Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by red rooster, on 2008-05-02 16:55:59

tall grass and wind moving it.

i am new to the stop motion animation production. i have done a few little things but now i am working on a major project. It's a monster movie shot in real life but with many of the monster shots done with stop animation. the basic sets i would be building would be large fields of tall grass, i was wondering if anyone has attempted this type of project before and how they approached the issues of making the grass and animating it so it looks like its blowing in the winds? any help would be great. thanks for your time and have a nice day.

Posted by B and B Studios, on 2008-05-02 18:43:07

If your just having the grass stand there and not move I use the tall grass you can get from Woodland Scenics ( ) there is four colors to choice from, take your pick. But fi you have to animate it I would be find the thinest wire you can find (don't search the world for it if you can't find the smallest), possibly paint it whatever color you want, MAKE SURE IT'S LATEX BASED (I think it's latex) PAINT SO IT DOESN'T CRACK, CRACKING SUCKS. -B&B Studios B&B Studios Brickfilms-R-us

Posted by Isomer, on 2008-05-02 21:28:07

If you can get your hands on a flocking gun and a flexible glue to go with it that would be ideal for what I am going to suggest. If you can't get flocking supplies you can do this by hand. You would need to adhere the grass with a flexible glue like rubber cement to a sheet of fabric or thin sheet of rubber so that it's like a rug of grass. Place long rods under the sheet and slide them a bit per frame. That will cause a displacement in the distance between the strands of grass and as you slide the rods, it will cause a rolling wave effect like wind pushing across the feild.

Posted by Strider, on 2008-05-02 21:30:06

Fake fur is often used for grass, though I don't know if it would look right at the scale you need. If you did use it though, you could just run your hand through it for a wind effect.

Posted by red rooster, on 2008-05-03 17:42:22

I've decided to go with Isomer's method but with a little adjustment. because the field is hilly and i want a more natural look of the breeze. i m going to take wire add thick uniformed beads to it and add a sting every few inches branching off to make "S" breezes and such. instead of the rods. as for the grass i am using small wire brad nails and puncturing them through a thin rubber mat. thank you to everyone.

Posted by castlegardener, on 2008-05-02 21:42:27

how about make your long grass, then turn the whole ground upside down and let the grass wave back and forth, film upside down then just flip the shot over.

Posted by Isomer, on 2008-05-03 18:30:15

Absolutely! I was tempted to get more complex in explaining my 'how to' idea but, figured you would adapt it in any number of ways. I just tried to imagine attempting to animate grass from the topside with hands or any kind of comb or tool and that would produce animation that would be flicker city! Better to influence the grass from beneath and let it do its' own thing. :-)

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-05-05 02:10:37

I agree, brushing your hand over the top makes a random flickery move - it needs to be in smooth progressive waves. I would probably have come up with something not unlike Ron's idea, if I'd seen this earlier.

Posted by Ravenstar, on 2008-05-16 11:08:11

what angle are you shooting at? is it a profile , a above or 3/4 shot? is it a shot from the ground upward , like if you were at grass level? Isomer , man like the ideal , i can see it being used for many things. thanks

Posted by Andrew Brown, on 2008-06-23 17:34:53

Might be a bit late to reply, but i've seen what you're describing done before, in an old-school Japanese stop motion film. Can't rememeber the name, but the technique, briefly, is (see picture): Put something springy (metal) on the grass, attach fishing line to grass, attach other end of line to a little thread spool. Screw little spool onto something, tight enough to hold the line tension, but loose enough to turn. Then, turn the spool incrementally to bend the grass. Poof - stopmo grass. Pretty tedious to animate, but it's proven to work.

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-06-23 20:20:25

I understand the drawing, but if this is miniature grass, with hundreds or thousands of blades of grass (fur fabric perhaps) it needs something that works on areas of grass rather than individual blades.

Posted by Isomer, on 2008-06-23 21:28:51

Thank You.

Posted by Andrew Brown, on 2008-06-27 19:18:33

I gots another idea! I actually have to solve the same problem for my film, in a future shot. Animate a few blades of grass on a greenscreen, do it numerous times to make variations, then paste the keyed-out composition in one big after effects composition until you've got enough moving parts to sell the visual. Maybe it'll work.

Posted by emmyymme, on 2008-06-27 20:41:52

Would you just be keying in all the grass then, none in the scene? In that case you could just simplify everything and record your grass in real time by blowing on it or with a fan and edit that in. Drop a few frames even to give it more of a stop-motion look. But now you're green screening grass, I'd probably go the roller-under-grass way but only because it would suit my aesthetic more. Good luck if you do the after effects route!

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-06-27 22:42:18

Well, you wouldn't shoot green grass in front of a greenscreen, maybe a bluescreen! But you can build up layers and multiply something like that. I did it with background puppets in the distance - shot groups of 4 or 5 puppets at a time, then dressed them in different clothes and changed them around, shot them again. I could re-use the same shot 2 or 3 times in different parts of the screen, with other groups in front of them. They did general chatting with a few gestures, nothing that stood out too much. So my 5 puppets could end up being 30 background extras, a number that is very difficult to animate all at once. It would work even better with grass, there's no risk you'd recognize the same blade of grass in 3 places! I didn't use AE, I did it in Lightwave. My scene needed computer water and some cgi sets anyway, so I couldn't really do it all in-camera. I do like that approach though, using models and keeping it all on set as much as possible. I don't mind it looking stylized if it has a consistent feel to it. I wonder if you could use fur fabric for grass on the set, and shoot it live, blowing it with a fan or hair dryer, moving over it to create waves? I just blew on some fur fabric and it did what grass does in the wind! Then, without moving the camera, you animate your characters on the same set. In areas where the puppet doesn't go, you could put the live shot on a bottom layer and erase through to the moving grass, using a soft edged eraser. If the puppet walked in front, you would need to rotoscope around the puppet each frame, which is tedious, so I'd avoid that.