Saturday, 28 November 2009


Just remembered seeing about this on a packet of Blu-Tack I came across the other day so checked it out on their site.
Bostik are currently running a competition in the UK to make an advert for Blu-Tack using either live action or animation, one of the judges is Luis Cook..a director at Aardman who is behind alot of their commercial output. sounds awesome! I think we'll definately be getting something together for this as we start shooting Finley. Trying to think of a short but sweet idea will be hard seeing as you'll need to make a big impact in 30 seconds. doesn't look like there are any entries up on the site yet, but the final deadline is May so hopefully they'll start going up over christmas/new year.
details here:

the brainstorming begins!
I need to go buy some Blu-tack (damn it)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Where's the kid with the chemicals?

This has been such an eventful day; all our silicon,liquid latex and resin orders have arrived! Though it does look abit like a police narcotics evidence locker. (I've only just found out it came today- sent them to a different address so someone would definately be there to sign for the deliveries). Ah, exciting stuff! They also sent an unintentional present in the box;

A ridiculous amount of shredded paper was used to stop the containers moving around, fortunately it'll be put to good use adding to the papier mache forest (update coming on this soon). I can't wait to knock out some tests but I better wait until Gav gets back on the weekend (he's away til Friday helping the place he works at open a new shop in a different city). Ahh, Maybe just a few small tests..? I can't wait to see this stuff come to life. Expect some expansive posts and writeups when this stuff is let loose.

Currently listening to: Radiohead - Where I End And You Begin

Some men must follow, and some command, though all are made of clay.

Just realised I took a picture to stick up yesterday. I bought a load of supplies and got down to doing some sculpting on heads ready for some test casts, used Das modeling material aswell as some Newplast. Das is air-hardening and a pretty nice material to work with, kinda feels like a mix between putty and clay.
Heres a shot which shows the head pretty well:

Did a really quick, rough mockup on GIMP aswell (no photoshop on this computer) Now to work on development and get different changeable heads on the go with the help of some moulding and casting; aswell as the two sets of eyes and mo-hair thats on the way. I can't wait to do a few lip syncing tests since the cameras all set!

Mount Olympus! (kinda)

I've finally located the cable for the Olympus E-500 we plan on shooting with, It's been mislaid for a while..and as such the last test shots I got done were with a Canon Powershot Camera on a Macbook I've since sold. It's gonna be cool to get to grips with using it, our previous setups not really allowing so. Looking forward to spending a load of time playing around with some lighting ideas and different settings to finetune the look we're going for.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Resin casting tutorials

just tracked down a pretty good tutorial for casting in resin using a silicone mould, exactly how we're thinking of doing the replacement heads. the site is an Italian toy collector's site and the author, Alessina. I've used google-translate to stick it in English:


and heres a second tutorial by the same author on making two-piece molds for the same technique:
Two-Piece Mold Tutorial

there are a few bits where some of the translation is way off but it makes it more interesting to read! It's a really clear tutorial anyway. Although I'm sure using foam board for the mold case is just as easy as lego.


Fie, fie, you counterfeit. You puppet, you!

the focus of the weekend has been researching different techniques and making some decisions in terms of the puppet making process which we definetly need to get pressing on with.
emmyymme sent me some links which I've found really useful to start me off. she also suggested I check out Mike Brent's blog which yielded a load of good infomation on his experiences and approach to silicone puppets. was another great resources, looking through the forums answered alot of questions.

at this point we were getting really excited about ordering some dragonskin and the necessary bits and pieces but then hit a huge wall (made entirely of dense silicone). These things are proving fairly impossible to get to the UK without $90+ shipping fees; with most suppliers only shipping within the US or charging an arm and a leg to fly it over here, even when I'm only looking to get a small quantity (for tests, etc).
So after a long period of trawling through the internet we managed to find a few places based in the UK where we should be able to find some alternatives [stuck these on here incase somebody from the UK has the same difficulties and comes across this];

Mould Making and Casting Supplies UK

Resin Supplies

Using different bits and piece we're hoping to be able to experiment with some silicone for arms and casting resins for replacement heads; though we may go for silicone for this aswell depending on how our ideas pan out when put into action.
I'm going to get an order off tonight and hopefully be in a position to get some tests underway within the next week or so!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

a thousand trees

The last few days, it's been all about making trees. Theres a scene set in a dense woodland/forest area thats going to require a load of foliage,trees and landscape work.
After reading through their blogs I have to say Yaz ( and Shelley ( each made an awesome tree.

Due to the sheer amount required in the set, we've decided to go with a really simple cardboard,paper mache and bambo skewer approach- churning out tree trunks and then focusing on the paint and embellishments once we're happy with the volume.

We're generally basing them on Pine Trees:

Though we're aiming for a stylised look, not so much photorealistic- more the shape, presence and layout of the trees. They won't stand up to much scrutiny (most of the parts taking place in this set are fast paced with lots of movement) but you'll know exactly what they are.

There is one more elaborate tree that gets minimal screen time but I'll save that for another time.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

funny bones pt.2 - machining

Our biggest leaps forward came when my Dad (along with my younger brother), decided to give us a hand with the armatures, which has been great. He's put together an amazing jig for drilling the joints, counter sinking the holes and cutting to size, it's enabled us to put together joints efficiently and most importantly accurately.
here's some photos, if anyones interested we could probably stick a video up next time it's getting some use.

essentially, you measure and mark your lengths using the ruler to the right then feed the brass strip down the alley in the middle, where two pieces of bike chain form a circle above the brass in order to feed the drillbit into the center-ensuring the hole is in the right place everytime.
You can then pivot the drill round 90degrees to the second alley where you feed your now drilled strip in order to countersink the holes (allowing the ball bearings to sit well in the joint).
I may stick a more detail explanation up another time but i think this'll do for now.


funny bones

I think it was at the earliest point in planning that we decided we were going to go with machined, jointed armatures for the film. Though the experience we have is solely with clay and ocassionally attempts at using make-shift wire armatures, we knew to get the smoothest possible animation we needed to be using good armatures and tie-downs throughout (something else we don't have experience with) so there's gonna be abit of a learning curve while we get to grips with things during test shots.

We exhausted alot of different avenues early on in our search for armatures; deciding the kits available online didn't really allow us enough control over the anatomy of the characters and also by deciding to save the money and put our own time into producing them.
Anyway we've know reached a point where we're pretty confident in finish up our armatures soon.
They've gone through alot of different developments, sadly i didn't think to take photos all the way through the progress but I'll stick what i have taken into this post.

We've gone with brass and have gotten pretty effecient at making ball and socket joints which work nicely, alot of bits are dismantled at the moment so i'll stick better pictures up soon.


Hello Finley.

So this is my first ever post on Blogspot!
I've never properly maintained a blog, though I've always really liked the idea of it. I remember a couple of years back I kept a blog that was more for the sake of storing memories and ideas for myself to look back on, kinda like a scrap book. The whole thing was very short lived- and however sentimental, probably incredibly boring to anyone out there looking in.

Anyway, this time it feels alot less self-indulgent since I'm actually documenting something interesting. Myself and a friend have always had a huge interest in stopmotion animation, so given that we've both taken a year out before going away to university we've decided to do what we must have planned to do about three different times before, though never had the time-put together a stopmotion film we can be really proud of. It's taken me a while to get round to starting the blog up so we're no longer in the planning stages, more moving through the pre-production stage with increasing momentum (set building, puppet fabrication etc) though there is still alot to be worked out. We're hoping to be in a position to start principal photography at Christmas/newyear. [I guess I've just potentionally made us accountable to anyone reading but thats pretty cool, extra motivation is always a good thing!] The story is loosely based on a short story I wrote a year or so ago, or atleast the themes are related- If i find it i might stick a passage up. We then went through a load of different versions before coming to the final screenplay, which we're really happy with.

Since i've only just started this blog, i'll leave this as an introduction and stick the now amounting production-photos into subsequent posts so it's more organised.
I hope some of you decide to check back now and again, I love the amount of Stopmotion blogs that are around and the amount of usual infomation I've found in them has spurred me on to do the same- I hope something here is useful to someone and I can return the favour.
All the best!