Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by chrissc17, on 2005-05-04 04:45:50

stop motion waterfalls

hey, i'm struggling for ideas on how to do a stop mo waterfall that needs to comprise of mainly white colour, to be used in an assencion scene..?

Posted by Sasquatch, on 2005-05-04 22:33:00

Hi, I haven't done much of it but have thought about different ways to acccomplish water fx in stop motion. For a waterfall I think if you took a long piece of shimmery cloth- like from a blue-ish sparkly thing a woman might wear and just pulled it down over some shapes (for rocks) a little at a time you might get a pretty good look because the sparkles would randomly reflect the light. For a mist effect you could spray mist from a spritzer bottle every time you exposed a frame, the two together might give you a decent effect. Another idea is to just make a waterfall with a small pump that recycles the water and since the water is constantly flowing and random looking, everytime you shoot a frame you'll capture a sort of pixelation of the water that will look consistent with animation going on in the foreground. If there's a paper store in your area they have different shiney papers and thin plastic sheets you could look into also...Good luck- try different stuff!

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-05-05 00:30:19

The shimmery cloth sounds perfect. Flowing water shows movement on the surface, but tends to continually form ripples and bulges in the same spots, so rounded shapes under the cloth should do that. A stretchy fabric would probably flow over the lumps best. The spray bottle mist won't work, because it will be different each frame and will flash in a jerky way - I know, I tried some AB smoke that way once, it looks like a light leak in the camera. You probably need to do the mist thing separately in real time, and double expose or mix it in to your image afterwards. Although a continuous spray from a pump might look ok, it will probably have some motion blur.

Posted by Jim Aupperle, on 2005-05-05 00:47:29

Salt is a good material to simulate a waterfall. Normally it would be filmed high speed (about 96fps) to give the illusion of greater mass but you might get some interesting effects filming with an animation motor on continuous. Jim Aupperle

Posted by scarlo, on 2005-05-05 06:07:09

Yes, I think the thing with the salt is the way they did waterfalls in Lordoftherings. I once heared it was a special ILM trick. I think it would look great. scarlo.

Posted by Jim Aupperle, on 2005-05-05 08:45:28

[div class="dcquote"][strong]Quote[/strong] Yes, I think the thing with the salt is the way they did waterfalls in Lordoftherings. I once heared it was a special ILM trick.I think it would look great.scarlo. [/div] I'm sure the trick of using salt for moving water goes back to the silent films and perhaps was even a stage gag before that. The first time I remember hearing about it was for a matte shot Jim Danforth did for "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (1982) but I know we could come up with many earlier examples. Jim Aupperle

Posted by jamesride101, on 2005-05-05 10:35:32

Tales of the gold monkey..... it's the one with the indiana jones looking guy flying a plane (jake?) and his little dog side kick with the eye patch right? wow.. haven't heard about that one in a while. One of my favorite shows. Everyone at my grade school was humming the music theme (reruns in 84'-85' in Athens,Greece)... thanx for bringing it up :7

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-05-05 22:40:42

With the salt, I think you'd want to shoot it live, probably at high speed, and composite it in. I like the cloth idea because it would work in single frame. I've got some real waterfall footage that I made a transparency map sequence from, so I can composite it into cgi or stopmo shots. I blacked everything except the water, which is nearly white. Then I dissolved the beginning and end of the shot together so I could loop it and run it as long as I like. My usual method is to map it onto a rectangle in Lightwave 3d, and only the water shows up. I put my animation footage in as a background image. I can move the rectangle around and place it where I want. I'm sure there are better ways to composite in AE, but this works for me.

Posted by Antimax, on 2005-05-15 19:13:43

I've never tried to do this sort of thing, but in the Nightmare Before Christmas, at the beginning with that fountain, there was a stream of water spilling from a gargoyles mouth. This was done with a couple different replacement parts of sculpted water, and it's really effective. And low-tech, rarrrr!

Posted by Strider, on 2005-05-15 23:17:09

Actually, have you ever tried to cast clear resin? It's not what I'd call exactly low-tech! :P Ok, maybe it is, but it requires a lot of work. Most of them that I know of require what's called an 'after-cure', meaning you have to put the casting in an oven on low heat with the oven door open for like 12 hours. Although I've heard hot glue can be melted into molds very nicely..... very interesting.

Posted by Sock Puppet, on 2005-05-16 15:48:47

The technique i use to animate vomit, may work well for a waterfall. Its a combination of clay and hot glue. Roll a bunch of clay snakes varying in color from blue to white. Make sure you have a stable base to work on for the shape of the water fall. It could just be hot glue on metal or wood or something. Basicaly an armature for the water fall. lay the clay snakes vertical along the water fall armature. Then you apply the hot glue and run the nozzle straight into the clay snakes. Do this so that the clay does not fall off of the armature. And use the hot glue and hot glue gun nozzle to melt the clay snakes into each other so it looks like smeared glistening shades of blue and white mixed with spots of hot glue not mixed. Meaning the hot glue will look cool, and water-like even if some of it is not mixed with the clay. So now you have 2 options for animating it. i have not done this yet, but i would recommend option #2 below. 1) make 3-5 of these and shoot them as a replacment cycle. It will flow, but it will look pretty harsh and violent. Probably better suited for a very small water fall or spurting water in any situation. 2) Simply continue running the hot nozzle through the clay, while still adding more glue and clay as you go. You can get as molten flowy as you want. And of course poly-fil or cotten for the bottom splash is always a must. Let me know if anyone trys this. I think it would look pretty cool. Water always needs to be stylized when shot in camera in SMA, but this technique could probably look rather real as well as stylized. Depends on the patients, timing and control put into it. good luck. PS - oh, i would probably have to "rough" up the metal or wood armature for this, so that the clay had some teeth to grab onto. And melting the initial clay onto the armature would be a good idea too. Then add the snakes...glue etc... PSS - the glue/clay combo technique courtesy of Joe Mello.

Posted by catizone, on 2005-05-17 07:15:07

A lot depends on how far away one is from it. And if you can comp it in, one quick way that actually works pretty well is to take a photo of a waterfall, make a matte of the "water area" and then make a longer waterfall image from that, and pan it over top(only within the matte area) at a percentage can comp the images in any 3d program, Premiere, etc. Cotton mounted on a circular wheel, and shooting edge-on could work as well. Pull the cotton thinner and "whispy" at the edges. Try a test shooting a frame while it's spinning, or while you are turning it. Rick

Posted by catizone, on 2005-05-17 07:33:46

If you want, I can email you a small avi of the image based solution so you can see it for yourself.Can't attach it here as it only takes photo files. Rick