My first full-on stop motion project that looks like it actually might see the light of day. A short film to send out as a video Christmas card to friends an family. Not to mention just a fun project to clear my head of the corporate art job.

I'm using Dragonframe with a Canon 60D, which will be hooked up to an eMotimo TB3 motion control pan and tilt head. That'll be arriving on Monday, like an early Xmas gift! I'm thinking a slider might come in handy, but I'm not exactly made of money, so that can wait a few weeks.

The Krampus puppet is a wire armature with epoxy putty bones, cushion foam, and fake fur. The head is a combination of PaperClay with ePoxy Putty horns, ears and teeth. The jaw is a separate piece attached by aluminum wire. Not the most realistic creature, but funky enough to work for my film. I'm just happy the thing worked out this well. The head was a mixed bag of success and failure, but trial and error seems to have finally worked out. 

The set is probably the most difficult thing I've had to make for this project. I used MDF board and a bunch of scrap wood and bits of trim and from Lowes. All my power tools, miter saw, table saw, and jigsaw proved to be too big for this scale. Any suggestions on tools to work at small scale would be appreciated. It's all held together with carpenter glue. I made a lot of mistakes and had to correct them as I went along, carpentry and architecture are not my areas of expertise. Live an learn, I guess. The set still needs a few more details and to be mounted to an animation stand.



Hopefully you'll see updates on the progress in the next few days as I dress the set and costume the Krampus! Thanks.

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Very nice look on the puppet! You might want to scale back a bit on the painterly digital effect as it takes out a lot of detail. I know there is a tendency to want to clean up stop motion images when they are shot in high definition, and I have experimented with that a bit as well, but stop motion does not have to be slick to be effective.  There is a bit of glare on the teeth in that image as well, which is a shame because we can't see the nicely sculpted gums of the character.

But, despite those minor things which would be easy to fix, this looks like a cool project.

The animation is not going to have any film looks or vintage filters applied to the final cut. That last image was just taken on the iPhone and tweaked with Snapseed. I'm trying to go for an innocent Rankin and Bass look in the end. At the most I'll add an effect to make it look like film, but nothing too heavy handed.

Great job on both the puppet and the set. That fireplace is nice! Love the moulding along the bottoms of the walls, too. 

Gee, how much of a bribe would be needed to get on the mailing list of that card? 

Ha! Thanks. I'll try to finish it first, and let you know.

My first motion control camera test with Dragonframe and eMotimo TB3. Also my first time animating two puppets in a scene. Nothing spectacular. My timing seems a bit rushed at the end, but then it was 2 o'clock in the morning. This is definitely a cool way to work with a camera.

http://youtu.be/LXSKVkvVNgU

Puppets and fireplace both look great, but once seen in motion it all becomes greater than the sum of its parts! Fantastic work!! 

Thanks, Strider! At some point I'll stop with all the practice animations and get down to business! Either way, it's a satisfying way to spend the days and nights.

Amazing work so far and I'm very excited to see more as it comes.

One thing I would be careful of, especially since you mentioned the test shots, is the wear and tear on your puppets. For as good as aluminum wire is, it will still losen or snap with extended use. If you're planning on a lot more tests, I'd recommend using a stand-in...that is, unless the wires are easily replacable in your puppets, but they don't appear to be.

Once again though, I'm really enjoying your work and watching as it comes together.

Sean, you are absolutely correct. Most of my test shots have been with the man in the suit puppet. He seems to be getting quite a workout and holding up. I've gotten to a point with the Krampus model that I think I could actually build a second one with no real difficulties. It's just time consuming. I made the head interchangeable, since it was the most difficult part of the build. 

Now that I've animated with the moco rig, it's really time for me to complete the set and dress it up. I've been putting it off for too long. If I'm going to get this done by Christmas, I need to stop procrastinating 

Awesome stuff so far sir! Very much looking forward to seeing this progress.

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