he “I fell in love with art and animation. Stop motion and sculpting is what I live for, and is also what I want to make a living from.” You can support Guldies by visiting his Patreon page. 


Brett HughesComment
Unrolling the Masterful Sushi Scene in 'Isle of Dogs'

Uploaded to Youtube by jodudeit.

Most everyone who visits StopMotionPlanet will have seen the brilliant Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s ninth feature and second stop motion film. And every one of us gasped during the stunningly executed sushi-preparation scene. If you need a refresher, watch the first video in this post to see the scene .

The first question everyone wants to ask an animator … “How long did that take?” Well, as Isle of Dogs Head Puppet Master Andy Gent puts it in this next video after describing the insane amount of effort that went into the film, "seven months later we end up with one minute of animation." This is good viewing as the arduous process of building the intricate figures required, the pre-production modeling and testing and of course, the intense animating process is broken down beautifully by Gent:

Uploaded to YouTube by Variety.

When people realize that sometimes the entire stop motion process can take seven months to yield one minute of film, they always want to praise an animator’s patience. In her outstanding Q&A on Letterboxd.com with Tristan Oliver, Gemma Gracewood asked the cinematographer behind Isle of Dogs (and Fantastic Mr. Fox) , “What type of personality do you think you need to work in stop motion? There’s a stereotype that you must have to be very patient, but the reality is quite different?”

Oliver’s reply: “I think the idea of ‘patience’ is… I don’t even know where that comes from. That is what we call one of the ‘top five questions.’ That, along with ‘tell us what is one of the most difficult things you had to do on the film’ and ‘what is Wes Anderson like?’.

“I don’t know what anyone’s being patient about, really. Where’s the patience? An animator is animating. He (or she) is working as fast as he possibly can, doing a very complicated performance through the medium of a puppet. So he is undergoing a degree of concentration it would be impossible to imagine and around him sets are being built, painted, lit, set up.

“In all respects it is exactly like a live action department—it’s very busy, there is no downtime. So this concept of patience is entirely erroneous. What you actually need is stamina. Not patience. Because this is five or six days a week, 60-hour weeks for two years. And it’s intensely busy. Because of the length of time it takes to shoot, we’re in a rolling process of pre-production even when we’re in production. People are constantly losing their temper and constantly screaming and running out of the studio. To think there’s some kind of monkish, trappist environment… [shakes head].”

So stamina, focus and thin skin may be even more valuable that patience when it comes to finding success in stop motion.

Finally, if seven months yielded one minute for the sushi scene then the result of the three weeks Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) of Parks and Recreation spent on his stop motion debut, Requiem for a Tuesday, seems about right.

“Oh my god. That's the whole thing.”

Brett HughesComment
Rubik's Cube Smash Ultimate Tribute
Uploaded to Instagram by  gold.a.cubes .

Uploaded to Instagram by gold.a.cubes.

Whether you’re a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fan or not, you’ll appreciate the work A Cheung put into animating this tribute to the recently-released video game sensation.

“It took me about 10 hours including planning, filming, and post processing,” said Cheung as The Gold A on Reddit.

Like most stop motion projects, it wasn’t without some difficulty. “Once, I realized the focus was off and had to redo some frames. (Later) I messed up Mario's overalls and had to redo some frames. When I realized Mario's overalls were even more messed up than I thought, I decided to just leave it. When I solved one of the display cubes on the side, (I) realized there was no way I could put it back the same. (I) decided to go with it and add random motions here and there…to add a little bit of additional aesthetics.”

You can find more animations like these on Cheung’s Instagram page, to which he generally posts weekly. There he describes himself as a creator of stop motion animations, a speedcuber-turned-puzzle-enthusiast and “part time model for some reason.”

Brett HughesComment
Said The Whale - UnAmerican (Official Video)

Uploaded by YouTuber Said The Whale.

Everything seen in Said the Whale’s video for UnAmerican was created by hand using 2,250 separate pieces of paper, each printed with a frame of a previously filmed performance video. Each piece of paper was then photographed on set frame-by-frame. The video, released November 5, 2018, was produced by Johnny Jansen in association with Foreshadow Films and Amazing Factory.

Jansen, posting as Something_happened on Reddit, said “The entire process took about 80 hours. We started by filming the bands performance and making an edit. Then we used the edit to plan out an animatic which we would used to guide our stop motion process. Once the animatic was finished, I exported the video as a jpg sequence at 12fps, separated the files by each scene in PDF files and sent them out to the printer. Once we had the prints we used software to line up each frame with the previous one and slowly made the video. I embedded the time code on each frame so we could match it with the animatic.”

It’s attention grabbing from the opening shot of the first photo emerging from the printer. Of course, it’s not really emerging the printer. “We actually measured out where to cut each photo to make it animate,” said Jansen. “It took like four hours just to do the opening shot.”

Speaking of the printer, when Jansen was asked how much they spent on paper and ink he replied, “Not that much as you may think! Under $700 actually.” Remember that gang. When it comes to printing; the more you buy, the more you save.

Redditor sylo18 did the math regarding frames per second and, in addition to providing some lovely compliments, noted, “Only 2250 photos (as if that isn’t loads! Haha) I just mean for a 3 minute song I thought it would be closer to 4000 photos.”

“It would have been 4,500 if we did it at 24fps but we chose to make it 12fps,” explained Jansen. The decision worked because the jumpy motion compliments the beat and energy of the song.

Another subtle touch that stands out is the way the utensils move with the beat in the kitchen scene. “That one scene took five hours,” said Jansen. “When the knife cut through the page we had to cut hundreds of photos in the exact spot.”

Uploaded by YouTuber WaveMachines.

A final note from Jansen, one that may resonate with StopMotionPlanet readers: “Way more work than anticipated but 100% worth all the effort!” he said.

If you like the video for UnAmerican, you may also enjoy a video that may have inspired Said The Whale and Johnny Jansen. If cutting hundreds of photos in the kitchen for UnAmerican was tough, then the cutting required for the multi-layered animation in the video for Wave Machines’ The Greatest Escape We Ever Made, released August 3, 2009, must have been an incredible challenge.


Brett HughesComment
new stop motion every day

Uploaded to Instagram by franticframes.

76 days ago on November 2, 2018, animator Ben Treat began uploading stop motion shorts to his franticframes Instagram page.

Daily uploads. As in every day. And he hasn’t missed a day since.

This first linked animation, Planet Earth (January 4, animation number 64), took around six hours to create. “I used the Stik Bot app to create this on an iPhone 6,” explained Treat. “The Earth was created using cardstock paper, and the camera was supported on a sheet of glass suspended two feet in the air.”

Uploaded to Instagram by franticframes.

The sixteen year old, self-taught Treat has been animating for two years with the goal of inspiring others. “I started after seeing an animation by PES, and decided to try myself,” he said.

Treat plans on continuing his daily animations and perhaps working on some short films. He encourages viewers to DM him on Instagram with inspiration or to visit fiverr for information on ordering a custom stop motion.

Brett HughesComment
Paper Crease Animation

Someone inspired by artist Simon Schubert’s Paperwork series has created a mesmerizing gif using only creased paper. The achievement of light, depth and motion is dazzling and we’ll bet you can’t watch just once. Some viewers say it reminds them of the video game Doom or the music video for a-ha’s Take On Me. It may not be true stop motion animation but it’s some much-needed eye candy on The Planet after some of the non-PG material that’s been popping up lately around here!

Brett HughesComment
SPOOK TRAIN: Curtains

Uploaded by YouTuber Lee Hardcastle.

Lee Hardcastle will be the first to tell you that his stop motion animations are not for children. Whether it’s recreating sixty-second claymation versions of horror films such as The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre or using claymation cats to retell Evil Dead II, Hardcastle is always pushing the boundaries unlike any other stop motion artist.

Put the kids to bed and turn out the lights before watching Curtains, described as “Room One of (the) creepy horror claymation series Spook Train.” Better yet, watch on a bright afternoon and queue up a couple of puppy gifs to follow up with for a thorough eye bleaching. Seriously for all you youngsters out there, this is rated R.

Brett HughesComment
NINJA CYBORG / The Sunny Road

Uploaded by YouTuber NinjA Cyborg.

French synthwave musicians Antiphon Martin and Botté Marc of NinjA Cyborg turned to Freaks Motion Studio for their kick-ass stop motion music video for The Sunny Road. The video was released in early December and was directed by Jef Durbana with assistant director Olivier Hernandez and setting designer Matthieu Andro. Click the links to learn more about Freaks Motion Studio or NinjA Cyborg music.

Brett HughesComment