Because there was a greater interval between this post and the last one thanks to spring break, I finished a lot of stop motion animation.
I completed my Medieval Life Without a Blacksmith project, though sadly it didn’t win the contest. Nevertheless, I am very proud of how it turned out. As such, even though it didn’t win the contest, I have still been looking over it to try and figure out why it turned out so good. Here’s what I’ve come up with. Firstly, I think sound effects really help and trying to have no silent part anywhere in the video. To do this you can use many sound effects, and some music, and maybe a voiceover to fill the gaps. I’ve found putting in that extra effort for well-made sound makes it seem much more professional and complete. Another factor is that the contest put restrictions on how long of a run time I could make my video have. This forced me to cut boring parts and unnecessary parts, which is great for my videos because sometimes they can be unexciting.
After my blacksmith project, I started working on and completed a How-to-Build video, which featured a robot I built. I did a great job with sound effects, taking after my previous project, but once again it suffered from feeling too long and drawn out which just goes to show that the time limit on my previous project really was helpful. There isn’t much else to say about this project besides that it gave me some more practice with both the practical and digital process of making effects like blaster bolts and explosions.
The final bit of stop motion animation I did were a few brief Hotwheels test animations, where I focused on making my sets and lighting more visually appealing and exciting after the rather flat lighting of the robot project. To this end, I think I did well, but my lighting still could’ve been more dynamic.
All three of these are linked below, as well as a link to the winners of the blacksmith project.
I also have had one meeting with my mentor since the last post. During this meeting, we discussed my two videos, as well as how I should go about working on my ongoing project involving a Wookie from star wars. Because it is editing month, there was a lot of talk about how I could improve on that side of stop motion. We talked about some possible problems with my editing, such as too slow of transitions, and also talked about extra improvements I could make like more special effects and sound effects. All in all, I gained a lot from it that I will be putting to my advantage as I go onwards.
How to Have a Beautiful Mind
Due to safety and privacy reasons, all video evidence pieces will be in a different document that requires a password to view. When the paragraph below mentions a part of our call, there will be a number attached which you can then use on the media document to find the corresponding video.
Chapter 9 of How to Have a Beautiful Mind talked about concepts and training yourself to see the overarching concepts dictating smaller subjects. I will be naming a few concepts I noticed in my most recent conversation with my mentor. One concept we talked about was framing, but we were really pointing out and discussing a specific scenario of poor framing that showed up in my video, as my mentor says, “when the robot is building up I think his headroom is a little shy.” (1) Another concept of animation we discussed a lot was lighting, as my lighting tends to be too flat and not dynamic enough, and we mentioned and focused on this in all three of the videos we discussed. (2)
Chapter ten of How to Have a Beautiful Mind discusses alternatives. This call was chock-full of alternatives my mentor was giving me and we were thinking up. This is because my stop motion animations are not altogether that bad, but there’s always a better or different way of doing it. As such we discussed ways of editing it better, lighting better, and animating better. He also gave me an alternative in scriptwriting as we had discussed lowering run times to avoid boredom, and when I presented a sort of long part of a story, he offered an amendment, saying, “I think that works well, it just also adds a ton of screen time.” (3) One perception alternative that he didn’t necessarily offer me, but we sort of figured out together is that I should try altering my perception of how long a video should be. I’ve always tried to bloat the runtime to make people watch my video longer and to get more runtime out of less work, but as we discussed way above that can actually be harmful. Given that, I am trying to shift my perception from that to a desire for a more streamlined video.
The next tasks ahead of me will start to be wrapping up my in-depth. I will continue to work on my Wookie project, trying to put a lot of thought into its many aspects and how I can make it better. I will also start thinking about and working on my final presentation, and how I can display how I’ve improved at stop motion in a creative and interesting way, though more on that below. Finally, I will continue to learn about and practice editing my stop motions, and in May I’ll really double down on my final project, with the Wookie.
I will be presenting my learning and my learning center the same way I chose to digitally present my eminent person, which is through a website. I really like doing it this way, as it gives the viewer the options to discover for themselves and chose what work of mine they like to see. Unlike my previous website, this one will need to be very concise and cut to the chase. I am still thinking about this, but I will definitely focus on aspects of my project which really stood out to me or “blew my mind”, rather than more dull ones. These will also hopefully be themed around my four topics, story, equipment, animation, and editing. I hope my audience will learn how much work goes into animations like these and also gain more of a respect for stop motion animation as a whole. To achieve that first goal, I will be sharing many behind-the-scenes time-lapses and for the second goal, I will share prestigious stop motion beyond just my own work. Finally, the fact that I am doing it in website form already makes it interactive, but to make it even more so, I will greatly encourage questions and commenting, and letting people explore for themselves.