week_1: stop motion animation using dragonFrame

For this week assignment we focused on familiarizing ourselves with the technical aspects of stop motion animation, mainly: setting the stage, choosing the characters, setting up the camera and learning to use the software 'dragonFrame'.

As a concrete example of the process, we present here two short animations with mannequins as the main characters. Each animation is less than 30 frames and when compiled at 8 frames per second (8 fps) produced a 3 second long animation. We saved the animation as .mp4 format because this format can be imported into Adobe Premiere if we wanted to further explore creative applications.

Animation #1: mannequins on stairs

Although we did not formulate a storyboard and/or specific storyline for this project, we agreed upon exploring the visuality of mannequins walking up the stairs and their shadows on a white background when they were directly illuminated with a desktop lamp.

Interesting elements to highlight from this short draft are the construction of the stairs with legos, the use of a white cardboard to effectively display shadows in motions, and the process of moving the articulations of the mannequin as it walked up the stairs. We also decided to add an element of shifting the angle of the stairs while keeping the camera in place, adding an additional layer of movement to the piece.

We ended the piece by including a second mannequin starting to walk up the stairs. Because the second mannequin was closer the the camera, the focus of the action is on it while the first mannequin waits upstairs moving its arms.

We encounter difficulties in moving the mannequins consistently because of the surface area of the legos that made the steps of the stair. This setting required us to use double sided tape to stick the feet as the mannequin progressed upstairs.

Animation #2: mannequins dancing

The idea of this piece was to experiment with mannequins in motion in relation to contemporary dance. We also put emphasis on the visuality of the shadows displayed on the white background and change the position of the mannequins in relation to the lamp and camera. One mannequin is bigger than the other, alluding to a dance couple (man & women).

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Keywords: stop motion animation; Martin Calvino