still animating, slowly

My husband and I have been spending the winter learning about stop motion animation. Rob and I have been doing numerous tests, which are painstakingly slow. The patience required is a different kind than what it takes to stitch a field of French knots. You have to pay attention all the time and not zone out. The more we become familiar with the process, the more we feel like we are just scratching the surface.

We’re trying out the equipment on my fabric relief Self Portrait: a personal history of fashion (see it here), which I brought home from the show that just ended at the Brattleboro Museum.  We are making an animation by rotating the piece on a lazy-susan, taking a series of close-up photos from overhead as we turn the picture incrementally. When we’re finished filming (I can’t say when), my Self Portrait will be returned to its semi-permanent home at the Woods Hole Public Library.

We’ve set up a work area in the basement. Rob is a retired engineer who loves the challenge of figuring out the technical stuff. He used to design camera equipment for remote under-water vehicles, so I’m lucky to have his expertise.

It’s hard to say when we’ll have something to show for our efforts. Right now we’re just playing, figuring out how to animate my artwork. While Rob is reviewing our new camera and learning the computer program, I’m making characters and sets for another film we’ll eventually make. As the weather gets warmer, it will be hard to stay in the basement, though. We’re taking the long view with this project–it looks like we’ll work off and on for at least a year before we have a finished film to share. Hopefully, our patience will be rewarded.

7 thoughts on “still animating, slowly

  1. I am a big fan of stop motion films. I like to play with the time lapse setting on my camera to make my own little ditties. I shall be patient and look forward to seeing your first project when it’s ready. Your work is perfect for telling some wonderful stories.

  2. It sounds very challenging but like lots of fun! I enjoyed seeing the film in Brattleboro–and seeing the fabric relief as well! Lots of luck–and lots of fun–with your endeavor!

  3. This looks fascinating. You are indeed lucky to have a true scientist helping!
    Maybe Rob will rent himself out, to those of us who married English majors. They shrug and say “I dunno!”

  4. How interesting! Your artwork would be perfect for this medium. My oldest son, an animation major, has been making stop motion “claymation” animation for years and is now also studying 3-D animation. So i well know how much work this is. He will work days and have only a minute or so on film.

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