How Stop Motion Spins it’s Wheels.

Stop motion spins it’s wheels. If it doesn’t spin it’s own wheels, it spins yours.

There is a scene in “Rocks In My Pockets” where one of the characters, a smart young lady, has to decide where to submit her excellent high school diploma. The education becomes a maze for her, a maze she doesn’t quite manage to exit.

To create the labyrinth for this young lady (based on one of my brilliant cousins who, unfortunately, is no longer with us through an accident that might have been a deliberate jump) I asked my wonderful, skillful boyfriend to make something to hold small plywood boards in place. He made this:

In that I inserted the boards:

Painted the boards:

Painted the boards even more:

Oops, that was not the right color. The other boards, I mean.

I put the painted boards on the stop motion wheel connected to the stop motion rail that allows to move the wheel by precise, regular increments. Lighting Designer Sturgis Warner did his magic with the cheap, available lights and were are set to shoot:

It took 5 tries, but finally we were happy with this:

Now the time to add the character, in drawing.

About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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16 Responses to How Stop Motion Spins it’s Wheels.

  1. Cecile Somers says:

    Gorgeous! Turning two bits of wood into a spooky decor, alleys in which to get lost and found.

    I love seeing the birth of this baby.

    Much Love ,

    • Thank you, Cecile! The birth metaphor is pretty correct. The baby is still cooking inside, near digestive system. Expelling this brand new body is going to be a lot of painful labor. And only then we will see if the baby has any birth defects.
      I hope for the best!

  2. jessica polaniecki says:

    that looks so cool signe!!!

    • Do you see those little jerks in the spin? I see them and not sure if it bothers anyone else. They are kind of inevitable because the rail control is still imprecise, the wheel is connected to the rail with a rope, and rope stretches and slacks like ropes like to do. It accents the whole “handmade” look, like an imperfectly knit sweater. People used to Pixar films would puke at this hand-made-ness. On the other hand, I think Pixar superfans aren’t “Rocks In My Pockets” audience anyway….

  3. jessica polaniecki says:

    I kind of see the jerks now that you mention it but i cant tell if they are just my computer lagging.
    the shot totally works and looks beautiful – i say don’t worry about it 🙂

    • The jerks are there – it’s not your computer. But YES I am going not to worry about it. In some other shots, though, the animated drawings on top of stop motion backgrounds have to match the BGs and one cannot allow After Effects do it automatically. Because of the imprecision of stop motion move each frame has to be adjusted manually. Sometimes it is 500 frames. LOTS of time spent on making drawings fit the moving BGs… while am going crazier and crazier with each frame. : )

  4. domecountry says:

    very nice are more than just a pretty face, no doubt!

  5. I can see the jerks if you ask me to, otherwise it looks incredibly smooth. Don’t bother redoing it. After seeing all the jerks and strobing in PIRATES, you’re doing great. I’m really looking forward to seeing this film. That’s the good and the bad part about animation, it takes so long. Bad in that you have to wait for it; good in that waiting makes you anticipate something (especially if it pays off with a great movie.) It’s like having another Christmas. I hope you’ll be serving goose with it.

    • THANK YOU, Michael! I sometimes fall into the ditch (actually a very deep dark hole) of doubt and despair. It takes so LONG to make a feature! It is like running New York marathon after winning a couple of high school sprint competitions. And I do have the depression problem already as it is. Hit by the 3 D: Doubt, Despair, Depression. But am getting out of the ditch every morning and going to work. Thank you for your support!

  6. Steve says:

    The imperfections you see in the motion are miniscule and not noticable. It might even add to the texture of the film. Not everyone is that enamoured of Pixar’s style. This is a style all its’ own.

  7. Janet Benn says:

    All of the clips are wonderful because they show PROGRESS. Move ahead, do your best, and remember there is always hope, (though some of us have a harder time finding it)! I love your colors!

    • Thank you, Janet! we are moving ahead, very slowly, the progress is incremental. If it doesn’t kill me you know what it will do it me. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra – if you can make a feature film, you can make anything. : )

  8. Pingback: How Stop Motion Spins it’s Wheels. | Signe Baumane | The Flaneur art blog

  9. abobroffhajal says:

    It’s exciting to watch this creation….

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