Tag Archives: stop motion animation

Lots going on


These last couple of weeks I have been busy finishing off the llama muscles , I then did a walk and run cycle with the llama ( walk cycle will be put up on my vimeo account soon ) and then proceeded to give him is skin head and dignity back – I’ve yet to do more walk / run cycles with him and his new skin on but he is looking much better appearance wise.


although work has got in the way a bit this week I’ve still managed to get one more of my 642 things to draw done this weeks ( although technically I should say last weeks task was to draw girlish laughter – this wan’t to difficult because living in a house with 3 other girls inspiration for such a subject comes very easily.


I’ve also been working on more knitted triangles for my Gran’s birthday bunting – I must confess it hasn’t quite been one a day like I had hoped ( perhaps a bit ambitious there ) but my collection has definitely grown , I will keep at it on my spare evenings and have a few long car and train journeys coming up this month so will be able to make good use of that time ! Here is what I have so far – I hope to at least double my collection here in time for my Gran’s birthday party !


Lastly I have been working on some silhouettes which I will be developing into character designs for a project I’m working on for a school literacy program based on king Arthur


And that’s just about everything I’ve been doing instead of writing my blog for the last two weeks – maybe not very disciplined blog wise but at least it’s evidence of creative productivity – More up dates soon !


Just a short update this week. I have started experimenting with stop motion fire techniques. This week I used feathers , coloured lighting and the timeless stop motion animators old friend cotton wool 🙂

Here is the link to my first experiment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSYLQW6zWMU&feature=youtu.be

I’ve also started the making of my Christmas presents and made my first batch of organic home made soap which is quite exciting – making Christmas presents takes a bit more time but is so much more fun than shopping !


Stop Motion Fire !

Wolf vs Llama


This week I have been working on both my wolf sculpt and Llama armature. My still joints for my Llama armature came so I have been able to re-assemble the armature into a structure that is a lot simpler than the first attempt, which hopefully means the movement and walk cycle  of the llama will be a lot smoother ( I’ll be testing it in the next week or so will keep you updated )

I’ve also been working on the wolf sculpt some more , developing colour ideas ect and painted the sculpt , which has helped a bit with the character design side of things but I still feel there is a little bit more work to do on it. But here it is for now

On Sunday , as it was what was probably the last sunny day we’ll have until July ( if we’re lucky ) I decided to venture outside and exercise the old drawing skills at Brandon hill – home to half the population of squirrels in England and also a very pretty park / hill. And so I shall leave you with this last image of the last day of summer ( not that you can tell its sunny ……. ) plus it’s autumn …….

Eventful Encounters


As some of you may know last week I volunteered for Bristol Animated Encounters Film Festival. Here is my account of everything that went on. Welcome to the world of encounters through the eyes of a volunteer!

Monday 17th and Tuesday the 18th

These were the two days that we started setting up for the festival. One of the best tasks in these first two days was going to pick up the Wallace and Gromit sets from the Aardman studios. To just be standing in the warehouse were all these sets were stored was a great honour and The sets that we later put up in the Arnolfini gallery looked amazing. They had an original model of letsby avenue ,a garden set with Gromit in his green house measuring a marrow from curse of the ware rabbit ,

2 monkeys in a cage and 2 skip dogs from the creature comfort series

and last of all my most favourite was the rocket from Wallace and Gromit’s first adventure “A Grand Day Out”.

Along side these magnificent sets was a Darren Walsh ( in association with scary cat studios) animating an episode of “Bob” live ( which was a continual event throughout the festival ) The technique he was using was effectively stop motion but the twist comes when you realize “Bob” is a human being pixilated ( directed to move as a puppet would be ) whilst wearing a mask which is replaced for each frame to create movements in the face , from expressions to lip sync. on top of that as I mentioned before he was doing this live – meaning whilst he was animating he had people walking through and watching him.

Wednesday 19th

This was the day it really felt like the festival had kicked off. I was mostly in the gallery watching the sets and the Darren Walsh live, as well as ushering several different screenings throughout the day – which involved taking people’s tickets and giving out voting forms ect After my shift I went into a screening called Aardman : from pigs to pirates and as the name suggests this involved a wide range of Aardmans short films from very early work right up to their most resent ” so you want to become a pirate” a short spin-off from their latest feature film pirates. I then went to s really superb event called Aardman in conversation which was an interview type set up with Peter Lord , David Sproxton and Nick park , They talked on a whole range of things from their early days of setting up the studio’s , their love of stop motion ( despite now having a digital aspect to the company ) They are still a stop motion Studio through and through and Wallace and Gromit will always be stop motion ( this I was very pleased to hear ! ) At then end of the talk I got to meet Nick park himself and share my gratitude for promising to never bring out a CGI Wallace and Gromit

Thursday 20th

Today I was volunteering all day up in the Dark studio at the Arnolfini. this was really great because I got to sit in on 3 fantastic classes. The First was getting it write , as you can probably guess this was all about writing scripts for animation , which was really interesting and quite useful. It involved a panel of writers from various different lines of work giving hints and tips of successful scriptwriting. The second workshop was a layout work shop called setting the scene led by Fraser MacLean. Fraser MacLean has had a lot of experience in industry including working at Disney and led a really energetic workshop as well as being really informative. The third workshop was by paul bush – an artist who experiments with film and in particular animation. Paul Bush has done some interesting films using all sorts of different techniques such as scratching into film and pixilation. His workshop was a interview , with some clips of his work and an open Q and A session at the end. I think Thursday was the day I learnt the most and picked up lots of helpful advice. After my shift I went to the screening of paranorman which was amazing ! It’s been really encouraging to see so many stop motion feature films in the past few years. Paranorman is a great horror movie that is suitable for children , I really like it when directors push the guide lines a bit when it comes to making Films some might say paranorman has taken it too far and is too scary for children but as co director sam fell said in the Q and A session after the screening is that it’s ok for children to be a bit scared ( a few of the characters even mention in the film “it’s ok to be afraid”) of what they are seeing on screen as long as they see it resolved in the end. I totally agree with this and think being afraid is part of not only growing up but of life in general and if you can learn to handle fear from a young age that it gives you a good advantage in life.

Friday 21st

This was my day off from volunteering so I decided to make the most of the festival and my delegate pass. I went to a screening called on the lighter side which had lots of professional short films such as “The Gruffalo’s child” and Aardmans “so you want to be a pirate” along side some graduate/ new film makers. All the entries were outstanding and I found it really hard to vote for just one. In the end I voted for a sweet animation called “much better now” about a forgotten bookmark that finds a whole world of fun in the book he’s been stuck in. At lunch time I went over to the M shed to see the Aardman’s Pirate ship which is on display there – this isn’t really part of encounters as such but is still really awesome and very much animated related – if you’re in Bristol and  you get a chance definitely go and see it , it’s literally just inside the main entrance of the M shed and is well worth a visit.

Seeing the big pirate ship was a good lead into the afternoons activity , a workshop on Rapid prototyping led by aardmans top model maker Jim Parkyn.

It was an amazing workshop where Jim explained how for pirates all of the lip sync was animated in maya and then all the different mouth shapes are printed on a 3d printer which not only gives you a 3d model of the correct shape but can also colour and add detail too which is when we were introduced to the many mouths of the Pirate captain ( there are actually hundreds more as there were several different pirate captain puppets all with their own set of mouth shapes )

we also got to meet Pirate captain and Charles Darwin ( not a sentence you can say every day ! ) as well as some of Aardmans farmyard friends 🙂

Saturday 22nd

This unfortunately was my last day volunteering and my last day at the festival but by no means any less interesting than the other days. I started off in the Gallery and Ushering and got to sit in on a screening called the children’s jury which was put together for children with the films being selected by children. There was a lot of nice sweet films and I got to see “much better now” again and I was no less impressed for seeing it the second time. For the afternoon I was ushering again but at a very unique venue. This time it was a 1967 vintage mobile cinema which was bought about 8 years by a lovely couple called Ollie and Emma , who did it up and now travel round everywhere with it showing all sorts of interesting and non mainstream films.

And that folks is my tale of the animated encounters festival ! or should  I say the high lights! there were lots and lots of fantastic moments and good times meeting new people and catching up with old friends , and lots that I also didn’t get to see but these have been my best bits !

Onwards and upwards!


well It’s been about a month since my last post which means it’s time to fill you all in on what I’ve been up too! I left you all with images of my llama armature nice and complete and have now moved on to finishing the building of the puppets. The main one I’ve been working on is the spoon crab because I really wasn’t happy with the body shape I had made. Just to remind you here is the sculpt of how I want the finished character to look : Image

This is how the puppet was looking :


So I decided to re do the body to look more like the sculpt and ended up using a squeezy lemon juice carton – odd but it works :

Image He still need quite a bit of work but he is getting there ! there is something about the yellow lemon juice carton which I think makes him look quite funny , but I plan to paint and disguise his body to look less like a blue peter project and more natural creature like.

I’ve also got a new project in the pipeline it’s not set in stone yet but if it goes ahead its an advert for a local hot sauce business called Dr. Burnorium’s Hot Sauce Emporium based in st nicks market ( the website is http://www.hotsauceemporium.co.uk/ ). I can’t tell you much about the project itself, but it’s going to be an online advert using the company’s already existing logo / mascot Dr. Burnorium. ( see website above he’s plastered all over it! ) This is a project I’m very excited about not only because it would be  my first time working for someone else , but the story it’s self is a really fun project not to mention being able to use an already existing exciting character. If all does go ahead, I plan to post pictures of the sculpt and puppet of Dr. B but nothing that could give away the plot until the project is finished and released. So far I have this drawing which is the beginning of the study I am carrying out on Dr.b ( please note Dr. B is not my character the drawings sculpt’s and puppet will all be my work but they entirely based on the already existing Dr .B character ) Image

This is his face ( it’s not picture perfect ) I’m attempting to draw first of all his face from the angle I have available from the companies logo to familiarize myself with his features. Next I will be attempting a side on veiw by going from what I have learned from simply copying the logo ( fingers crossed it will work )

If we get the go ahead I have decided to work on both projects at the same time by getting all the set / puppet making done ( which shouldn’t be too hard because I’ve not got much more to do on back to the brink) and then I plan to take some time off work to just animate my ass off ending with two nicely polished animations to show off 😀 watch this space!

Llama walk cycle


While I’ve been waiting for my extra llama parts to come, I have been working out a walk cycle to try out once the armature is complete. This is what I have come up with ( it was all drawn free hand the actual size and shape of the llama varies a little but its just an idea of how I’m going to get my puppet to move , I also need to work on the head movement during the walk cycle as this cycle really only focuses on the legs )

Also I need to work out a decent run cycle which is always a lot harder than a walk cycle – what ever the creature but I have found some  good reference points from Edweard Muybridge ( basically the grand father of walk cycles  so if you don’t know who he is check him out !!)

more Llama armature coming soon stay posted !



Its all very exciting ! from building a standard human armature a few weeks ago to now tackling a quadruped and a Llama quadruped at that which had a few more joints than your standard quadruped – or at least what comes with the quadruped pack ! Still , nothing like a good old challenge to keep you on your toes. I started off looking at Llama skeletons and watching/filming/photographing live Llamas and my word , llamas are a lot more talented than I ever thought ! Did you know they can scratch their head with their back leg? they can !

Below are two reference pictures of a llama’s skeleton that I used to work how many joints I needed. These are not my own they were sourced from mountlehmanllamas.com/thumbphotoindex.html and http://www.pnas.org/content/96/11/f7.expansion.html


Together with the pictures above and the working drawing that came with the regular quadruped armature from http://www.animationsupplies.net as seen here:

I then did the working drawing for the llama armature which looks like this :









unfortunately I then realized the fault in my hip design and because of the way the llamas hips and joints are positioned I would need joints that look more like I redrew below. Which means waiting for more parts to come :s this llama is costing quite a bit but hopefully it will all pay off come animating time – in the mean time I’m going to be working out a walk and run cycle for the llama – pictures up soon !