Kitty and the Rainy Day (H.o.p.'s 2nd Flipboom movie)

Kitty and the Rainy Day from H.o.p. on Vimeo.

Here’s H.o.p.’s second animation in Flipboom.

H.o.p. started on this on Sunday night last, immediately after finishing his first Flipboom movie, and did much of the work in one sitting. Then he worked on the animation in fits and starts what amounted to a couple of other days during the week. His computer crashed at one point and he lost two scenes (an evening’s work) which took the wind out of his sails for a little while. Also, he was conflicted on the scenes with the Loch Ness monster and spent a couple days trying to figure out viewing angles.

This was the first animation in which he has ever tried to do the movement of mouths for laying in voices afterward. He labored hard over it, having me say the lines for him so he could examine how my mouth moved, and it worked beautifully when he was speaking the lines before we got down to doing the recording. Once we were doing the recording, however, he didn’t hit things right on target, distracted with excitement, but he was happy with what he got regardless.

H.o.p. came up with the story and did all the animation, and he did the voices and he did the sound effects and he chose the Benny Hill theme to go in the movie as background music.

I did a very lame job of recording those voices, effects and music in Audacity. I just couldn’t get things right. It had taken me a while to get it set up in the first place, and H.o.p. was anxious to get it all done and up so there were no retakes, everything was first try.

H.o.p. likes Flipboom–it’s a very easy and intuitive program to work in. It’s so easy that he was able to do the first couple scenes in one night, the first night he began working in the program.

If there’s something H.o.p. doesn’t care for about the program, it’s that the paint bucket tool doesn’t always work. An object has to be entirely enclosed for the paint bucket to fill it in and an object can look enclosed but the paint bucket won’t work. In some instances the paint bucket won’t fill entirely. You can also see where some lines enclosing objects seem to also disappear.

One needs to be aware that when you’re exporting an animation, a good bit of cropping occurs. For instance, in the scene where the three cats are standing and talking together, one was originally able to view the center cat’s whole mouth and below the mouth as well. I realized this happened when H.o.p. did his first Flipboom, and told him he should make sure to have some bleed area but he promptly forgot my warning.

I think he did a great job. And he’s quite pleased with his effort.

If you want to leave any comments you can do so on H.o.p.’s blog where he’s also posted the movie.

Superduck Saves the Day (Again)!

H.o.p. did this animation yesterday, then we worked on it today.

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He hopes it will entertain you.

We also hit the Atlanta History Center again. I may or may not have a pic or two. The plan was just to walk the gardens, getting acquainted with them, but instead we ended up doing the tour of the old Tullie Smith farm house (dates from the 1840s), then roamed the auxiliary buildings and had fun looking at the sheep and chickens.

Robot Escapes a Dungeon

This is the other movie we did today. Again, H.o.p. did the story and animation and I helped him with the technical aspects of putting it together on the computer.

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To my knowledge there are no parts 1 through 3.

It turns out he’d lost his camera (!!!!!!) and didn’t tell us, then found it yesterday under a bunch of his junk in a drawer. So now he’s all eager to get back to doing movies.

“I’m all out of practice,” he says.

Frankly, I think he was also going through a period of exasperation with the whole process of animation because today he admitted that he was getting tired of taking so many shots trying to get things to look right. Consequently, today he did not take that many shots for these movies. And, as he said…

“I’m all out of practice.”

I’m trying to talk him into not doing epics (he starts out with big ambitious projects and burns himself out) and instead try practicing doing little short scenes.

He’s very excited (VERY EXCITED!) about finally having sound on his movies, so I expect to see soon a number of movies of robot thwarting villains.

P.S. The Fire Rhino???!!! The Fire Rhino!!! Love it. The fire becoming a FIRE RHINO!

P.P.S. Yes, I know we misspelled “villains”. I could always blame it on H.o.p. and you wouldn’t know any better (would you) but that one is actually my fault.

Duck Joplin

H.o.p. worked on this little movie today (even though it says January, we did it today). I aided him with the technical aspects of putting it together on the computer, but he did all the animation and the story himself, and found the music he wanted to add to it. I helped him to implement what he wanted in Photoshop and Quicktime and doing the recording in Audacity, then getting it up.

It was a long day as we did two movies.

A longer day because the conversion from a mov file to flv at Dreamhost was mucking everything up and I’ve spent TWO HOURS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY after spending all day working on these two movies with him. Unable to figure out why it was all mucked up and stalling and cutting out, I finally just converted to the d**** flv myself and it seems to be working fine.

P.S. Forgive the background hum. I forgot to cut off the speakers when recording the Scott Joplin music for this. H.o.p. found a site with the music and I had to set up the mic next to his speakers and record it off his computer, but I forgot to turn off my speakers while recording and got this terrible, annoying hum. But H.o.p. likes it. He thinks it contributes to the antique ambiance. He put up the movie on his website and titled it, “Charlie Ducklin”. Cute!

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George Pal! War of the Worlds!

The post header. That’s what we’ve been up to around here. The Fantasy Worlds of George Pal! I’d been promising H.o.p. for months a viewing of Pal’s “War of the Worlds” via Flickr. Finally we got it. The DVD played nonstop for two weeks, H.o.p. religiously studying in particular the test shot of the Martian climbing out of the UFO, shown in the documentary of the making of the movie, so I ordered Flights of Fantasy for him and Marty picked up “War of the Worlds” on sale.

So that’s where my brain’s at. Surrounded (as ever) by all the little nuts and bolts of a nine year old and his devotion to film and claymation.

After countless times viewing the original martian (an octopus) climbing from the spaceship, H.o.p. attempted to do his own version. I think it’s his best yet.

Silly Wooden Models, by H.o.p.

OK, now this one…this one is worthy. And it’s funny, at least to me, the end is. Cracks me up every time.

H.o.p. had seen these wooden artist models last spring or winter at IKEA and he had to have them. He decided this was what he needed to start practicing stop animation. But then he never did anything with them. They just sat there.

Earlier this week he seemed to be getting fed up with the Legos. Burned out on them. “How am I going to learn to take more shots?” he said.

“Will you now use a tripod?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

I handed him the wooden artist models. “Try these out.” I told him. “Go slow. Very slow.”

This is what he came up with, playing around with them the first time earlier this week. Very short. 80 photographs. He kept laughing over it all. Ran to his room and got a pseudo-robotic-dino toy to incorporate. He finished it in one sitting. He’s a dedicated kid.

I love, love, love how he makes it leap and dive upon its wooden prey! And then the wooden artist models begin to run away in terror. I’m highly amused.

Silly Artist Models by H.o.p., age 8

The Boogie Man Monster, by H.o.p.

So, H.o.p. shot thousands of pics over the summer for uhm stop animation, and I say “Uhm, stop animation” because it all turned out to be slide shows, really. At spring’s end he had done, for a kid, this major opus of a stop animation. And then suddenly he went Lego crazy and after viewing a number of Lego animations he decided it had to be Legos, all Legos. And dragons. So for the rest of the summer it was almost all Legos and dragons. Which is fine. Except he refused to use the tripod and he did everything so fast, not near enough frames. Thousands of pics and not near enough frames for anything. He had all his stories plotted out in a major way and a number of scenes to each little video he had plotted. But there are just way too few frames.

I’d upload his pics and then put them in Quicktime at 6 frames per second and he’d say, “Uh, it’s not supposed to look like that. It’s too fast.”

I would put them in Quicktime at 2 frames per second and he’d say, “Uh, it’s not supposed to look like that. It’s too slow and jerky.”

I’d tell him, “You need to shoot more frames.”

“It’s all right. It’s all part of learning,” he’d say.

“Yes, it’s all right. It’s all part of learning,” I’d say.

Then he’d go back and do another 350 shots of another elaborate story and still not near enough frames. Repeat of the above discussion. And H.o.p. would run off vowing to take more pics. He would come running over to me many times and have me look at sequences of pics he’d taken and he’d say, “Is that enough pics yet?” and I’d say, “No, sorry, honey, it’s not enough pics yet. You need to take more pics. It’s not going to be like you want it to be.”

“It’s all part of learning!” H.o.p. would say, running off to shoot more pics.

He had a lot of fun doing it, too.

All last winter he had worked on small onion-skin style animations and with those he had started to get it, the idea of more frames needed, need more frames. But it wasn’t happening with the Lego stuff. he worked too on several clay stop animations but he keeped seeming to short out on them and returned to the Legos. He kept saying he had to finish the clay ones, that he wasn’t done with them, while he contined with the Legos. All summer long every flat surface in the apartment was filled with clay animation things he had begun work on but hadn’t finished and Lego animations that were ongoing.

I’ve got thousands of pics still sitting on my computer from this summer. I have tried going through them with him and putting together movies from them with him. Tried periodically throughout the summer. I thought it needed to be done with all of them because these were things in his head, things he really wanted to do, he put a lot of work into them. And I thought it would teach him something too, that the more he worked with the actual pics, putting them together in Quicktime, the more he’d start to get it that he needed more frames, he needed to slow down. He knew they were not what he wants and he’d start working on one, get into it a couple of scenes, then decide it’s not worth finishing and run off to start on something else. We have managed to put together several “animations” but they’re really for his own edifictaion and are more slide shows than anything else.

The one below is from the middle of the summer.

The Plot of The Boogie Man Monster

“The Boogie Man Monster” involves a couple of warriors going through dangerous water, going to a castle, meeting the Boogie Man Monster, something about a spaceship getting eaten by a space monster (don’t know how we got into outer space, but he used a plastic Apollo rocket toy given him by a cousin for that), in the meanwhile a flashback scene, they escape from the Boogie Man Monster but then it reappears and is chased back to its dangerous water lair.

This has a couple of fun things in it. I like how he did the Lego men going through the water at the beginning and end. I love that he incorporated a flashback! He shot it linearly so it’s straight out of the camera except he wanted a neon filter effect from Photoshop to add to the sense of the mysterious. Oh, and the titles, those were Photoshop.

I’ll follow this up with one he did this week. Very different. Much shorter. And I thnk it’s hysterical. Not Lego.

Robot vs the monster (H.o.p's epic)

And here’s H.o.p.’s second claymation. Which was way toooooo ambitious. Again, he did the claymation, photographing everything himself in sequence, did the story, models and all. Then I helped him put it together first in Photoshop then Quicktime. We experimented and went with six frames per second and had most of the dialogue displayed at about 6 to 7 frames, which is too short a time. Anyway, we’ve basically sat in the same chair for the past three days working on this. I think he learned a lot from it. Claymation models get filthy looking real quickly and he hasn’t yet learned how to work clean and keep this from happening. He began late Monday on another little movie about the robot (didn’t get into it though, I think he has run out of steam on the robot) and pointed out to me how clean he was keeping the models. He could have used some armatures but will save that for a later project.

We’ve had the clayamation clay waiting for him for a number ofl months. He tried it out a while back then put it back up and went back to doing sequence photography of cut-outs. He also has been experimenting with armatures and not come up with anything he likes yet.

Then several days ago he pulled out the clay and out of the blue started on his film project of the Robot Goes Bowling, immediately followed that day by the Robot versus the Monster.

The opening is, I think, his nod to the famed film short Godzilla Meets Bambi. (He’s already referencing favorite directors! How cute.) He saves everything which is annoying, and has demanded for several years I not throw out our old broken globe. He insists he can use everything. And here he pulled out the globe to use it in his animation. (Two weeks ago I almost threw it out, tired of it taking up closet space and imagining there was no use for it.) And I’m quite taken with that ending, the robot’s self reflection.

Today he was going through looking at some claymations by animators and saw some ready-made armatures and called out “That’s what I need!” You can see from the robot the problem of not having an armature. The clay needs an armature in order to hold its shape and alone doesn’t have the strength to stand up on its own.

H.o.p. took over 250 photos for these two claymations, which with reduplications added up to over 900 frames for the Robot vs the Monster movie and over 130 for the Robot goes Bowling movie. Now, 250 photos is not that much actually for a claymation, but it’s a lot for an 8 year old in one day. Each photo means that after taking it he had to work with the model on the scene making it do something and then another photo and then working with the scene again, and so on. And we don’t have a tripod. That’s a lot of work for one eight year old to do without any help, as he had no help with that part at all. The models may look clumsy to the viewer but H.o.p.’s interest this time around was, I think, just getting a claymation done.

The movie is Quicktime and compressed way way way down for the internet.

Werewolf animation!

Brrr, chills. This time H.o.p. does a werewolf animation. With captions. He had to do two separate files as the rudimentary program only handles 18 frames. Why would a caption require its own file? Because the W grows werewolf ears, that’s why! Anyway, a werewolf and neopet go up onto a cliff to howl in the moonlight. Notice also how, as the werewolf turns its head from left to right, the earth’s shadow passes over the moon.

You have to appreciate how much time it takes an eight-year-old to do these things, especially on this level of involved movement.

Two new drawings painted in Photoshop have also been added in his 2006 gallery. With Elmo he deliberated on the idea of the moon and cloud reflected in the window, and added shading on the side of Elmo away from the moon.

Elmo looking at the moon

Love the antenna poking through the clouds in the below drawing.

Sesame Street at night

H.o.p. enjoys the idea of people looking at his work and putting it up on the blog. Is very excited about his gallery, for which I need to do his own entry web page. He comes over and wants to read this entry and smiles and starts talking about other things he wants to do in the future to put up. And he brings up his robot animation I posted yesterday and wants to read the entry for that.