Sunday, 31 May 2015

Best-Stop Motion Nominee 2015!

I apologise greatly for my lack of posts it's been a hectic summer, start to my third and final year at University. Yikes! 

Brief update: I was nominated in the 'Best-Stop Motion' category at the end of last year in the yearly USW Animotion Show, previously known as the Glammies. I was over the moon to be nominated as a second year student. I was up against the lovely Steph Howells & the lovely James Stafford and their final third year films that I was lucky enough to collaborate and help them with. Congrats to Steph for well deserved win! 
Check out their blogs here: James' Final Film: "Bloody Mary" Steph's Final Film: "Wings"

I had to send in a showreel of my work that would be watched and assessed by judges in industry. I brought together all of my work accompanied by some Jackson 5, it had to be done! Here is the link to my final showreel through Vimeo:

Sophie A Lewis Second Year Final Showreel 2015

As everyone will agree University is a complete rollercoaster, but second year was brilliant. I really felt I'd improved in many areas and learnt a lot. Now onto some posts how I spent my summer and preparing for the whopper, FINAL YEAR. 
But as a great man once said, "Life is a rollercoaster. Just gotta ride it."
See you in a few chaps!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mini-Me Minimation - Final Images

"You don't have to be great to start - but you have to start to be great." Making of Personal Project

The third and final part of my brief is a personal project, free reign to do whatever I wanted! So I decided to think about possibilities for what I would like to do in the future and merchandising. So I thought of Pop! Vinyl figures and thought I would do my own version of them, but as a self-portrait in a mini set with mini props, so I would get to make a variety of new things for one project.

I started with the making the mini set mini-me would be situated in. So I cut four pieces of MDF using brackets to hold together the outside, using No More Nails glue. 
Cut up some lollipop sticks (thanks Bilbie! ;)) and placed them as floorboards. Then added the wallpaper, painted some timber with white acrylic paint and created the skirting boards. Made the mini-me using wire, milliput and polystyrene ball for the head, covered and added details in Sculpey beige. Hand painted this then with acrylics.

I made a mini mini version of the Land Rover from a previous project, made from balsa wood, Sculpey and buttons for the wheels! I cut off the ends off some plastic spoons and glued them to a button with epoxy glue. Added some coloured beads which would be the wheels and bottom of the office chair.

I sprayed the two parts of the office chair with black spray paint. I cut up an old leather bag to cover the office chair with. Using balsa wood and timber lining I made a desk, using parts of bracelets for the drawer handles.

Made some miniature sculpting tools from Sculpey and bits/bobs like needles, pins, earring studs, bracelet parts, etc. Handpainted all of the mini-me sculpt. Made a chest of drawers the same way I made the desk. 

I made a mini noticeboard like the one I have in my bedroom full of material lists, to-do lists and post-it notes. I made a mini PS4 out of balsa wood, the cable is thin wire with heat shrink tubing around it and the controller made from Sculpey and sprayed black. Photo frames and saw made from balsa wood too.

I made a bookshelf from balsa wood. The books were made from offcuts of wood wrapped in paper/card and leather. Different sizes to be different books including sketchbooks. The TV is just a piece of balsa wood sprayed with a very thick coat of black spray paint. Printed off a still shot from one of my favourite TV shows, Hannibal. Added more wire coming from behind the TV. Trimmed down some cocktail sticks and dipped the very tips in different coloured acrylic paint to become coloured pencils. 

Filled up some space on the desk with plans of the Land Rover and a coffee cup (nothing without caffeine!) Added more photo frames on the walls. More books and frames in the bookshelf and on top of the bookshelf added two candles.

For only having a week to make this I really enjoyed making it because it was making lots of new things that I hadn't made before, so it gave me a lot of confidence to leave my comfort zone every now and again.

Collaboration with Nicki Bilbie (Set)

Over the Easter break I made the fishing boat that would be the set for Nicki. She sent me some photos and diagrams of what she was thinking it would look like. So the only way I would get anything done with this was to just go for it! I decided to make the top half of the boat, the part that would be above water, this would leave me a rectangle on the underneath that I could create a solid base with, including a stand so Nicki can use tie-downs to animate.

I started by cutting two pieces of MDF that would form the floor of the boat. Then I cut several pieces of timber at an angle, these would be the starting point of the sides. I drilled through the MDF first, then drilled through the timber afterwards.

A frame was made out of timber to hold everything together, drilled from the top down through the frame.

Added timber lining to make the sides of the boat, and the back. Hardboard formed the point at the front, hardboard was the only thing that would bend enough without snapping.

I cut up pieces of balsa wood in strips that would become the floorboards. Stuck the floorboards with UHU glue. Cut another piece of MDF and sanded it down to make the front of the boat.

Sanded it all down using sandpaper and the sander to get a continuous finish on the overall boat. I then gave it its first coat of walnut varnish!

The boat after its second coat of varnish.

I then bought some rope intending it to around the outside of the boat, but Nicki & I agreed it looked better as a prop in the boat. I painted the name of the boat in white acrylic paint 'Rusty Blue'. Placed to-scale armature plans of Nicki's to double check its scale. Thankfully Nicki was pleased with it and I was too, I'm no carpenter! 
(Thanks Dad for the help and for letting me steal tools, thanks Mam for the help and accepting the mess I made!) 

Collaboration with Nicki Bilbie (Props)

Lastly, I collaborated with Nicki, she wanted me to make a bucket of bait, some ham and cucumber sandwiches and a fishing boat that would be her set. 

I was excited to make the props for Nicki, the boat? Not so much. But I love a challenge and making the boat improved my skills as it was nice to spend my Easter making something larger rather than all of the small things, even though I love doing them.

Check out her blog, her two characters for her final film are beautifully made and the story has a lovely sentiment (no spoilers here!) Can't wait to see it when it's all put together. Working with friends is the best.

I started making the bait for the bucket, using Sculpey firm and silver Sculpey mixed, made several little fish shapes. Using chalk pastels to add more colour and texture to them. Then added the bait to the bucket one by one using superglue.

I gave the top few baits eyes because they looked better with eyes. When they were all laid up in the bucket I used Sculpey glaze to cover them, this giving them a wet/shiny look.

I then started making the sandwich. I mixed up two colours of Sculpey, one cream and one beige. Rolled the cream Sculpey flat and cut a slice shape out of it using a craft knife. Then added the brown Sculpey around the corners. Textured the Sculpey with a toothbrush and a needle. I then cut the slice diagonally, added texture to the inside, added some pink Sculpey in the centre for the ham and some green for the cucumber. 

Collaboration with Hannah Griffiths

Hannah asked me to make her a hoover for her final film. The hoover has to be animateable, the handle be able to move up and down with the base staying in one place. I was happy to do this for Hannah because none of the other props I had been asked to make required them moving so it was an extra challenge.

Check out her blog; I really like Hannah's style of animation and admire her knitting skills, something I really need to practice!

I started by attaching a bulldog clip to a paintbrush handle using epoxy glue. Cut two pieces of MDF and sanded them into the shape I wanted. Added small details using balsa wood. Used a small hinge glued between the two pieces of wood to secure in place.

I had some blue material that I made a pouch out of that would become the bag for the hoover. Took the metal bits from two bulldog clips and put them either side of the bag so it would be easier to attach to the handle. Using another bulldog clip attached to the bottom of the hoover because it already makes the movement required on its own. Made the tip of the handle from light blue Sculpey.

Final images of the hoover, using old headphones as the wire, showing different positioning of the hoover.