Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday- 3/30


Sorry I have been away from any internet connection, so I was not able to post yesterday! But here is the first of my claymation which is all about the recent "human hair" threat facing the world!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So, here's my progress with the objects/characters I'll be using in sketch 2 so far. I'll be trying to create a Mount Olympus set and an Underworld set.

These are a bunch of skulls and bones that I want to have scattered around the background of the Underworld.

This is my attempt at creating the River Styx.

This is all I have for Hades right now. I based the helmet and the fork thing on objects that Hades apparently used in Greek mythology (according to some brief research that I did).

This is Zeus, who I've spent most of my time on. I think he's mostly done now, but he's not very movable. I think I'll have him in that sitting position at all times.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alex Claymation Super Compilation #10

This is a short stop motion film dealing with ready to use models - transformers.  I thought it was neat that the creator was able to get such a wide range of motion including flips and summersaults from mere toys.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #9

Another painstakingly complicated claymation film, Chicken Run met the challenges of very intricate armatures to portray the different anatomy of a cast of chickens and the two vastly different scales - that of the human world and that of the chicken coup.  This film stands out in that like many traditional pen-and-ink animations, the voice actor is first filmed as they read the script, allowing free gesture, emotion, and delivery of the actor, which will later help animators later compose their claymations.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #8

- Spoiler - If you haven't seen Wallace and Gromit - Curse of the Were Rabbit and would like too, watch it first before seeing this video!  Anyway, this video shows the difficulty involved in making an armature coated in fur.  The issue here is that when an animator needs to position a furry character in between shots, there is a high chance that they will displace the fur.  The solution is a sort of key-twist socket in the back to minimize handling of the armature and allow for control during animation.  It is also important when conceptualizing a film to have the appropriate mood in mind.  The creators wanted the film to be dramatic, but ultimately funny.  With this goal in mind, they then can plot out the type of character that would best deliver this mood.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #7

This is an example of a piece built around music. The story and characters are very much an extrapolation of the carol taking on new life in the familiar bell tower of Notre Dame in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, it clearly doesn't rely too heavily on the book to drive story and rather makes a story out of simply performing a piece of music.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #6

This is another approach to stop motion - let the setting dictate the story.  This is probably the largest stop motion I have seen, and if one were to pursue a project this large they would need more than one person to finish in any reasonable time.  It is interesting that one can create massive figures out of something as weightless as paint by showing other objects as reference points.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #5

One creative twist an animator can use if they just can't seem to get that armature to do what they want - just use a live person!  There are of course other limitations that a human model presents, but if one can find someone who can stay still and pose as a figure model would, one can skip the whole painstaking process of character development and make an effective movie with a reliable model.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #4

Here's a glimpse of how professionals push stop motion to the mediums maximum potential in the behind the scenes development of The Nightmare before Christmas.  If you notice, the animators use many traditional methods such as the standard 24 frames per second, multiple heads for various facial expressions, and armatures for puppet support and control during animation.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #4

This is another stop motion video involving a live human figure. What is different about this one is that one shows that one doesn't need to actually physically go anywhere to give a sense of movement, travel, or scene change. One can simply manipulate the stop motion in a way to give an illusion of various sets rather than actually produce them.


Alex Claymation Super Compilation #3

This video involves the painstaking creation of the creatures for Return of the Jedi.  Concepts for the creatures were initially drawn out, and it was up to the creative minds of the artists and puppeteers involved to actually logistically make the characters work.  Jabba the hutt was the hardest and largest puppet for the team to create, and also took the most conceptual reworks 
to get right.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alex Claymation Super Compilation #2

This is a short video of how the technical perimeters of the Hoth battle from The Empire Strikes back.  They used the standard 24 frames per second to get the illusion of smooth motion, used baking soda for the snow, and painted a realistic mural for the backdrop.  It's almost upsetting that today film makers use CGI effects entirely and disregard traditional yet effective methods.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Armature Wire

So here are a few tips that I have for making wire armatures. As in my last claymation, I created a man out of wire, sculpy, and fabric. The first thing that you need to consider is what your armature will be doing. Since my figure was sitting, I did not need extremely sturdy wire for the legs. I used bailing wire for the entire frames but triple wrapped them together. I used clay that would harden to add weight to the body. Be careful not to put wire on any portion of the body that will flex (i.e. don't put clay on the joints). After that I used scuply clay for any body parts that were visible past the clothing. Not every project will need the same materials so consider what you want your figure to do before you purchase supplies.

motion blur effect

I've been watching Stop Motion Pro tutorials (for those of you who use PCs) and I thought this feature was totally awesome. If your frames feel too disjointed and your animation looks choppy, SMP has a feature that AVERAGES FRAMES!!! That way, it "blurs" the motion together and looks great. I'm not sure how well it works in actual use but, the idea is great and could really help out rough spots if you're going for fluidity in motion.


thought this was a cool way of combining clay and actual objects
Hey guys,

I know in class people were talking about what wire is best for making armatures and what kind of clay is best also. I did some googling and I found a site that appears to be from a UPenn Claymation course. On it, there's links to how to build an armature, and it suggests the type of wire. If you scroll down, it also kind of compares the different types of clay that can be used to make a claymation -- even with price differences. Check it out and some of the links.


Very clever


There are quite a few of these stop motion animations on youtube by this guy PES, this one is really awesome. It just goes to show how far you can go without using clay, and still make an incredible video. The sound goes a long way, and the textures of the different materials found really make for interesting and fantastic animation.

I've been carving tiny pieces of furniture out of foam... let me tell you what... more difficult than I imagined! I'm thinking about finding some of that foam you stick fake flowers into and seeing if that melts with acetone. I would think it would, and if I'm recalling the texture correctly, it might be easier to carve into. We shall see!

Tiny Circus Summer Opportunities

Dear Friends,

Summer is fast approaching and we would like you to be part of Tiny Circus! If you are interested in getting involved the following information will help you get started.

If you are new to Tiny Circus, please read and explore our website and blog, our animations on you tube, and come find us on Facebook!

Our 2010 session will run from June 1st to July 15th and will be based at the new Tiny Circus house in Grinnell, Iowa.  Summer with Tiny Circus will include work sessions to create new animations, community workshops, Tiny Circus shows, and many other great collaborations.  The Participant Handbook (attached) will help to outline a typical summer-session day and will give you a sense of what to expect while living at Tiny Circus. In the Handbook you also will find general information about fees, community work, meal and living arrangements, and tons of other valuable resources.

This summer we are looking for both short and long term participants with varied skills and an interest in collaborative community art creation.  If you are interested, please fill out the Summer Participant Application Form (attached) with your availability and anticipated length of stay.  Then email it to our Participant Coordinator Jessica Frelinghuysen at tinycircus@gmail.com with “Summer Participant Applicant” in subject line.  Please respond by Saturday, April 17th.

Please be aware we have limited space at our Tiny Circus housing site, so apply early!

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the Participant coordinator at tinycircus@gmail.com.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in Tiny Circus and our mission to promote creativity for all!

Alex Claymation Super Compilation #1

Hey, guys and gals. Here's how to mak spaghetti stop motion style. An interesting way to use stop motion to change the properties of materials.


another snippet of some stars

and a still image of all the frames stacked

Japanese Google Maps Cartoon


So, I cam across this Japanese short, which seems to be an ad for Google Maps. It's done in very well-executed stop motion. It's all extremely colorful and has weird super-deformed feel to it that's very popular in Japan. Also, although it is from another country, the lack of dialogue helps keep the story clear. The music can get a little repetitive but, other than that, I think it's a great short.

Post for 3/23

My next sketch will be a mixture of stop-motion with people and with clay. So I have been looking at a lot of stop motion to see what works well and what I don't like as much. Although these clips are not going to help me much, I really really liked them and they have really opened my eyes to the amount of things that can be accomplished by stop motion!

Human tetris

This I really really enjoyed because it reminded me of the tv show Heroes. They look like they have super powers lol

This is just a really neat idea that was really well done (and probably my favorite):

I will hopefully post pictures of my set and characters later tonight as well.
Alyssa Nasca

Monday, March 22, 2010


I love PeeWee's Playhouse, mostly because they brought many new and fun things to the table when it came to entertaining us kids. One of my favorite segments was the Penny series which featured claymation. I like this claymation because it seems to be done on a flat surface and shows you do not need to build a character that stands up and walks around with a complicated armature within its shell. All you need is a camera and some clay. And maybe some pennies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suJgK_KltMI

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soooo gross but a very good video...


Cool Website

While totally facebook creeping, I found this link on my friend's page. This website/director/artist/has some really interesting claymations.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Claymation Armatures

I thought that this site was interesting. I especially like the use of a turn table to view the armature from all angles. Here's the link:


Flying Objects

Okay so after looking through a coupe internet sites (and my own experience), I think I have found a relatively good method for having objects flying in your claymation video. Since my video incorporates several flying birds, some at the same time, I had to come up with a method. Above my set I screwed a basic shelving unit to the wall so that an object tied to string could slide back and forth. Originally I only had one string attached to each bird (embedded inside) but I found that I didn't have enough control. To keep the bird/object level I attached another string to the shelf above. To create an arched effect when flying, I used yet another string to pull the object forward or back. This process does require more editing in the end because of the extra string but I think it allows for the most control. I hope this helps!



This animation is really funny. It uses the qualities of the figurines themselves rather than having them imitate real people.


I found this post-it notes animation, check it out!!



This has nothing to do with my next project, but I thought it was pretty cool. Kinda just shows how you can take so many random objects and do pretty cool things with it...likkke candy.

As for my next sketch, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ballerina jewelry box. My plan is to use a little live-action video and then eventually have the ballerina trying to escape from her own jewelry box. I didn't work with figures in the last sketch, so I'm hoping that all will go well!

How We Met


So, I thought this was a pretty creative use of stop motion animation. It's an example of animating in an unconventional way. The animation is pretty entertaining as well, though. It's surprisingly smooth considering how much movement would have been required to make it work. It also incorporates music well.

Better video

Magik Markers

Im going to see them in four days but im scared.
Watch all the way till the end, she starts accusing the audience of something.

progress so far for next clip. all i can say is...yes.

Alyssa Nasca 3/15

In my next sketch I am trying to incorporate actual water. The problem is the size of the water droplets is hard to change. So I was trying to find advice or clips that incorporate actual water.

Here is a cute one:

This review said that real water will disintegrate clay, but I am hoping they meant a lot of water exposure would and not a small amount:

And if real water doesn't work, than maybe I can do something similar to this underwater shot:

sound effects

The more I work on my sketches and ideas, the more I feel I'm realizing the importance of sound effects. There are so many ways in which sound can add to (and take away from) the overall success of a piece. I think sound adds some kind of texture to stop-motion and I want to take advantage of that without over doing it. Here is an example of sound effects used to give the film a tactile quality. I think the sound effects are crucial to the success of this piece.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!!


This video for a news station gave me an idea to use effects in movies that are not necessarily clay. The blending of the dreidel and the claymation characters worked well to convince me that the scene was created with these elements in complete synchronization.

Le Narrative


This video is really funny, but it shows what you can do with so little to make a great narrative. This guy keeps these photos on his digital camera in case he loses it. It's priceless, but it really does engage the viewer in such a way... I feel as though people could be inspired by the simplicity.

Anywho, my next sketch is going to be fun... I'm gonna carve furniture (small) out of my polystyrene and melt it. I'm excited. I keep seeing this image of a chair disintegrating in a puddle. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Japanese Music Video - Stop Motion


So, it just so happens that I really enjoy listening to Japanese music and the link I posted above is my favorite Japanese boy band group. I know, weird but this music video blew my mind away. Its a live action + stop motion music video. There is this one part in the song that is simply amazing. If you scroll through the song, the part I'm talking about is where the group will be on a white block and it looks like a train moving along the track. Plus, they used really random objects to make it look cool. I really enjoyed the stop-motion in this MV. Check it out if your curious.

I finally got my blog fixed-- it would not let me post for the last 2 weeks

Here is my video (post for last week): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLGrq9OcK-M

And my post for this week: Here is a site for sound effects that I found. Many sounds in different categories: http://www.soundsnap.com/browse

Thursday, March 11, 2010

my first sketch

so yeah the concept of this animation came out of this inside joke that there is a ghost in my house who always undoes the hook to the basement door. All of this was shot in my basement. Like freal my basement is this creepy and there is a weird cave thing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a little late...

I "stumbled" across this stop action video, it has the most annoying music EVER but if you turn the volume off the concept is really interesting
It's an interesting take on 2D stop animation, and the silhouette concept is pretty sweet. Usually I pretty much hate anime, but the mute button and the black and whiteness helped immensely.

In the meantime, I am currently trying to convert my iMovie into a quicktime so I can post it on here... so......

Well it didn't upload. I waited about 15 minutes and gave up so hopefully we watch it in class.
Sorry! I blame my computer
live action + animation remains my favorite kind of stop-motion, cute modest mouse throwback:


I wonder if iStopmotion has layering video capabilities

Alyssa Nasca: First Sketch

Here is my first sketch!
I have been trying to upload this for like an hour and a half now because I'm dumb. I am sorry its so late!

It is also very compressed so its longer than it should be and jumpier than it actually is.

Crawling Hand

Here is a link to this video called "Crawing Hand", is pretty cool, is made out of aluminum foil something that I might use later on, it also reminds me of "E" my little blue character, so I want to share it with you all!!!!

Also here is the link to My in progress claymation!!!!

Sketch 1

Here is a link to my first sketch that we watched in class today:


It was supposed to be 30 frames/second, but imovie is really limiting for stop motion animation, as you all know. I think it came out sorta creepy anyway which was arguably my intention. Anyway I just thought I'd share it!

Improvised Stop Motion + Sketch # 1


So, I found a cool video that in which the animator apparently took suggestions on what objects he should use in his stop motion. This is nice because it's a good example of using found objects and bringing them to life. The channel that this video came from has a bunch of stop motion movies on it, some including commercials, which are part of an "Animate the World" series. Those also seem pretty interesting from what I've watched.

Also, I guess I might as well link to my first sketch, which was the fly one.
And, yeah, I know my youtube user name is kinda stupid. I came up with it years ago and never felt like changing it.

How To Play Checkers


This claymation inspired me and made me think about timing. There is a part that has the guys keeping the beat of the music while playing checkers. The creative part is how they keep pieces of clay in the air so easily, this technique would be useful to make my scenes realistic with the world we live in and to better my skills in the world of "clay physics."


we've been extended a special invitation to the DCCA welcome reception for artist-animator Carlos Ferguson on Thursday, March 18th from 4-6 PM. if people are willing to carpool I think this is a good use of class time and it will give everyone a chance to meet Carlos and find out more about the Tiny Circus project.

we'll discuss this Thursday in class
Neat video I found. Goes to show that the skills in this class can be used for television.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Fun Claymation Artist on Youtube

Last year, I found this youtube user who basically makes a bunch of random claymations.


This is his youtube page, go check it out. What I really like about him is the way he moves his figures around. I am particularly fond of the break dancing video he does with the clay figurines. Recently, mamshman started making his figures talk which is something that I really want to get into. So, check out his work.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fly Watching TV

So, I guess I'll make a second blog post this week because, strangely, somebody requested it. Here's the few seconds of footage I have of my fly character watching TV. It's running at 30 fps, except for the animation on the TV, which is only at 10 fps. Hand-drawn animation, by the way, is ridiculously time consuming and I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who wants to finish their project in a reasonable amount of time. I plan to add little audio clips of insect-related movies and TV shows while the fly is flipping through channels.

Symphonie Diagonale

not clay, but still a cool subject for a short film.



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Haha I like stop-motion haircuts a lot, also the ode to tetris in the middle of this clip gets my goose.

I think you don't need as high a frames per second rate in situations people are used to seeing to make a seemingly smooth motion, specifically in live-action stop-motion; peoples' brains fill in what's missing for you.

-Justin Blair
I found this really fantastic claymation video.  I think it is a really good example of how clay can transform a figure. The artist is Allison Schulnik and the video is called "Hobo Clown"

Here is the Link:




Tuesday, March 2, 2010

3/2 Post

I was going to try to post some pictures of my set, but my technologies are not working with me today, so instead here are some clips that other people have done that I have been looking at in order to help me. They mostly contain rolling balls.

This last one I found interesting because of the way that the ball bounces up and down, which is an idea that I am working with:

At least I think it was funny... This shows that you don't need to go crazy to make a compelling story.

The set....

Here's a picture of the set for my claymation. I am using 4 panes of glass, and needed to create something that wouldn't be too reflective, so it's a box. The top has a hole that my camera goes through, and as you can see one side is open and the others have some holes for lighting. The idea of my claymation is a leaf falling and maybe a bird flying through. But if anyone is thinking of working with glass in the future, a box may be your solution!
i thought these were interesting. they are half documentary, half animation and have some really cool morphing scenes in them. check them out!


single frames

I am doing a wave approaching shore and then breaking...here's some single frames so far.
Sets approaching and ripples

The Dancing Boy

So this is the start of my claymation. It isn't much because I'm still trying to get it right. My biggest problem is moving him around because he constantly falls down and positioning him so that it looks like he's walking is also hard. Any suggestions?

And I know its kind of boring right now but I promise it will be more interesting when the final video is done.

Fly and Plane

These are the objects that I have designed for my claymation movie. i may need to work a little more on the plane, but I feel that the fly is a fully realized character at this point. I just need to figure out how to get him to walk on such thin legs. I have done some animation of the fly character, mostly him watching TV and changing channels (after I realized that actually showing the TV I made for extended periods would take forever). And I have a bunch of pictures of the plane, but I feel that I need to get it flying at a smoother rate before I actually finalize the animation.

Callum's Claymation Compilation 2

I came across this video that shows simple claymations and I think is incredible how something this simple can grab tons of viewers due to the flow the "artist" creates.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I am going to have nightmares tonight!


I was always afraid of Edward Scissor Hands...n.ow he is a claymation! I found this and had to watch.

Snails, Shells, and Exhaust Pipe Tails

Here is what I have so far. It is still "slow" in frame rate, though I hope to solve more of those issues in the next few scenes. I moved the scenery every frame, which was a pain but the snail does look like he is speeding out of control (hopefully). My biggest issues are doing more scenes without complicating the storyline. I may have him break down in a desert setting using cotton as smoke. I have a solid ending, just trying to pull it all together.


I was looking up tips for making armatures; not specifically human-form, just in general I was curious what materials and techniques are commonly used. I think armature is going to be the most important part (figuratively / literally) of my work. I found a few informative websites (they are easy to find) but I liked this one because it went really in-depth and showed different kinds of armatures and photos of different techniques.