I got to share an interesting method for doing a stop-motion animation style. I call it "Stop and Go" motion (it's really a kind of motion control). It combines some traditions of stop-motion animation, rod puppetry and a little bit of "Go-Motion." These are all animation techniques that use physical models and a camera. Since there are technologies that make animation more accessible than it used to be, there's a lot more room for experimentation. For the Mad Fest Demo at West Liberty University (2016) - We'll be using the time-lapse feature in a go-pro camera. Then we'll be animating rod puppets using a metronome that can be downloaded onto your iphone. The metronome helps maintain rhythm or "temporal cadence" if you wanna get technical about it.
Stop motion animation is a very tedious process where you have to move a figure incrementally and then photograph each pose to get the appearance of movement. This process involves using the time-lapse feature on a GoPro camera and some figures and I had modified. There's a long-standing tradition in film of using Rod puppets. The GoPro could shoot 2 frames for every half second or 2 to 3 for every half second and then the puppeteers would communicate and coordinate movements that would happen at a very slow rate of speed. Later on the goal was to knock out some of the green and composite some shots together. I even had a couple of students that were really interested in doing voice acting. We have a couple of voice samples for a cartoon characters.
So we had a lot of things going on. we had a lot of students doing stories, a lot of people animating, we had some people acting as movement coaches. Movement coaches were really good because some people were into dance and they could coach people as to how to move in relationship to the slowed down timeframe that happened as a result of using the GoPro’s time-lapse feature.
Some of the students became really Adept at working with the model and working together. They communicated in order to get these motions like cartwheels and doing other unique things with the with the figure that I didn't anticipate. It was really kind of interesting and creative so this team was working on getting a bear to dance around did pretty well with this idea of working on a movement. Some teams were really good at using their imaginations and coming up with unique ideas. Others got really adjusted to the subtlety that is required in order to create a convincing animated sequence.
The students wanted to try to get a figure to dance. We had one student that was a dancer and he was the movement coach here. At some point they wanted to do a split and have the character wave so we had to kind of get the rods to go downward so that the angle of the elbows and arms could go upward in a way that looked somewhat natural.
Okay, I'm animating the puppet and the camera is taking pictures really slowly and they're they're making movements like in real time. You know when you speed this up it's not going to make any sense so they have to imagine what movements they want and then slow them down. We went through pacing exercises and a couple of coordination exercises and we got to a point where they're actually able to think of human movements in a very specific way. They ended up mastering the idea of getting the figure to move around in a way that looked pretty natural. I was very impressed with their ability to start thinking with that sense of the temporal cadence that is required of doing animation really well.
The students involved really did a great job with learning how to collaborate with each other to choreograph movements and animate these figures in a very limited timeframe.