Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by StuartBury, on 2009-12-23 14:57:10

Have you ever made long grass and trees for stopmo?

I would like to make long grass for my stopmo project. Any idea on how I can make animatible, believable, long grass? Most of the time it would be stationary but I would like to animate it if i needed two. Basically I have one character that lives on a hill under a tree. So when the character walks I need it to be able to animate it. thanks Stuart Bury Previous Films: Dried Up ctrl alt dance

Posted by Nick H, on 2009-12-23 16:05:55

I've made grass from fur fabric, but it's not that animatable. You can brush it each frame and get some movement but it's not smooth and flowing like long grass in the wind. I think you'd only get 3 or 4 frames of movement in one direction, and you don't have that much control over what each hair will do, so it would probably pop all over the place. An individual grass blade could have fine armature wire in it and animate with a nice flowing movement, just like you would with a dinosaur tail. (or even those wire ties with flat green plastic over the wire?) But I don't see how you could do a whole field of them packed closely together, not in one lifetime anyway. Fur fabric could squash down under a footstep, and would probably tend to lift up again after the foot is raised. The trouble with things that can be animated, though, is making sure you don't move them accidentally. I've done quite a few trees too - if you make branches from armature wire covered in tissue and latex, they could be animated swaying in the breeze, or bending under the weight of something landing on the branch I guess. I'd seen Dried Up before, but just watched your 2d Control-Alt-Dance for the first time - very nice movements in 3 dimensional space!

Posted by Rocketspaceboy, on 2009-12-23 16:59:02

Nick covered this pretty well. I can give you an example shot of grass being animated. In Coraline when the world changes you can see the grass turn white. It's basically a fur like a shag carpet (do they still make those?). Twist ties would work as well. Even though you would need a ton of them you could glue them to a board like a wooden ruler or smaller and stagger them. You'd probably want to give yourself some room for the puppet to walk and make a path of some sort. If you want them to wave back and forth, I would suggest a yard stick skimmed slightly over them. You could actually make a rig that would be made out of wood so you can adjust the height for each passover the grass. This would give you a wave movement like blowing in the wind. I would also suggest looking at grass and studying it's movement. It flow very similar to water. The other option for grass would be to use Elmers glue in a spray bottle that is watered down and spray FUX HAIR (like Barbie/Doll Hair). You will lay it flat on the ground and spray it. Then you'd attach it to your set using putty, glue, or drilling a hole and gluing it into the hole. Animating it will be a pain because it will crack. But you can animate it if you make a flat wood piece that specially made to move on the animation table. You could slide it back and forth and then slightly move the Fux Grass. You could always use real dried grass as well. It really depends on what you want the over all look to be.

Posted by Strider, on 2009-12-24 00:43:08

Be sure to take another look at the special features on your Coraline disc.... ;)

Posted by Strider, on 2009-12-24 02:51:31

Here's a weird thought... You COULD use hair (probably need to be natural hair... maybe buy horsehair extensions or something) and have your camera firmly attached to the SET... then flip the entire set and camera UPSIDE-DOWN. The puppet is tied down... he doesn't know or care if he's upright or not. Might be a bit difficult to animate him upside down, but consider it an adventure. ;) Now... because your set is upside-down, the hair grass is hanging pretty straight. Tilt the set one way a little and it seems to sway. You'd need to be able to animate the tilting by increments to control the angle of the grass. And no guarantees it would look decent... you wouldn't be able to get those waves across the field... it would all move the same way. Anyway... probably NOT what you want to do... just thought I'd throw it out there. Mmmm.... ok, this idea just sparked off another one that sounds neat... Do it just like I said above... upside-down set and all... and then use something that generates static electricity to control the hair. You could have several static thingies hovering "over" the grass, and when you move them hopefully a swath of grass moves with it. Then you digitally erase the static things (no idea what would work to attract the hi=air either, sorry). But no... how could you digitally erase them? Ok... you COULKD... as long as they don't visually intersect the grass... just the sky back-drop. Your lights would have to ALSO be attached firmly to the upside-down set. Wow... getting tricky!! }( OR..... getting maybe even weirder.... each blade of grass has a tiny piece of metal in its base... like an iron filing. then you run magnets around under the set. This one could be right-side-up or upside-down, depending on what you use for grass. Ok, I'm tapped out. These ideas are probaly just pure fancy... probably nothing there you can really use, but it was fun coming up with them. :P

Posted by Rocketspaceboy, on 2009-12-24 19:12:52

Mikes a mad scientist!!! Hahahaha.... Awesome ideas. I might actually try that but on a small scale and the composite the puppets. NICE!!!

Posted by Strider, on 2009-12-24 23:17:59

Mwaaahaaahaaaahaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Yeah, it's fun to just come up with wild conjectures on somebody else's film idea!!

Posted by castlegardener, on 2009-12-25 00:38:50

I bet the upside idea would work...