turning dreams into reality

I moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 to pursue a Master’s degree in Film & Digital Technology and spent that year experimenting and creating a wide variety of films.  However, there was one type of film that I never had the opportunity to make until this past weekend: a stop-motion animation.

I had always known how tedious the process can be when creating films utilizing stop motion.  I watched behind the scenes of some of my favorite stop motion films and always admired the perseverance and attention to detail made by the animators.  After creating my first stop motion animation, I can honestly say that it is even more time consuming than originally thought.

Upon meeting with my group, I could tell that Nitish and Dorothy were just as excited as myself to begin this process.  None of us had ever made a stop motion film nor knew how to use DragonFrame, but we were excited for the challenge.  We had the idea to use components from our Arduino and create a simple 15-30 second animation.  img_8786img_8759img_8760img_0493We wanted the components to come to life and walk around like people.  We soldered tiny shoes on the selected components after a strict and lengthy audition process.  We also staged a classroom like setting in the shop.  We decided that our story would be a classroom scene where each component represented a different child and the Arduino would act as the teacher.  We had a vision of creating a simple love story of an LED falling in love with a capacitor.  The LED would be excited and light up, but only when not seen by his crush.  When the capacitor would turn around, he would simply just stare without any emitting any light.img_0496img_8770img_8769

Once finalizing our story, we set out to shoot the scene frame by frame.  Upon constructing a suitable background for our story, the long and arduous process began.  Dorothy was in charge of taking each photo, while Nitish and I slowly and methodically moved each and every piece less than a centimeter at a time.  With our “giant” hands, we continually knocked over the pieces and had to reset them to match as well as possible to the previous shot.  We each developed our own methods of moving the pieces and most of our actors were very easy to work with.  However, one of the components (and I will take the high road to not mention his/her name) kept falling over on almost every single take.  If we were to shoot a sequel, we would not hire this component again.img_0501img_0502img_0503img_8771img_8774Once the shoot was complete, we then went to the editing room and began to assemble the film.  We each took separate parts to make time go faster and because each of us had different specialties.  We put the frames together in Premiere, edited certain segments in Photoshop, added sound, color corrected the images, and then finally had our own thirty-second stop motion animation.  While this was certainly a difficult task and we definitely made it harder on ourselves by working with miniatures – – it was an absolute blast to create this final piece.

Enjoy.

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Final Project == 4.0

Well, the day has finally come.  Alex, Katie and I have spent the past couple of weeks working together on what seemed like an inconceivable idea considering our collective aptitude in physical computing and processing, but we finally crossed the finish line.  Alex and I are set to present tomorrow and we will be in the winter show over the weekend.  While there are still a few bugs to adjust in the interim, we are confident that we will have those fixed by the time it will be shown to the world (or at least whoever comes to the show on Sunday and Monday).

Unity Dancing

This was my first experiment with Unity and I must say that I actually really enjoyed it.  While obviously there is still a lot to learn, I was amazed how quickly I was able to grasp everything at a basic level.  This may not be the most graceful video ever made, but I am controlling the three movements with different key strokes.

Dancing in a meadow below: