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Do stop motion animators use the same set(s) over and over for stop motions?

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I guess that reuse of some set pieces and props is common. But sets are generally changing a lot each time the camera change angle. And they tend to take up quite some space. So break down and rebuild, is going on all the time.

I keep most of my props, like furniture and small objects, and re-use them.  I keep costumes too, though I always seem to need something different for the next film, most of the time.  Except shoes, I get many uses out of those.

I have been able to re-use some sets a couple of times, but not often.  I keep them for years, don't use them, eventually throw them out or turn them into something else, and then I have an idea where I could have used them!   For storage, it helps that most interior sets -  walls of a room - can fold flat for storage, but there are limits to how much I can keep.  

Some sets, like a forest scene, have to get re-arranged after every shot, so I can show a different part of the forest while using the same trees turned around a different way.  The ground eventually gets scarped off and re-painted for something else, but I keep the trees and rocks and some small foliage.

i think if you make a set that could be used in many scenarios you could like im making a large forest set which could be reused many times  

Ive just had 3 tables built specifically, that can be arranged together in different ways (L shape, long or wide) with space for a tops to be replaced after use if needed.And underneath shelves.

I cant wait till they arrive.

I will be re using them so every time i make sets up I will create blocks (for trees etc) to be anchored and then removed and stored for other needs and  I'll try to keep the base landscapes at a bare minimum so easy to re-use. Im complete beginner though. Hopefully its a good idea :)

that reminds me i was planning on designing a animation table that had way more functionality then the standard design but never got around to it i know what I'm doing this weekend.

Is it possible to have one set for all of your stop motions?

You can have one table and top, and put different things on it.  A single set of walls to make a room can be re-painted and different props and furniture added, too.  

Or, if you are mostly shooting green screen, you would have one set, just somewhere green to put the puppet.  You would use photos, or video, for your background.  That is pretty much what Richard Svensson (Bluworm on Youtube) does with all his Lovecraft inspired shorts - he builds the monster puppets and animates them on the same green set (and also shoots live actors against a green screen), and combines different stock images to make the worlds they inhabit.  It gives him an unlimited range of environments, without physically building any sets, or having to store them.  

Hi Nick
can you recommend any green screen lessons/toots/courses online? Im pretty much a beginner and very keen :)

StopmoNick said:

You can have one table and top, and put different things on it.  A single set of walls to make a room can be re-painted and different props and furniture added, too.  

Or, if you are mostly shooting green screen, you would have one set, just somewhere green to put the puppet.  You would use photos, or video, for your background.  That is pretty much what Richard Svensson (Bluworm on Youtube) does with all his Lovecraft inspired shorts - he builds the monster puppets and animates them on the same green set (and also shoots live actors against a green screen), and combines different stock images to make the worlds they inhabit.  It gives him an unlimited range of environments, without physically building any sets, or having to store them.  

Hi Seiki,

I use After Effects for green screen chroma keying.  It has a plug-in that comes with it, called Keylight 1.2, which does a fantastic job.  AE costs money, on a monthly subscription rate, which I can't justify since I don't earn any income from it.  I am lucky, I still have an older version on my 2008 Mac Pro which was a one-off purchase, so I can use that.  And sometimes I can access an up-to-date version that my partner has through her employer.

I am not very skilled with AE, I just use it for a couple of things.  The great thing about Keylight in AE is that it can recognise edges, and take away the greenish border that you get around the edges of the puppet. 

There are definitely tutorials on YouTube for doing green screen in AE. Just google.

I put detailed instructions here on another thread, just a few weeks ago, going through all the steps I do to key out green screen with Keylight.  I'll see if I can find it...

But I would rather recommend something that is less expensive or free, unless you want to work professionally post production - then AE is industry standard, and worth being familiar with.  I intend to look into keying with Da Vinci Resolve, a great pro editor.  I use the free version for my final edit, but have not really looked into the Fusion side of it, which does effects.  It might be just as good.  Fusion is a different approach though, and I haven't got my head around it yet.  As long as my old computer with AE still works I have been too lazy to learn a new way of doing it.  Usually time is short so you just go with what you know to get it done.

As far as shooting,  the basics apply whatever software you use. 

Light the green screen (cloth, painted card, whatever) as evenly as you can.  The smaller the range of greens from hot spots to shaded areas, the easier it will be to get rid of the background with out also keying out bits of the puppet which are just a little bit greenish.  

Avoid green colours on the puppet.  This can include the effect of blueish light on yellow costumes, or yellowish light on light blue colours.   If the green screen is very uneven, you need to keep the puppet well away from even a hint of green.

I've looked at a couple of green screen tutorials using Da Vinci Resolve, both with the Colour page and with Fusion.  Here's one showing both:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-D4Q21VphY&t=3s     I searched "Da Vinci Resolve green screen" and found them.

It looks like it can do just as well as AE, at least where he uses Fusion. Fusion can take out the greenish in the hair, like Keylight in AE does. I think there is a limit on resolution with the free version, maybe Ultra HD/4k 3840 x 2160, which means I would have to scale down my original images from my Canon 7d (5184 x 3456) first.  I am used to doing keying and wire removal at full resolution, then cropping and scaling down to HD.   

One caveat with this and the other tutorials I saw though, they all have a very even green screen, hard to achieve if you are working in a small space with a couple of desk lamps.  So I would like to see how it works with a crappy green screen shot, where the puppet casts a shadow on the screen, and there are hot spots in the lighting.  Especially if you have the puppet standing on the green cloth so you can see the feet, you can't get the green that perfect.  

Thankyou :) Yup i dont wish to invest in AE as you guessed its not my money maker but i did DL Da Vinci Resolve not long ago. That i am just beginning to delve into. The story that i am wanting to do is all based in a forest set with mountains and caves covered in green foliage and moss so I am going to have to replace the green screen with blue arent i? I just re-found your youtube so i will go through them for inspiration too :) i think i subscribed awhile ago.

I got all set up ready to go for it then had to move and have only just landed a studio space (4 months later) so i am setting it up at the moment. Completely enthusiasticand pumped to get started ..so much to learn and only 1 lifetime!
Gratitude

S


StopmoNick said:

I've looked at a couple of green screen tutorials using Da Vinci Resolve, both with the Colour page and with Fusion.  Here's one showing both:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-D4Q21VphY&t=3s     I searched "Da Vinci Resolve green screen" and found them.

It looks like it can do just as well as AE, at least where he uses Fusion. Fusion can take out the greenish in the hair, like Keylight in AE does. I think there is a limit on resolution with the free version, maybe Ultra HD/4k 3840 x 2160, which means I would have to scale down my original images from my Canon 7d (5184 x 3456) first.  I am used to doing keying and wire removal at full resolution, then cropping and scaling down to HD.   

One caveat with this and the other tutorials I saw though, they all have a very even green screen, hard to achieve if you are working in a small space with a couple of desk lamps.  So I would like to see how it works with a crappy green screen shot, where the puppet casts a shadow on the screen, and there are hot spots in the lighting.  Especially if you have the puppet standing on the green cloth so you can see the feet, you can't get the green that perfect.  

Since yesterday, I followed the steps in a Da Vinci Resolve guide from the Blackmagic website, and I was able to get a good key from a furry cat puppet against green screen.  I can confirm that the Delta Keyer in Fusion can do what Keylight in AE does.  Different ways to get there, or different names for what are pretty much the same functions, but similar results. It was the first time I even clicked on the Fusion page, so I made a few mistakes and had to backtrack several times, but I got there.

I downloaded a whole set of guides, which come with exercises and files to download, but I used my own green screen images instead of theirs. There is a Beginner's Guide, and guides for audio post with Fairlight, and the Fusion Visual Effects guide I followed. 

I did scale and crop my originals down from 5184 x 3456 to 3840 x 2160 and save as a QT mov file first, because I don't know if I can load the full size into the free Resolve, or even if it will load an image sequence of jpegs.  But that is still big enough to let me preserve most of the fine hairs around the edges.  I didn't do all the tweaking that is possible, or try the Garbage Matte and Holdout Matte.  That will be another lesson. Next i will see if I can load full size images in - but for this test I didn't want any extra hassles.

I was able to put a background image underneath and save the composite.  I did not see how I could save the cat layer with a transparent background so I could try it on different backgrounds later, as I usually do in AE, by saving as PNG files with Alpha channel. I didn't see an option for RGB + Alpha either as images or movies.  There might be one, I don't know what all the file formats are like.

So, if the trees are part of your foreground set, then yes,  you do need to key with a colour that does not appear in the trees. If it is  blue screen, hit the puppets with a warm light, you can adjust the colour temperature back to the cooler shades after you have keyed out the blue if you need to.  

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