This is how our film will look!
The environment is stop motion. (door swinging and light) And the character, some shadows, dust are CGI.
Direction of the light has an important role in the film so we experimented with lighting and we’re happy with the result.
Now we just have 200 + shots to animate and composite…..!
We had to do a stop motion of the bakery door.
Then the CG animated character will be composited in.
There is a room painted in black for photo shooting.
It’s a pretty big bedroom….that is what I thought when there was no equipment in.
First the bakery went in with 2 big tables.
Then the light kit.
Then the foam cores. ( To bounce lights)
Then a camera with a tripod.
Then a laptop attached to the camera to use Dragon Stop Motion.
Of course Max goes in and I go in.
I was pretty determined to take some sort of making-of video or picture but there was no way I could take any wide shot to show how things were set up.
Here is my attempt.
That is Max setting up the camera and making sure lights are good.
You can’t even tell what’s what.
And it’s blurry, too.
Every time we needed to change the angle of lights or move something, we had to jump, crawl, twist our bodies to get to anything.
The room was all of a sudden too small.
When Max left the room with his laptop, I gave another try to photograph the room.
I drew in our figures to give an idea of what happen.
I did the stop motion while Max on the other side recorded and made sure that the door stop motion was lining up with the CG animated door.
But it looks pretty boring, doesn’t it.
From the other side
Still boring. But I hope what was captured will be beautiful.
Introducing some characters who will appear in our new film.
Some didn’t make it into the cut and some ended up getting more screen time. But the casting is over.
Max has been learning Cinema4D, Mudbox & 3D Coat. I’m really impressed how fluent he is with all the programs.
Max has been modeling the characters in CG using the clay puppets as reference. All of the facial features on the characters will be drawn animation so we can get a wide range of expressions.
Some people think that when you take a photo of the clay puppet and press a magical button, the character will immediately transforms into a 3D version. Although the technology is really advanced, it’s not that magical and easy. It takes months and months of training to get to the level of making a cute and organic character in CG.
Here’s the comparison of the clay and digital.
The first character is being rigged….can’t wait to animate them and bring them to life. *smile*
Our great animator friend, Kirsten Lepore, is finishing up with her new film and one of our characters will be making a screen debut.
So she turned our clay puppet into an animatable puppet. How cool is this? Very excited…!
We’ve always wanted to work with a composer / sound designer during the animatic stage. End of last year, we spoke with Bram Meindersma, a very talented composer / sound designer who lives in Amsterdam.
He came down to Tilburg ( 1.5 hours south of Amsterdam) to sketch out the music for our new film. What an interesting experiment. With Bram’s suggestions, we worked on the edit together. I felt like it was a really cool collaboration. Music can drive some scenes of the film and Bram’s suggestions really helped to shape up the film.
At the Netherlands Institute for Animated Film, we get a guidance once or twice a month. We’ve had writers, animation critic, animation directors, etc. ( I had completely forgotten to document all this but I decided to start now…)
Last week, we had Guido van Gennep who is the BEST Director of Photography in the Netherlands.
After we showed our animatic and discussed some scenes that can use interesting camera moves, we went right into working! Guido showed us some cool lighting effect using our set. It was an eye opening moment when Guido put some masking tapes on a mirror and created simple geometric shapes. When the light hit the mirror, it created a very German Expressionistic shadow!
Now we got some ideas how to light and shoot.
With the help and support from many people, we are slowly moving onto the production phase of our film….When I feel like “time is running out”, that is a very good feeling.
Finally the bakery is filled. Started on Dec 12th and finished on Jan 12th.
This is John the Neighbor sipping a cup of coffee out of a straw.
The first week was dedicated to figuring out the structure.
The four corners have “connectors” which are holding the walls.
These walls slide into the connectors so that I am able to take whichever wall I want for shooting from different angles.
A detail photo of the kitchen.
The wall is somewhat empty because the story is not completely shaped up and something might have to come here.
This is all the baked goods. Some mistaken ones are hiding in the bread rack behind.
The baker needs to clean every night before closing the shop.
side note- every object / character / floor are stained with coffee. This process created an antique look but made my crafting room dirty. So I actually need to use these cleaning supplies.
….and finally, “Here’s Johnny!”
This is one of the sets that is work in progress for our new film.
Making miniature bread made me so happy. I had the biggest grin on my face for those 2 days.
There is a wonderful clay called “Pando” (made in Japan) that is a flour-based clay.
Meaning when you make miniature bread, you can actually bake them and they’ll rise a little bit.
You can color the clay before baking of afterwards.
The first set, I baked them without color. Actually coloring before creates a better result.
Strawberry shortcake, double chocolate cake & blueberry pie were made.
While making these baked goods, I was so hungry all the time. When the clay is baked it even smells like bread a little bit.
But the saddest truth is that after baking all day, there was nothing edible.
Look how hunched I am. This can’t be good for my health.
I need to take a picture of Max sometime soon because his posture is exactly the same.
Some bread is on the shelf, ready to be sold by…
…the baker with a cinnamon bun hair-do!
Next week, I’ll be making all the odds and ends for the set like shelves and kitchenware.
More pictures will be coming soon…
We have developed 3 ideas for our next short film in the past few months.
About 2.5 weeks ago, we have finally settled with one that we both felt like it is worth pursuing for the next 2 years. It’s still too early to describe anything. Ideas and images are scattered all over. But we are working hard and hoping that it’s leading towards a good direction. Currently trying to figure out a visual style while writing script. More images to come…!