Time was made for slaves

by yaz on August 13, 2010 · 8 comments

in about the film

It has been months since my last post. Time.. huh.. Months, days, hours, years. What do they all mean? Here is my film on a computer screen as blog posts. And all the things I made, Kush, Adem, tree, clock, set pieces.. are inside boxes waiting for the day to become alive again. “Waiting”: what a word to describe the meaning of time, the power of time! Waiting happens when there are “other things” take their course in time. We; me, kush and Adem are all “waiting” for the other things to leave me some time again for Chronos.

Not so much left… In a month or two I will be back here. When I was away I shot The Invasion. I will montage frames, finish that film first and then go back to Chronos. My sister has been waiting for me to finish Invasion for months too…

I love seeing Kush flying. I think I want to see her here until my next! post.

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***

Time was made for slaves. And “time”, this is for you: you will not be able to put me in chains!

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Camera Dolly and Turntable

by yaz on February 11, 2010 · 10 comments

in equipment

There are two additions to my stopmotion studio. A camera dolly and a turntable, both hand-driven and hand-made. I am going to start shooting the other film I am making with my sister soon. So, I needed these equipment now.

Camera Dolly and Turntable

I will have 2 set tables for Chronos. One is going to be the main set table with tree, clock, etc.. And the other will be this turntable where I will shoot Adem away from “time” It will be a lot of fun shooting scenes over this turntable. I did a test shot yesterday for The Invasion and it works like a charm. Here how it looks:

TURNTABLE:

Turntable

First of all I do not know if this thing is called as turntable in english. It is a set table which I can turn gradually. Anyways, turntable is in 71×104 cm dimentions. There was a rotary breakfast tray in our house we bought many years ago. We have never used that strange thing for breakfast. Things like turning a tray instead of saying -hey can you please hand me the olive- always seemed silly to me. Anyways this thing was in my studio for a long time helping a lot while painting props etc and finally it has found its real place. I mounted this thing to the hardboard piece and then mounted all to my set table. A needle pointer in front and a ruler over the table. That was it!

CAMERA DOLLY:

Camera Dolly

We (Hakan, me, Zeynep and Zeytin) assembled 2 curtain rods to an hardboard in 112×47 cm dimentions. Another 38×50 cm board goes on top of curtain rods for tripod table. We placed 2 nut washers and 2 nuts in between tripod table and curtain rods while keeping the top of the bolts inside rod rails. Another nut going on top of tripod table finished the installation. We adjusted the top of bolts to not to touch rail base. So, the tripod table can easily be moved by hand. Gradual movement is achived by a paper ruler I glued over the base board and a needle pointer on tripod table. There are small wood blocks mounted over tripod table to keep the tripod in place.

Before making this camera dolly I knew that there were other stop motionists using some wonderful camera dollies. These all gave me a lot of ideas about how to build a camera dolly. I wanted to make something very simple, hand-driven. If you like to check out some other ideas here are some URLs:

- Shelley’s Smoomoo

- Darkstrider’s camera equipment page

- Nick Hilligoss’s motor driven camera dolly

- Castlegardener’s camera dolly tutorial

- Tony’s camera dolly

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Making of Adem

by yaz on February 2, 2010 · 7 comments

in adem,armature,puppet making

Finally, I am posting about how I made Adem. Although I have posted other things separately, this post is going to be a very long one. Ok, here Adem again;

Adem

Other pictures I posted previously are located here. And a walk cycle test is here to post everything all together about Adem.

I had a ball&socket armature made for this guy last year. I do not have much space for the set so, I wanted to make Adem as small as possible. But, as I was working on the puppet, I was not able to make him look like the way I wanted. I am glad I also ordered some additional parts in the first place. So, eventually I replaced his legs with the longer ones. You may notice in the following pictures; first he is short and then he gets taller as seen with the additions to his pants. Actually, making of Adem was such a long process because I tried many different things for everthing of him like the way I cover the armature, clothing, head,… I was both trying different designs and also getting used to working with this armature. Ok, let me start:

The Head and Covering Body with Foam

There was a double ball joint on his neck. This is the way it should be for a proper movement. But, as I was trying to make him short, I saw that he was going to have a very long neck. After couple of tries, I decided to cancel one of the joints on the neck. His head is made out of super sculpey. I covered the part of joint at the top with epoxy putty after cooking some sculpey. Then covered all with sculpey and cooked again. So, there is epoxy putty inside sculpey. It seems totally working fine. They cooked well together in the oven. There is one drawback so far, I can not change the tightness of that joint.

I covered some parts of the body with foam as it is shown on the pictures. I sewn the foam instead of gluing.

And neck.. that was another problem. Because there is a sculpey head, I was not able to use latex for the neck. Sculpey and liquid latex should not touch. I have learnt this recently after having a problem with the hands and claws which I posted about it yesterday. So, I just painted foam with acrylic to make the neck. He now has a short neck and it is looking okey. Also, I was not trying to make a total human like puppet and it was fine making the neck that way for me.

Clothing

Adem in my film represents human being. Nobody special, no hero,.. So, I wanted to make ordinary things for him.

The first pic on the left top shows my cat having fun with a box full of fabric :) Old clothes of ours and friends I collected over the years. The other pictures are self explanatory. when I was a child my mother used to sew clothes for us. She had a sewing machine. It was a lot of fun for me to watch her sew. By helping her out and watching her I learnt to sew some basic stuff. So, that was good for Adem. The vest and pants were easy but making of the jacket was kind of tricky. I googled for some mens jacket patterns. Then I created patterns for Adem’s by combining the ones I found. Just drop me a line in the comments section if you want me to send you patterns. I would be happy to do that.

Weathering

Although Adem did not like it, I had to weather his clothes to match the atmosphere. No place for brand new things in Chronos. Here is the part I most enjoyed doing:

The whole technic and the materials are from Shelley Noble! She sent me so many great materials for my film. Here I used two of those; walnut ink crystals and matte medium as she described in emails.

I first bleached the parts like the collar of the jacket, cuff,… Not much, just enough to give some shading. Mixed well acrylic matte medium, walnut ink cyrstals and a little water in a plate. Dipped the jacket. And then left it hanged overnight. As Shelley said it changes color as it dries. I applied same mixture to his shoes and vest. Just some with a brush and left for drying. I love the effect here. There is a closeup pic to his jacket at the bottom right. Thank you Shelley!!!!

Hands

Since I had problem with the hands I previously made, I am not going to post details about making of these hands here. There are temporary hands.

I painted with PAX here. You can find details here in my previous post. Even if this paint works fine (which I think so) I will make the hands again beacuse I am not totally happy with the design. I dont want the hands to be totally realistic but I want little detailed and thinner than these ones.

Mask

Adem has a real face like we all have. In the film you will see him both with and without a mask. But, he wants to hide his real face until the film is completed. I wanted him to wear a mask on some parts of the film like every human being does in her/his life. Dont we all have many masks… How many of us have seen our own face?…

I made 3 different masks and decided to go with this one. Actually this was the first one I created. The other 2 you see on the left bottom were based on real shaman masks. Design of this one was totally came out of my mind. I took a piece of super sculpey and started making. No sketch, no reference pictures… I did not want the mask to have any expression. Not happy, not sad, not angry,.. So, in a way something holding all different expressions of a human face in one mask. Not a man, not a woman.. just a human.

This is how I made the mask: First cooked the sculpey mask and then painted couple times with acrylic. When you paint acrylic directly onto the sculpey with a brush you may get some scratches. To get rid of those scratches after one or two layers of acrylic paint, I applied one coat of acrylic primer and left it to dry. Then couple more acrylic layers. When I was satisfied with the acrylic base I painted with a mixture of acrylic relief paste and wax. This was where I adjusted the color of the mask by adding some brown acrylic to that mixture. I put a lot of talcum powder before it was totally dry. Left it alone for about 15 minutes and then wiped off the talcum powder with a piece of soft cloth. So, there was some powder left around the eyes, mouth,.. giving the mask an old look.

And one more thing before I end this post. While I was working on the masks, I kept singing an old wonderful song of a friend Murat Hasarı. Name of the song is Insan Icin (For Human) Here some of the words both in Turkish and English(translated by me.. sorry..)

For Human – Insan Icin

Sky is fallen apart – Gökyüzü parça parça
Clouds are silent – Bulutlar sessiz
Whole world is a stage – Bir sahnedir bütün dünya
World is helpless – Dünya çaresiz
Players on the one hand, – Bir yanda oyuncular
Audience on the other – Bir yanda seyirciler
Mirrors are under the sky – Aynalar göğün altında
Masks are being painted – Boyanıyor maskeler

Continue Reading 7 comments adem, armature, puppet making

I had a problem with the hands of Adem and claws of Kush I previously made in June 2009.  Those were both fine when I first built up but after couple of months those started to get sticky. Hands became like the ones of a zombie puppet and it is not possible to hold claws because of those being too sticky. This is how I made these:

Hands: I mixed liquid latex, acrylic paint and pros-aide all together… Dipped yarn covered fingers (also there was epoxy putty on the fingers and palm) into that mixture several times to make the skin.

Claws: Yarn covered fingers and acrylic painted cartboard claws dipped into liquid latex several times.

I posted about the problem on stopmotionanimation.com Here is the link of that thread: http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=20&topic_id=6978&mesg_id=6978&page=
The problem with the hands seems like is me mixing pros-aide and latex. Liquid latex is a great material to create skin for the puppets. But there are some importants things to remember when working with latex. Please check out the above URL for more.

I have remade the hands. Used PAX paint. Many thanks to Darkstrider who wrote me about that on that post. If you are interested you can check out the forum URL above and also here is a good tutorial about PAX paint on Stop Motion Magazine’s 2. issue: http://www.stopmotionmagazine.com/stopmotionwebsite/Issues_files/Stop%20Motion%20Magazine%20October%202009.pdf

Claws of Kush are still waiting for me to be fixed. I only used latex on the claws so I am not sure what was the problem. I am going to make a test part by using only latex. There are the PAX painted hands I have aready made. So, I will be able to see what happens to these parts in a couple of months before I start animation.

Continue Reading 4 comments adem, kush, puppet making

The Walk !?…

by yaz on January 31, 2010 · 7 comments

in animation

I have been having a lot of fun animating and making a video. Walk cycle test… Hmm.. you will see the result below. And post production with my old friend After Effects to make a full HD video for youtube. After all is completed and I uploaded video to youtube, I have found out that youtube pics up the frame in the middle of the video as a video still automatically and there is no way to change it.. So, next time I make a video to upload youtube, I will put the film title right in the middle of the video !?…

 

Edit: Just published the post and tried viewing video. If you have hard time viewing video here, you can click here to view in my youtube account.

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Adem

by yaz on January 27, 2010 · 12 comments

in adem,puppet making

Adem… My next post will be about the Creation Of Adem. There is a lot to post so I think a separate one for the pictures could be better. Here some pictures I have just taken. You can click to enlarge.

Continue Reading 12 comments adem, puppet making

I have been working on lighting for a while now. First of all I would like to thank Darkstrider who has been huge help about lighting and using Lumix FZ50. When I first started, I did not know much about lighting a stop motion set. Now, I have some ideas about which lights I would need, how to setup those lights and which other materials I may need to achive a good lighting. Next comes using the camera to “take” that shot correct. So, a lifelong homework… experiment different lighting setups and try the best camera settings.

Let me start with the short animation test I made:

As much frames as possible I coud get with a tripod. What do you think?

Lighting:

To get this sunset like lighting the idea was: orange as key light, blue as fill light, red and blue as back light. I did not want to get an exact sunset look. Some time maybe right at the end of sunset.. little more darker and I wanted to add another light from the top right maybe as a moon light. That time of the day is too early for a moonlight but wanted to have that light there… Here is a picture of tree as a whole. You can click picture to enlarge.

And almost forget to write; I painted another background. This time a black and white sky. I will not use this in the actual film either; just for testing.

The most amateur lighting setup I have here. There are 5 lights. One regular house light on the right side as a key light. First covered with baking paper and then yellow, red (to get orange) transparent kite paper and then black crepe paper at the top to adjust the light intensity. A blue pin spot on the left as a fill light with baking paper as a diffuser and hanged on an umbrella stand. Between background painting and the tree, at the bottom; there are 2 back lights: one red pin spot with a baking paper diffuser and one regular small house light covered with baking paper and yellow kite paper. On top of these 2, there is a black crepe paper again. There is another transparent pin spot on the right back with kind of a gobo made with a black tape. I used a broken tripod to make a stand for this spot. This kind of setup can not be used to shoot the actual film for sure but worked very well for me to test some lighting ideas.

So, this is what I would do for my film set in terms of lighting: I will buy some better lights. Nothing like fancy expensive ones.. Maybe a spotlight and then make some barndoors etc,.. There are some great ideas both Mike Brent gave me also I read on stopmotionanimation.com I might use these pin spots; only need to make someflicker tests. I will definetely buy color gels and also ND filters. I tried to make substitues for these but no way to adjust light as the way I need and also using materials like kite papers are dangerous.. you know those can burn easily and should never be left for long times while the lights on.

This film is going to be dark. I want a very dramatic look. I have been thinking about even shooting black&white. There are some tests below here:

See the black and white one on the second row. Here I tried to get a “Dore Lighting” (another great information from Darkstrider) Picture quality is not very good but I like the dramatic light change on different parts of this picture. Again, you can click picture to enlarge.

Using Lumix FZ50

This has been the first time I have really tried Lumix on animation. It works pretty well. Even though I had those funky lights I almost did not get any flicker. Just a little and I think it is beacuse of the regular house lights I use. It took me for a while to really understand how this camera response different ligthing setups. I heard people saying that Lumix does not work well under low light conditions… Nonsense!! As long as you adjust the shutter speed and F stop correct; allowing long exposure times; camera works great. The only problem I could not get over was the noisy picture quality in full size. FZ50 can shoot 10mp at 4:3 aspect ratio and 7mp in HD. When I view the 10mp picture in full size, I see the noise. But, I never need to use that 10mp one in full size. When I make the picture smaller I get a full high quality picture for my film.

The most impressing thing for me to see how “focus lock” feature works great. You know, you need to use everything manual when you shoot stop motion. I was curious to see how Lumix stays in focus in manual focus mode. You first manually adjust the focus and then hit focus luck button. Then voila.. you have a focused camera even if you turn it upside down.. kind of like what i did here to shoot.

Here are the settings of my camera during this shooting:

ISO 100
F stop 10
Shutter speed 5sn
White Balance: Tungsten

So, again thank you Darkstrider for helping me out for the right settings! Also my friend Mert here showed me how to adjust some settigns and was very helpful.

Animator HD Personal:

This is the software I am using to shoot stop motion. My previous tests was without live view (with Canon) and I am suprised to see how much a frame grabber makes things easier. Lumix connected to PC with a converter sending live feed to Animator HD. Taking 2 pictures for one frame; one from AnimatorHD and another with a wired remote from camera for full resolution picture to be stored inside the card.

Camera Movement:

I shot these frames using my new tripod with a 3-way adjustable head. I knew this was not going to be smooth enough but wanted to use before I make a slider for the camera. I am not after a very smooth animation but definetely want to achive something better than this. I also tried ease in/out but no way with this tripod. Hey I am also learning how to animate :) Stop motion… a complete challenge for me; learning, learning, learning… how nice!!

So, I need to plan scenes carefully and make a camera slider.. maybe couple sliders for different parts.

——————–

And as always, here is my little bunny woke up around 4 in the morning while I was working on lighting. Came to my room with her “kuzu” (means sheep in Turkish) in her hand and said that she wanted to make a film too :) Then suddenly she decided to be an actress and here is the result…

Continue Reading 26 comments animation, tree

tree of life

Yes, it is finished… Tree of life, birds, nests. I will work on the roots when making the rocky surface but other than that all done. You can click to above picture to enlarge.

A close-up to some of the nests.

It is 4:35 in the morning. Another stolen night to spend on stop motion is almost over. Away from my all duties; taking care of my daughter, working to make money, taking care of the house, cooking, doing dishes,.. :) I feel like every moment I spend on this film is a stolen one and I think I like to steal a lot! Anyways… a beautiful end summer night; sitting in the garden with mosquitoes, hearing cats fighting in our neighbor’s garden, feeling good after preparing pictures to post here.

Ok, what I have done lately and how I done;

Making of the “Big Bird”

I made some small birds to place in the tree of life representing the “souls” out of super sculpey and posted here previously. I needed one to animate. Nothing complex; just one bird to be able to raise her head. Here you see her:

Super sculpey again. But made the head seperately, connected to body with a piece of wire. Glued some foam. Covered foam first with “real fleece” which Shelley sent me :) and then with some goose quill from our sofa.

She is nothing like the “Big Bird” from Sesame Street but somehow she reminded me of Big Bird at the moment I finished her.

Bird Nests..
This was challenging. Needed to look like bird nests but at the same time I wanted these to be strong; as being home for the souls. Metal but comfortable. After trying some different ideas, I ended up using pine cones. And boom! Cutting pine cones was harder then cutting steel… I am serious. Have you ever tried cutting pine cones with Dremel? I broke many blades made for cutting metals. Dust, smell,… had my respirator and protective clothes to keep myself safe :)

I painted cones with black acrylic and then stainless steel colored acrylic paint (which Shelley  sent me. Thank you!!) Dyed some raw looking yarn into green with acrylic again to tie the metal cones to the branches. Added moss around the nest after tying up.

Tree of Life Mooooddddiiifffficccaatttiioonn:
Collected some bark, killed the bugs with mosquito spray inside a bag. Left those in the air for couple hours to get rid of the poison. Covered the trunk with these barks and the glued moss all around.

I use old newspapers to keep the table clean. As I was working on the tree, I saw a small article right next to the roots of the tree about “Tim Burton” There is a Tim Burton exhibition at MoMA between November 22, 2009–April 26, 2010 No way for me to go as NY is kind of far away from where I live :) But, anyone living in NY and have not heard about this exhibition can check details here http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/313

Made many more new branches, added to the tree. Glued some more leaves.

The last picture on the right bottom is showing the quick background painting I did today to shoot the tree. The final background will be more like a real sky. This one was just for fun.

Continue Reading 13 comments birds, puppet making, set building, tree

BACK TO tree of LIFE

by yaz on August 22, 2009 · 9 comments

in birds,tree

It has been a while since my last post about the film. I have been having a very busy summer; spending time with our families in July. At the beginning of August, our babysitter quit working -she’s getting maried- and my daughter started to go to kindergarten half day, 5 days a week. So, we have been trying to get used to our new life.

After taking a long break, I wanted to start with modifying the tree of life and making the small birds which represent the souls left their bodies after death and waiting for their birth again. Tree of life is a motif in various world mythologies and the birds sitting on its branches often associated with the souls. So, here they are:

On the bottom right, you see a quick installation of the bird onto a branch. I am currently working on these and will show final pics of tree of life and birds with my next post.

 I made these birds out of super sculpey. There are 15 birds sculpted and cooked. The necklace on my neck is a gift from Shelley… a bird nest and the egg; giving me luck and love for stop motion, for life…

Painted with white acrylic first and then used blue antique powder paint for an older look and some dimention. And ofcourse my little assistant was there to help me out :) By the way, the Tree of Life oil painting on the wall is a reproduction of one of Natasha Wescoat’s which I painted when I was pregnant to Zeynep.

Modification of the tree: I made some new brances and smaller leaves. I was not totally happy with the previous look. Now, it looks a lot better and I will post new pics later.

Continue Reading 9 comments birds, tree

The Bird: Kush

by yaz on June 23, 2009 · 12 comments

in animation,kush,puppet making

Finally, I am posting about Kush… A lot of things happening here since my last post. I moved my studio to another room in our house, tried making a rig for Kush, purchased AnimatorHD Personal and tried Lumix. This post is going to be long enough so, I will post about these later. SO, here she is; Kush… you can click to enlarge:

And a quick flying test done with Canon 350D without live view and a spycam.

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***

Here is the process:

Adding Rig Points and Final Tweaking of the Armature


I first revised legs and the tail. Added 2 rig points to the top on her back and 2 other below the shoulders through her thummy. Later I fixed the detachable wing part with epoxy putty. Because I decided to make the feathers in a different way and it was not possible to have detachable wings.

Preparing Kush for Feathers and Making of Claws 1


I glued foam onto the armature using a spray glue then trimmed with a small scissor. Old winter socks became the skin to glue over feathers later. I sewn the fabric with a black thread tightly. Then I wrapped claws with yarn.

Making of Feathers


For the wings; I used real bird feathers. Cut those into small sizes and then sewn over the yarn covered wing parts. For the torso, I glued colored feathers directly. Colored feathers are from a funcky hair clip of mine. Hey wait… “the master of puppets” came to give me some ideas in the middle of this process. See picture in the bottom center :)

Claws 2


Fingers seemed too thick to me. I ripped off previously wrapped yarn and replaced with a thinner one. Then operation time… Covered body with aluminum foil and applied liquid latex over yarn covered fingers by a piece of foam. After 2 layers of latex is dried I wrapped black thread to make the stripes over fingers. And applied another layer of latex and left it to dry. (you can also use hairdrier for faster drying.) Thanks to Nick Hilligoss  for his tutorials about how to work with liquid latex. If you have not done yet, make sure to check out his pages. I have learned a lot  from his tutorials.

Claws… I made claws out of a thin cardboard. Dipped each claw shaped cardboard into black tinted liquid latex (with acrylic paint) and left to dry. Then attached claws to fingers with un-tinted latex. Thanks to The Lone Animator for this great idea.
And my favorite process: patina.. I wanted this bird look very old, ancient… So, I applied blue antique powder paint first and then gold wax metalic finish. I did the same for the nib which you see below.

Head


I made the head out of super sculpy. Painted with acrylic and covered with feathers. Applied gold with a patina process to the nib. Then fixed the head into its place with a piece of epoxy putty. The head can still move a little allowing turning right and left, bending back anf forth.

***

I cant help to post this picture. We had a lot of fun with my daughter in the dark room while shooting the above test. She came in right before I started shooting and mixed up everything. I had to adjust all again after she left but that was totally fine as I really like to see her around while I work on this film.

Continue Reading 12 comments animation, kush, puppet making