Instead of repeatedly acting things out every few frames we decided to film me on some of the harder actions. I assure you the fact that Im wearing pretty much the same top as the character was completely intentional, I'd definitely call myself a method actor.
So we knew we wanted pretty dark, atmospheric lighting. Unbelievably we thought about before hand which turned out to be a freakin' blessing cause i had no idea how long lights take to set up, especially if you don't know what you want. Heres a couple of the tests we did.
Blue Filter Close to lamp-
Way too dark, would lose all colour of set and character
Blue close to set-
Still too blue
Double tracing paper over light-
Nice contrast but might bleach the character a little
Green filter close to light-
Blates too green
Green close to set-
Could work, but again would probably be too dominant
Blue & tracing paper close to set-
Really awesome looking, looks like moon light
Single tracing close to set-
Not as interesting but it fills the whole room while it still being obvious that the window is the light source.
So after I'd done a rough story board in my sketch book i neatened it up a little bit and filmed it on animation paper, it doesnt have any sound but you get the idea. Please look out for the scenes i've so clearly ripped off.
Seen as though our guy was gunna go from deathly boredom to questionable mental health i had a few ideas of films that would be good research for behavior and story ideas. Firstly i looked at some prison based films to see how they get by on their lonesome,
'The Shawshank Redemption'
'The Great Escape'
And of course 'Chicken Run'
A scene that i believe is used in all 3 is the protagonist being put in solitary and bouncing a ball against the wall, obviously Chicken Run used this as an homage to The Great Escape and I was was blatantly gunna steal it. Also we see here the dreary cell with water dripping down and markings on the wall for days. Now i had to address the sightly insane part of the story.
'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'
Cuckoo's Nest is definitely closer to the tone of our film but i had to steal the bit from 'Jacob's Ladder' with the mental guys head going crazy. I knew I wanted that as a close up shot.
So after doing a fair few designs in my sketchbook the end product ended up being ridiculously simple, this kinda makes sense though as i had already decided his head was pretty much gunna be made up of eyes and a beard also the fewer features he has the easier it is for him to be a young and old character. This was the prototype basic head
I love this head because even though it's just eyes and a nose you know exactly what he's thinking, plus he's pretty damn handsome. Next had to make two more, one for the prisoner and one for the kid, also two identical armatures for them to go on top of.
Having only done an armature once before the main thing i was looking for was to make sure i didn't restrict it's movement too much. Last time i made one i laced it with Milliput because i was afraid it would fall apart but in doing so i covered to much of the arms and legs so they couldn't bend as far as i wanted. With these i made sure it was in the right places and that the limbs and body could be moved freely.
In the research i had done into armatures they had solid bits where ever there was a bone in the body and could only bend where humans can, it was a conscious decision not to do this as i wanted him to be able to move in very extreme ways that humans can't.
After i made the hands and chrissy knocked some awesome threads together he began to take shape....
A mistake i made was not to put anything solid in the hands so we had some trouble with them melting and falling off from time to time but other than that he's a good looking bloke, just had to make the feet, a hat and give him some luscious locks.
Here he is in his natural habitat, I made the hat with a coke bottle cap covered in the same material then cut out some card for his beard and head and stuck string on for the hair, this was originally meant to be kind of gingery brown but the grey works a lot better with the cells colour scheme.
The feet were a big challenge, we had bought some magnets to put in his feet but found out they weren't strong enough to hold him up, also we decided he would be moving around the room too much to drill holes and cover them up later. Eventually we just went with some big stompers so he was self supporting, this was only really a problem at the end when he had to run off shot.
Right this is a big bastard, had to come up with a stop-frame short based on one of 3 scripts we were given. We chose one to do with a guy trapped in a cell and when i say based i mean seriously loosely based. We struggled coming up with a story at first mainly because we were a group of six and all had very different ideas of where to take it also some took rejection a little more personally than others. In the end we went for Greg's initial idea of it eventually turning out to be a boy who has been grounded and he's imagining being in prison, we then all added little ideas till we had the full story.
My main role at the start was to design and create the characters, having never done character design for a 3-D, fully pose-able model before I decided to look at some of the pro's before i jumped in.
We had already decided that there wasn't going to be any dialogue in it and if there was it wouldn't be from the main character. This naturally lead me to
the greatest silent actor in stop-frame animation............. this pimp on the right,
Gromit's eyebrows and ears are all nick park needs to display the most subtle of emotions and usually to ball-achingly hilarious effect. I knew our guy probably couldn't pull off a pair of dog ears but i was defiantly goin' for the big ol' eyebrows.
Although the eyes are a large part of portraying emotion it's the body language that will make it all the more convincing and i think the best use of this recently was the character Wybie from Coraline.
Although all the characters in Coraline are facially animated excellently Wybie gives of an amazing sense of awkwardness with a simple shrug or dragging his feet slightly. Our character is going to go through a range of emotions and if he can act anywhere near as well as this guy we'll be gravy.
In terms of appearance it has to be someone that can pass as a trampy prisoner and a small child, all i knew was that i wanted him in full, classic prison/robber attire and I couldn't stop thinking about the wolf from Tex Avery's 'Droopy'.