Hi,

i have a question related to animating some kind of a ball,like football or a tennis ball. I'm creating  a scene where my clay character is kicking a ball into the air,and i don't know how to achieve the ball to fly through the air in some direction and stay in the air for some time...any help?

Also i'm doing the same scene type but with pixilation-I will be the kicker and have to figure it out how to keep the ball in the air :)

Final question..is using Photoshop,Gimp or similar software allowed in stop motion? For example removing wires,glue and other supporting materials out of frames.

Thanks for all the help :)

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Google the phrase "rig removal animation".  There are many well-documented ways to do this, and they all depend on the tools available to the animator.

Here's a tutorial on digitally erasing a rig using Photoshop: http://www.stopmoshorts.net/?p=221

It's not cheating! It's done quite commonly. Hmmm - doing he same thing in pixilation? I suppose you could as long as your camera is locked down, though you;ll run into problems due to moving shadows. You might have to grab pieces of other frames and patch them in from time to time to make everything match.

Thanks,i'm not familiar with all the english terms that i need yet :) 
So i guess using photoshop,etc. is a part of a post-production?
Rig removal is basicly the same for clay or lego or pixilation animation,right?

Pretty much.  If you're compositing the clay character into a background then you can remove the supporting wires and strings in a tool like photoshop before compositing.

If you're NOT compositing and need to edit the wire out of the actual frame, then you need a picture of the background with no character so you can replace the wire area with "real" background.

thanks guys,this helps a lot! 
It will be much easier using photoshop just to remove wires or edit/patch some little parts of a frame.

@Strider: In pixilation part the camera will be locked down,my main concern was how to keep the ball in the air and kicking it on the other side, I guess i will use some thin wire (like on a fishing rod) to keep the football in the air while kicking..and later just remove the wire in photoshop :)

If you can, use a small enough wire and you don't need to remove it.  Also it helps to paint the wire black or colors close to the background so it blends in with the background.

Or you could attach the ball to something like a tripod, which allows you to move it up and down fluidly if it's a crank-style tripod, and then you can digitally erase the tripod from the scene. If you use thin wires then you need something high overhead to attach them to, which to me sounds difficult compared to the simplicity of sliding a tripod across the ground. 

if the wire method was to be used, what would you recommend to place on the top?

You mean to hang the wires from? That would depend on what's there. If you're filming on a street for instance you might be able to attach the wires to a balcony, or maybe the edge of the roof of a house or something. Maybe a tree, though that sounds nightmarish to me - I can't imagine how you could keep climbing up and smoothly move the wires forward so the ball moves with them. 

The ideal solution would be a crane, but who can afford a crane? 

It might be easier to just composite in a still picture of a ball and manipulate that frame by frame in post production. Personally I'd go for the tripod method so you're shooting a real ball that's actually there with the actors. 

Yeah I think crane is out of reach, I'm also about to start shooting a short with a lot of bouncing balls, it's gonna be shot on my room, so if you've got any suggestions for that I'd love to hear what you have :) as I've been considering the idea of wire for a while now because I want to stay out of compositing if I can at all

Strider said:

You mean to hang the wires from? That would depend on what's there. If you're filming on a street for instance you might be able to attach the wires to a balcony, or maybe the edge of the roof of a house or something. Maybe a tree, though that sounds nightmarish to me - I can't imagine how you could keep climbing up and smoothly move the wires forward so the ball moves with them. 

The ideal solution would be a crane, but who can afford a crane? 

What kind of ceiling do you have? Is it rafters, finished plasteboard, or a false ceiling with big acoustical tiles? (Or something else?)

A basement room would be ideal if it has rafters and rough wooden planks because you could put nails in. With the false ceiling you could hang wires right from the framework, or with a finished plasterboard ceiling you'd have to use tape or something. Wait - I can't say that, becasue if you use tape and pull off some paint then I''l probably get sued!  

One possibility - you could have a ball right against the wall, and stick it to the wall somehow. I'm not sure how to do that though. 

Ok, here's a thought. You could make a fake pillar or 2 in your room - just a piece of wood that stands from floor to ceiling, Then you could have a thick wire wrapped around it and attached to a ball. If you position the ball right it will hide the wire. Then I guess use tacks or nails or tape or something to hold the wire up each time you slide it up or down. 

I don't know what kind of scene you want to shoot, and it might not work to have a fake pillar behind each ball. 

Another possibility - a big piece of plexiglass (transparent plastic like glass). Have it in a frame, like buy a big poster frame with clear plastic in it. Stand this up in front of the camera - it needs to be close enough so the camera can't see the edges of the frame at all, so you'd need to shoot fairly close shots, no wide angle shots that show the whole room all at once. Then stick the balls to it with tape or sticky wax or something. 

If using fishing line to hold the balls, why not go the extra mile and use another helper use a fishing rod?

So long as the image is cropped relatively closely to the actors, and not a great distance over their heads, you should be able to have someone hold the rod just out of frame with the ball dangling on the line... which would barely be visible and likely wouldn't need to be edited out in post.

The only issue would be the ball possibly spinning on it's own or with wind, but that may actually help you by giving a slight motion blur to it.

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