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Posted by RodW, on 2003-06-07 09:42:24

Feedback sought

Hi...I'm Rod...New to the boards...hope I'm in the right place. I've been playing with mud for the last 30+ years...as a ceramic sculptor and, more recently, with polymer clays. Have allways had a passion for stop frame...never had the oportunity to take it up. There are some shots of old work at- http://www.geocities.com/solidmud/ I would be most interested in any feedback. Rod.

Posted by jim danforth, on 2003-06-07 10:52:47

RodW: Just a thought, but your skills suggest that you might be able to make interesting replacement shapes or puppets. Multiple ceramic clay shapes thrown on a potter's wheel and slightly varied in form from one another could be photographed one frame at a time to give the impression of a ceramic 'pot' stretching and compressing. Many variations on this idea are possible. Also, the polymer clays would enable you to sculpt multiple, rigid replacement puppets with organic shapes. If the motions are designed to be relatively fast, freehand sculpting would be fine for this. For slower actions, some sort of jigging or referencing system would need to be devised so that non-moving parts would stay the same. The point is that, instead of making a flexible puppet, you would have multiple solid puppets -- one for each frame or two of film. Once made, these puppets can be made to recycle, so that a walk action of, say, twelve puppets can be used to create a long sequence of walking. Dividing the puppets into sections -- legs, upper torso, head, etc. can make it possible to create many variations in action by recombining the sections. If you are familiar with George Pal's Puppetoon films from the 1940s, you will know how interesting the 'stretch and squash' possiblities of this technique can be. Jim

Posted by Mike, on 2003-06-07 13:44:32

RodW, Those are really cool! It would be neat to see those little creatures moving around in those castles and houses.

Posted by Nick H, on 2003-06-08 19:51:39

A nice style to your sets and characters, I can definitely see them coming to life in animated films. I really like the tall ship nestled in amongst the tall buildings, like a medieval illustration in 3d, and your simple yet expressive characters. I noticed the .au on the end of your email address, where abouts are you? There are half a dozen aussies on this board, in Perth, Melbourne(me), Sydney, and Wagga Wagga, that I can think of offhand.

Posted by RodW, on 2003-06-08 21:14:57

Hi Jim,Alert,Nick... Thanks for the feedback....I'm living down the South West coast of Victoria, Warrnambool way. Beautiful country but out of the loop in terms of metropolitan connections (I served a twelve year stretch in Melb Nick- the Brunswick St art scene;-). At the moment I'm looking for tools, techniques, options and oportunities(thanks Jim)...I'm not sure if I will ever have the time/ oportunity to do the kind of stop frame I would like...so I'm looking at set construction. I figure if I build some elaborate backdrops and do a very brief animation (or even book illustrations)I might be able to find an 'in' into the animation world. I assume that world isn't that huge in Oz but is compacted by the Internet? "medieval illustration in 3d"....Yup, that's what I'm after mate;-) I want to make the animated Ben Hur Diskworld Bored of the Ring Bar Wars epic comic opera ;-) I want to tell the story from the Orc's perspective }> Dreams bigger than budget. I want to start at the top and work my way down! Wake up Walt....I'm ready! Rod.

Posted by MovieStuff, on 2003-06-18 23:54:44

>A nice style to your sets and characters, I can definitely >see them coming to life in animated films. I really like >the tall ship nestled in amongst the tall buildings, like a >medieval illustration in 3d, and your simple yet expressive >characters. A few of the shots remind me of your "Turtle World", Nick. :) I'd love to see some of these characters come to life. The thing I like best about your work is that it has a sort of "life" to it, even in stills. More than I can say about a lot my own sculpts. Good job. Roger

Posted by alienate, on 2003-06-18 12:04:52

the sculptures are fantastic. what did you use for the plantlife, if i may ask? the ivy looks great..

Posted by David Rosler, on 2003-06-18 23:40:03

Rod, To be perfectly frank , happily, i think you have alot of the work already behind you! The environments, particularly, have a magnificent style combination of whimsical and sophisticated. To take the pain of out starting (like writers, sometimes the pain is getting started) I might suggest this for the animation approach so you don't get bogged down in endless model-making experiments, which sometimes happens and the experiments perclude any finished film: If you have something called Super Sculpy down there, try making your characters in super sculpy pieces (it's a plastic clay which bakes into a pretty reasonable facsimilie of usual plastic, though it can be a little brittle when baked very thin) with areas such as the mouth left as vaugly defined craters. Paint the figures in whatever color of plastic/oil based clay you happen to like (in acrylic paint) and basically put the figures togther with the clay, smoothing the clay along the sculpy edges. This technique works very well indeed for "clean" claymation and in my opinion (such as it is) would make for a good animation style which would compliment your artistic technique.... plus it's FAST.... boom boom boom and you're started. Also, you don't need to make entirely new models for each shot as is the usual custom..... you just need to freshen up the areas between the sculpy parts. If you need ball and socket joints small and delicate enough for clay, you might try the sivel joints on desk-top pen holders. I used to get them from a place in NYC, though that was many years ago. They work very well for clay and smaller foam models and have the advantage of being very cheap and well-made, and have threads on the bottom and the swivel-joint has threads on the end for the pen-holding sheath.... just connect them with very thin aluminum rods. or if your characters are heavy-set like they are in your picks, you may not need armatures at all.(a small commercial air-conditioner affixed to the table-top blowing cold air right on the models will keep 'em from dying in the heat). You know, your stuff looks so good that if by any chance you happen to be stuck for a short script private message me and I'll see if I can get someone on this end to knock something out. You'll need a camera of some sort first, and a bit of a budget for the film/processing or digital equipment. What do you have available in equipment or what is your budget in US dollars? I see some heavy-duty awards on the horizon if you do it just right. Your strong visual style of the environments sets you far, far apart right from the get-go. I can't say you will neccessarily win an academy award, of course (nobody can), but with environments like those populated with guys like the little mouse and the guy on the bear-mobile, I can imagine that I'd love to watch it. One word of advice (and this sounds cynical so I apologize in advance); alot of guys design and build and test and never make or finish the FILM. Design you production around what you already have..... it seems like you probably have enough environments that with a few interiors, all you need do is populate them with a story and you can begin immediately. And that's a wonderful position to be in! I'm very excited about the prospect of your stuff in a well-photographed stop-motion adventure of some sort. It just has the potential of style style style all over it.