hello i am currently working on a project where there is a pond filled with fish that will be moving and plants. I will also have my character touch the water. I havent built my character yet because i am not sure what is the best material if water will be a big component in my story and the character will be touching water and maybe even swim in it. Also the pond will have a waterfall, so i am assuming that i will have to create a running water effect and water ripples. i have a canon t3i with the 35-15ml lens that it came with. Also i want it to look somewhat realistic. Should i just use real water and have a motor circulate the water like making a mini fountain? But then i would think that the pictures might not transform smoothly.Is there a more practical way? thanks

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Someone on the old site posted a wonderful film in which he used translucent wallpaper paste for water. It was fantastic. Someone here might remember the name. 

I don't think real water would work at all. It would jitter all over the place and just be a mess to deal with. 

I suspect you'd want to use several separate pieces of clear resin for the waterfall, each piece switched out after one frame.  You could probably get away with a "loop" of about half a dozen pieces. Either that or do it with the same wallpaper paste technique as mentioned above.

Ron Cole's "In the Fall of Gravity" has a lovely waterfall painted frame by frame. Probably a little more lyrical and less realistic than you're looking for. 

Also, I think StopmoNick has some nifty CGI water clips with stop motion fish on his website.

That was a music video - Charlie Darwin by The Low Anthem:

For a waterfall I think a loop of plastic wrap would work nicely. 

If you need fish swimming in the water, you probably want to animate the fish suspended in the air using rigs and digitally erase the rigs, then superimpose some kind of water effect. 

Heh - I don't think you understand the enormity of what you're biting off here though... to do water effects well aint easy.. 

How realistic will you want it to look will make the biggest difference on what your options are.

From my own experience, I have 'created' water 3 different ways - each stylized in their own way.

In my most recent work, Barbie's Having a Bad Day: The Car Wash, I used clear plastic wrap to create water effects for the hose and bucket splash.

In 'Jesus Died for His Peeps,' being in the bright and colorful world of Easter candy, I went with translucent blue cellophane. (can be seen at about the 18 second mark)

I also have used in practically all of my works (including Barbie) KY Jelly (died with Kool Aid mix) for some sort of liquid effect (tears in 'Barbie,' blood in 'Vanity,' and the juice in 'Banned'). It looks and acts like water, but, because it's thicker, it moves slow enough to work and animate with it.

A layer or two of clear plastic wrap over glass (with the fish and plants below it) would probably be the easiest method, should give decent results, and, best of all, would keep everything on your set dry and easily manageable.

Likewise, I have also heard of using wallpaper paste as Grecodan mentions as well as petroleum jelly. Both are thick enough to hold their shape while filming, but (if a thin enough layer) still relatively clear and react to light properly. Of course, the problem with them is that you're constantly having to clean, dry, and reapply it as needed.

Whichever method you use for the pond, I'd recommend using for the waterfall as well so they match.

I,m diong a little animating on a short film called Grace Under Water, set mostly at a public swimming pool. The director wanted to do all the water as practical in-camera effects.
For the water surface, he has a sheet of perspex, with hair gel on top, then a sheet of clear plastic film - thicker tan cling wrap. He is ruffling the surface with his fingers, every frame. Ther is no attempt at directional flow, or a particular wave moving progressively from frame to frame, it's random, but to my surprise it actually works for the surface of a pool.
Splashes are done with cellophane, and they look really great.
When we get to the underwater shots, the characters will be suspended on wires. The same sheet of perspex and hair gel will be placed above, even when it isn't in shot, so the lighting will pass through it. That makes nice ripply light on the pool sides and the characters underwater.

It actually looks better shot at 12 fps, then stretched to 24 with frame blending, to slow and smooth it a little.

I've cheated and used a cgi water effect a couple of times.

For really still water, I use wallpaper paste, because it moves around less than plain water. With that i can have puppets wadind in the pond if i choose - the drawback is, they don't make any ripples.

thanks for your response grecodan, i like the resin idea. I am going to play around with that and see if i like how it reads on film. Also, thanks for the clips suggestions. I looked up the in the fall of gravity, this gave me the idea that i could mix the water effect i create on the stage and then edit it on photoshop or after effects to make it look more real. And i really love StopmoNick, i always watch his videos for ideas and tutorials. 

grecodan said:

Someone on the old site posted a wonderful film in which he used translucent wallpaper paste for water. It was fantastic. Someone here might remember the name. 

I don't think real water would work at all. It would jitter all over the place and just be a mess to deal with. 

I suspect you'd want to use several separate pieces of clear resin for the waterfall, each piece switched out after one frame.  You could probably get away with a "loop" of about half a dozen pieces. Either that or do it with the same wallpaper paste technique as mentioned above.

Ron Cole's "In the Fall of Gravity" has a lovely waterfall painted frame by frame. Probably a little more lyrical and less realistic than you're looking for. 

Also, I think StopmoNick has some nifty CGI water clips with stop motion fish on his website.

Thanks for your comment Strider. the video is great, it gives me something visually to stride for. the light reflects nicely with the water created for this video. Is the water dyed slightly blue, by any chance? And thanks about the plastic wrap loop idea, i will try this, i think this will create a nice water fall. and yeah i know it's going to be really hard to get the water effect and a lot of work. which is why i am asking for some help here. I hope with the suggestions on here that i will avoid many of the problems that i will run into. 

Strider said:

That was a music video - Charlie Darwin by The Low Anthem:

For a waterfall I think a loop of plastic wrap would work nicely. 

If you need fish swimming in the water, you probably want to animate the fish suspended in the air using rigs and digitally erase the rigs, then superimpose some kind of water effect. 

Heh - I don't think you understand the enormity of what you're biting off here though... to do water effects well aint easy.. 

hey Sean O'Hara ( i love your last name), anyways i want it to look realistic but in a sort of magical way. I am not really sure how to explain it exactly but i can see it clearly in my head (i know it's not much help). In other words i want it to be transparent and very natural (with the movement of actual water). I also want for light to reflect on the water in a very magical kind of way.

Also thank you so much for the video clips on your channel. Your animation is really great, i really like how the water looked in the barbie's having a bad day video, the hose water and tears. And the KY jelly for the tears on the barbie looks so real. I though it was real water (and that you had a really fast camera).

also the plastic wrap on the glass sheet is a great idea. that way i can have the fish moving under the glass and it will look so natural. thanks you so much for your reply.


Sean O'Hara said:

How realistic will you want it to look will make the biggest difference on what your options are.

From my own experience, I have 'created' water 3 different ways - each stylized in their own way.

In my most recent work, Barbie's Having a Bad Day: The Car Wash, I used clear plastic wrap to create water effects for the hose and bucket splash.

In 'Jesus Died for His Peeps,' being in the bright and colorful world of Easter candy, I went with translucent blue cellophane. (can be seen at about the 18 second mark)

I also have used in practically all of my works (including Barbie) KY Jelly (died with Kool Aid mix) for some sort of liquid effect (tears in 'Barbie,' blood in 'Vanity,' and the juice in 'Banned'). It looks and acts like water, but, because it's thicker, it moves slow enough to work and animate with it.

A layer or two of clear plastic wrap over glass (with the fish and plants below it) would probably be the easiest method, should give decent results, and, best of all, would keep everything on your set dry and easily manageable.

Likewise, I have also heard of using wallpaper paste as Grecodan mentions as well as petroleum jelly. Both are thick enough to hold their shape while filming, but (if a thin enough layer) still relatively clear and react to light properly. Of course, the problem with them is that you're constantly having to clean, dry, and reapply it as needed.

Whichever method you use for the pond, I'd recommend using for the waterfall as well so they match.

Check this out. He posts here regularly. Maybe he'll chime in. 

(BTW, I like the first shots in this clip better!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYO7-aP6GA

Hey StopomoNick, thanks for your reply, i really love you youtube channel i watch it all the time ( i am new to this website). Also thanks for the ideas gel on perspex glass will be a great way for me to do this especially because gel would be cheaper than other products ( i can buy them at a dollar at the dollar store). 

also, my video will have a lot of underwater scenes. how exactly are the characters suspended with wire? is it on the side of the figure so it's out of the cameras view? or are the characters hanging from the wire? or are they being held up with wire? this will be a great help, thanks. Also having the perspex with gel on top of the figures for the shots is a great idea. Do you swirl the gel on top of the perspex for each frame to create a change in water ripples, so that it looks like moving water? thanks

StopmoNick said:

I,m diong a little animating on a short film called Grace Under Water, set mostly at a public swimming pool. The director wanted to do all the water as practical in-camera effects.
For the water surface, he has a sheet of perspex, with hair gel on top, then a sheet of clear plastic film - thicker tan cling wrap. He is ruffling the surface with his fingers, every frame. Ther is no attempt at directional flow, or a particular wave moving progressively from frame to frame, it's random, but to my surprise it actually works for the surface of a pool.
Splashes are done with cellophane, and they look really great.
When we get to the underwater shots, the characters will be suspended on wires. The same sheet of perspex and hair gel will be placed above, even when it isn't in shot, so the lighting will pass through it. That makes nice ripply light on the pool sides and the characters underwater.

It actually looks better shot at 12 fps, then stretched to 24 with frame blending, to slow and smooth it a little.

I've cheated and used a cgi water effect a couple of times.

For really still water, I use wallpaper paste, because it moves around less than plain water. With that i can have puppets wadind in the pond if i choose - the drawback is, they don't make any ripples.

thanks i just watched it. I agree i like the first shots as well. it looks great, it falls into what i want to create.

grecodan said:

Check this out. He posts here regularly. Maybe he'll chime in. 

(BTW, I like the first shots in this clip better!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYO7-aP6GA

Swimming underwater is done the same as jumping or flying. The support wire will be thick armature wire, or possibly a ball and socket jointed arm, that attaches to the side of the puppet away from camera. You erase the wire frame by frame in post production. Either you take a frame of just the background without the puppets at the start of the shot, or just use a different frame where the wire was somewhere else, and put that image on a layer underneath the frame where you are erasing the wire. You don't want the wire going in front of the puppet if you can help it.
For a test animation of a fish, I had a vertical rod underneath, poking into the belly. It was on a flat piece of wood underneath (below the edge of frame), and I just slid the whole thing around the table. Then I erased the bit of rod that showed, in TV Paint.
Sometimes you can conceal a stiff wire behind the puppet, going into the background, so it is hidden from the camera - I used to do that where possible, back when I shot on 16mm film.
I just watched Ken's river video - I like the earlier versions too. A contiuous strip of cling wrap is better than a set of panels with visible edges going by.

Lol so, are you setting out to disprove the old adage that Katts don't like water? 

Ok sorry - anyway, I noticed you said this at the top of the page:

"i have a canon t3i with the 35-15ml lens that it came with."

 (I'll ignore the fact that lenses are measured in mili-meters, not mili-Liters.. unless you're concerned with how much water it can hold?  :0 )

You don't want to use that lens, because you won't be albe to control what it's focused on - it'll be auto-focusing and auto-exposing all over the place, differently for each frame. This is a problem when you're shooting stopmotion with a DSLR - what you have to do is get a lens that isn't made to work on your camera  and use an adapter - this breaks the electronic communication between camera and lens and doesn't allow the camera's little flea-brain to take over and auto-correct everything from the way you want it. Also important - you need to get a lens (or lenses) that let you adjust focus and aperture (iris, exposure) physically/manually by twisting a ring on the lens itself - NOT through menu controls or what's known as fly-by-wire where there are rings onthe lens to turn, but they don't actually physically change the focus or exposure - they're actually just cleverly-disguised switches leading electronically to the camera's little evil brain. 

Here's a thread with some good info on using Nikon lenses on a Canon, which is a great option. You can also use other brands - there are adapters made for many different kinds of lenses. Personally I haven't done any research on using adapters on a Canon - all my knowledge concerns my mIcro 4/3rds camera and the lenses that can be adapted to it. But on that thread there is some good info Nick has shared with us. Start with the third paragraph of the post I linked to and read on from there (up to that point the thread is about something different - from there it's about Nikon lenses on a Canon). 

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