Stop Motion: Do Not Touch

For my Survey of Animation class, we had to study a stop motion animator, then create an animation based off a given prompt. For this I choose to study the animator, Jiri Trnka who was known for using puppet stop motion to make his films. So, after finishing my research I naturally decided to make my animation using puppets. When designing the puppets my main focus for their designs was creating something would be stable and hold it’s weight. I also knew one of my puppets would have to pick up the other, so I added a large tail, to the puppet I names “Blue” to help with balance. In the end this worked, because aside from a few frames where I had use fishing wire, Blue held the other puppet’s weight just fine. On the other hand, I had to make sure the other puppet, which I named “Red”, was lightweight but once again stable. Both puppets were made with a wire and tape frame to make the joints and skeleton, that was then covered in tin foil and cloth to help create their forms. Both of their heads were made of tinfoil covered in clay, and they were completely removable from the rest of the puppet.

When it came to planning and making the video, I choose the prompt that required two characters to disagree, fight and then end up destroyed. So when brainstorming a problem I tried to think of generic things that make me mad. I eventually decided on the fact that I quite dislike when others take or touch my belongings, hence the title “Do Not Touch”. My story was to follow an interaction between the greedy character “Blue”, and rule following “Red”. During the interaction, Blue sees and wants Red’s staff, so he goes to take it. This results in a fight, with unfortunately Blue reigning victorious. However, karma comes to bite Blue in the butt, and when he disobeys the rules again, leaning on the “Do Not Touch” pillar, everything comes crashing down to crush and destroy Blue. For the most part, I believe that I conveyed the story I wanted quite well.

Following Trnka’s example, I decided against changing the facial expressions at all within my animation. I instead tried to rely on motions and lighting to convey their feelings. I specifically tried to work with lighting at the close up at 0:12 in the video. By swapping the light source from above to below, I was hoping to give the sense of “no regrets” across Blue’s face by creating eerie shadows. Overall I am quite proud of this animation and found the creation of to be quite fun. The only really bad thing that I could find about the project was the fact that Blue’s leg started to fall apart during filming and I had to adapt to this change. This is of course why other puppeteers have multiple copies of a character in case a replacement was needed. Hence my problem could be solved with more puppets or better construction of them, with more attention on strengthening the joints. Of course, mistakes like that are part of the learning experience, and I will definitely try stop motion like this in the future.

Hope you all enjoyed the video and please, keep your hands to yourself!

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