STOPMO JAM 4 Behind the Scenes!

Post your behind the scenes photos here. I took a couple of snaps from the Robot Dance Title sequence. I made the puppet out of Sculpey and Armature wire in about a week. Animation took 5 days and Rig removal took about the same. It was very last minute as I was extended on Pinocchio by 6 weeks which cut into my time a bit, but I got 'er done! Please feel free to post your pics and share your experience.


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    • The feet never touch the ground. I cheated, hehehehe!

  • There's a bts video of my jam4 for anyone who wants to have a look.. 



    some pics... 



    • Hey, James

      that's a wonderful set!

      what material did you use for create the rocks?

    • Hey Antonio, thanks for the positive feedback..

      I loved your animation actually, I'd like to know more about how you shot that scene of your spacemen falling through the sky then onto the surface of the object flying.. That was so so good.. I was impressed..

      I had no script or storyboard at any time during my jam4, so I was just exploring ideas to see what worked, what didn't, I started off with polystyrene packaging, I had here, to build out the set, then got some expansion foam and then decided on curved steps, a mate gave me some left over foam sheets and bits, I'm not sure what type it's called, but soon as the steps were built, and sprayed some expansion foam over bits to build out the landscape, then I started to get an idea of what I was doing, then started trying to carve some shapes for rocks out of the sheets of foam bits over, to give some more definition of shape, and height, and interest to the set.. You can see all of the progress in the bts vid, and I think in the pics there, you can see that I improved the rocks, I actually ended up using real rocks from my garden, blue pennant stone, I felt it gave the set some authenticity, amazing texture on these rocks, and colour.. Spent days arranging, rearranging until I was happy enough with the layout, then I was hoping to drill holes into the rocks and anchor the rocks to the set with threaded 8mm / 10mm  rods but that didn't work, they cracked even using 4mm, so I carved holes into the expansion foam for the rocks to sit, and then more expansion foam to secure them in place.. they are heavy, I had visions of them falling on the floor in the middle of the night animation studio, is a front room in an upstairs flat.. So I had to make sure I secured these solid to the set.. Same with the rocks where my robot is sitting nesr the cave fire and behind the fire, these are all real rocks from the garden, also had to secure them onto the set, used screws all the way around the base of the rocks, and covered with tile adhesive cement that I used for the floor and the cave walls and steps, and everything, and used expansion foam behind the parts of the rocks you can't see, to give extra support, theres parts where i had two rocks ontop of one another.. Rigging was abig issue on this set.. So that's my secret out lol..I couldn't make those rocks, almost obelisks, as good as using real rocks, at least not at the moment.. 


    • You really have an almost shadow box- looking setup. Deeper, though. I really dug the layers of focus and shift from foreground. The next time you shoot on glass, you can create the illusion of a floor being walked on by having a vertical plank of wood joining the glass at a 90 degree angle and having the camera loom over the set and look slightly down and backwards. That really sells "gravity" in 2.5-D clay on glass and you won't have to armature the puppet(s).

    • Such a great look James, really nice having that arch so there is a sense of a ceiling to the cave.  The steps in the distance look really good too., it leads the eye back and makes you feel there is more to this world than you can see.  That set deserves a longer piece with more time to tell a story!  But then you'd be needing other camera angles and making more set, and maybe an exterior view, and adjusting the lighting rig to work with those angles, still more work, that's how it goes.

    • Hey Nick,

      Thanks, yeah that arch / ceiling idea, I think makes all the difference.. that's what it was lacking before I build the cave out.. I mean I started with just the steps, and that mound to each side.. then a bit of foreground rocks, then the more I realised it was a cave idea that I was going for, I felt it needed more set built.. plus as you know, I was trying to keep the camera as far back as my set up allowed.. to increase the DOF on the set.. and I want to thank you for that Nick, awesome suggestion / advice.. I think that may have been the singular moment that helped me to know what I was doing, because I had no idea at that time what camera angle I was going for, what the finished set would look like.. it took a long time before it all came together.. yeah I think the moment I did the steps was the first moment I had when I knew the eye needs to lead upto the top of the steps.. so that was my backdrop, then the green screen behind.. wasn't sure what I was going to use at this time.. although whatever I choose for the key background I knew it had to be the source of the light on set.. like the moon, or planet whatever..  perhaps I should push on with this set and tell a story.. but yeah it would need more set built to get other working angles to shoot.. and lighting would have to change again, but I guess I'm going to have to start thinking one shot at a time, and not worry about trying to set up for the whole scene.. just work one shot at a time, get the lighting right.. I don't know, I'll figure it out as I go along.. that's what I normally do.. 

    • Woah, that's incredible! Super Nice set, James.


    • thanks Chris, glad you like.. 

    • Hi James. Really you did a tremendous effort and amount of job for a unique 20 seconds shot; but it resulted visually spectacular!

      As a curiosity: will you destroy completely your set or will keep it for future usage? it looks be large for store in anyplace.

      About my shot I will do a "behind the scenes" video soon. The final scene of falling was a complicated work in post, I spend a lot of time adjusting precisely the size, movements and syncrony of all layers. All elements were filmed separately : the astronaut, the background, the flying creature and a near plane of back of the creature for do the oscilation at hit.


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