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The Dragonslayer 7 Stop Motion Animation (part 5 the Journey)
That's one heck of a long title so let me explain a little bit. I have a series of videos called the Dragonslayer 7. This is part 5!
It is a stop motion animation that was done on a pretty big table set. Somewhere around 50 square feet of table top!
In this tutorial I will show you the actual completed video and give you some tips and information about how I did the animaton and how I built the set.
This project was a serious lot of fun and quite a bit of work too!
First let's take a look at the almost completed set. This gives you somewhat of an idea as to what is involved in it. There is more to the left and to the right. I used paper to make all the trees and I bought moss in an arts and crafts store for all the ground cover.
This picture shows the table top setup before I started doing the terrain. The hammer gives you a good sense of the scale. The board the hammer is laying on is a plywood sheet that is 4 feet by 8 feet. Add to that the second sheet on the right and you have quite a bit of studio area for the animation.
I made the trees in a variety of different ways including just drawing them out on poster board with chalk or crayons. I also made a series of trees where I used colored paper as the top section where all the leaves are.
To stand them up I taped 1/4 inch dowels to the backs. I drilled 1/4 inch holes in the surface of the table and inserted the tree dowels into them.
This picture shows how the trees are assembled and inserted into the surface of the movie set.
The Ground cover is sheets of moss that I bought in an arts and crafts store. This is pretty neat stuff. It comes in a bag in sheets.
One other interesting thing that I did in this animation is create a starry sky that really lights up. This is a picture of it before it was installed into the movie set.
It is a line of christmas tree lights that I installed into the back of a large piece of foam. I drilled holes so the lights could show through.
Here is a shot of me working on the actual animation. You can see me moving the figure and you can see the camera on the tripod. This is to take the still pictures that will be used in the animation.
This picture shows the dragonslayer bolted to the surface of the movie set. If you look carefully you can see a series of white holes in the brown path. These are the holes that I use to make him walk. The animation is a series of pictures as I move him step by step from one hole to the next.
He has threaded bolts in the bottoms of his feet so I put the threaded rod through the hole in the movie set then put a wingnut underneath to tighten it up and secure him in place.
The StoryBoard and the Music
I want to talk a little bit about the storyboard and the music of this project because it is so very important when it comes to making a stop motion animation. You have to storyboard things out otherwise you don't know how to make the set! You have to figure out what things will look like and what the camera angles will be before you start building things.
And the storyboard is the place where you tell your story. Can't do the animation if you don't know what the story is!
This picture shows my storyboard and script for this project. Storyboarding is easy and a lot of fun. It is also very necessary. It doesn't have to be elaborate it just has to show the various scenes that make up the animation.
If you decide you want to have music in your animation there are a few things to consider including the length of the piece that will be played! Once I knew exactly which composition I was going to play for this I could set things up. I knew how long the animation would be and I also created my scenes to roughly follow the flow of the music. This piece of music has definite sections to it and as the sections changed I changed scenes in the animation. It all worked pretty well but took a lot of time to figure out. I listed to the music many times and wrote out a time line by seconds so I could figure out when I wanted to transition to a new scene and at what second in the animation.
You don't have to go this all out with animation but it is something to think about. It will make your work more professional.
The classical guitar piece in the video is a composition by Fernando Sor, Opus 35 number 22, often referred to as the Moonlight Etude.
Here is the completed Video:
How to make talking figures in stop motion animation
The Camera Obscura is a curious device that goes all the way back to antiquity. And it is a pre-cursor to the camera. Fascinating and easy to make. I have a tutorial right here: How to Make a Camera Obscura
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