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Sinead Animation

Stop Motion/ Model Maker Freelancer

– Why am I blogging?

I first decided to make a blog for my third year project. I hadn’t kept a blog since my first year at UCA Farnham, so I treated this as more of an informal yet organised way to keep track of my workload rather than a formal upload.

After Gradating I decided to keep my blog as I really enjoyed blogging about animation. Now I blog about my job(s) – freelancing is full of them!

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Week 8 at UCA Canterbury: Lighting (Y2)

Now that the Students have a rough Character to take into the studio, this week it was all about lighting!

This workshop was based upon the lesson plan I made last year. This will give the students a basic understanding of how to create lighting for times of day and as well as how to create abstract lighting for emotional scenes.

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First I wanted the students to get a feel for the lights, how they can be controlled and moved about on a stage, using them to their best potential. They played around with the lights at first, taking note of their colour changing abilities of orange ‘warm’ and blue ‘cold’ white light settings as well as their capability to dim. Following on from this I showed them how to use coloured Gels, Diffusion Paper and Cine Foil for added effects.

Although I could write this all up again, I feel I would be repeating myself too much from last years workshops (so to read more about this check out some of my previous blogs on Lighting Workshops Here…)

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Once the two students understood how to work the lights, I got them to start experimenting with the gel sheets, mixing the colours together and using multiple lights to create times of day. I then asked them to think about their environment that their chosen narrative will be set in. How did it differs from the ‘natural’ environment and time of day we were trying to recreate in the studio?

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For the final part of the workshop the students had to think about Camera angles, how does this effect the light in the scene; does it amplify it or lessen it? I felt like this was an important step to take before the students take on the animation workshop next week as sometimes it is hard to visualise camera angles in terms of a puppet until you can actually see it standing there on stage in its environment.

Tone Death Semi-Finalist!

Tone Death is a Semi-Finalist for Bloody Horror International Film Festival 🎥 this is very exciting news as Munchies did extremely well in last years film festival 🧟‍♂️ fingers crossed for Tone Death!

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Week 7 at UCA Canterbury: Model Making week 2 (Y2)

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Now today was fun! With the prototype armatures the students made last week, it was time to shape out the bones, pad out the joints and then stuff them! We started by carving out the ‘bones’ on the armature – this is because last week we had an issue with using too thin foam board and the bones were not as thick as desired, so to compensate the students coated these joints in mod roc. This did keep the bones lighter than other substances however it meant that a lot of carving was required before we could begin stuffing the characters this week.

Whilst the students were working on this, I explained that a puppet could be made out of anything really, explaining how Jan Svankmajer used old toys, china dolls, bones and lesser conventional materials to animate with. One student asked if compacted foil could be used as a lightweight structure for armature bones and I said sure, why not, if you’re curious certainly have a go! I was so pleased that through these workshops they are starting to think outside their comfort zone and question what other materials can be used!

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I got the students to shred three coloured sponges into three sizes so that they could think about how solid they wanted their character to be. By narrowing down the sizes and choosing to use a set colour for each body part, this helped them to differentiate how they might like the characteristics of their character to start to form. For some they wanted their character to be as equally proportioned as possible, for others they wanted to play with an exaggerated elongated figure.

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Once they had padded out the joints I got them to create a skin around each limb with a stretchy material – such as stockings – and stitch tightly around the limb. Next when they were happy with their ‘skin tube’ they had to stuff it with very thinly shredded sponge to bulk up the character’s body. When they had done this for each limb they had to stitch it all together and then work on their Characters head by using foil as the base.

As ‘homework’ I set the students the task of thinking and making their chosen character for their narrative. How they will look, how their skeleton will move and how the techniques they have learnt over the past two weeks will be used to make their character. I hope that by next week they will have their characters ready to animate, however if they struggle they can brainstorm with each other to help them over their hurdles.

 

 

 

Pioneering Places – Accidental Artwork!

Some beautiful and totally accidental artwork made by the kids for Pioneering Places! We tried to make and reveal faces on coffee filters with wax and ink but it was a bit wet outside when we did it and we had to grab everything and pack it away quickly. A week later and these are such a stunning wonder to look at in their own right!

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Pioneering Places goes Public!

Today has been a fabulous day at Turner Contemporary launching the the Pioneering Places Project to the Public on Universal Children’s Day! If you’ve got a spare afternoon why not take a gander down to margate and see the children ‘Gallery Takeover’ in the downstairs corridor!

There’s also a couple of Videos like this one about the project so far – this video shows the best interview day I’ve ever had!
Try to spot me

https://youtu.be/e0VVJId1qPM

To see Pioneering Places (Turner Project) mentioned in todays News report check out the link at 20mins in! But do it NOW as its only available for 24 hours!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bs216f

 

Week 6 at UCA Canterbury: Model Making week 1 (Y2)

Why Sinéad… you have such a happy smile on your face…could it be because you are running model making workshops with the second years at UCA?

…yes…yes it could be!

Yep that’s right today I started my first model making workshop with three stop motion students in the afternoon. I started today by prepping a lot of materials so that we could launch straight into the model making workshop after lunch…

Before my session could start however, the students looked into 4 part comic strips like Peanuts:

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 20.24.05.pngWhat we don’t realise is how simple these comic strips can be, and this 3 or 4 part story can easily build up into something bigger – like a short film, an animation, a children’s narrative. But it can be rather tasking trying to come up with an idea on the spot suddenly, which is why it is useful for the students to think about their chosen narrative and try to simplify it into 4 key character poses or motivations.

After Lunch the Model Making Begins! 

This is truly my bread and butter moment of the job. 3 Students had signed up for my model making course and I decided to change things up a little bit and head straight for the animatable armatures since all three students seemed super keen and knew a little about the area beforehand.  I adapted my workshop from last year to focus using foam board to create lightweight character bones as appose to using mod rock and papier-mâché which we use last year and created heavier puppets – although in hindsight we did have to resort back to the mod rock as the foam board was too thin to achieve the definition we wanted on the limbs, later the students will carve into these bones to create the sculpture of their character.

I feel that if we had the whole day to work on these puppets, the students would have achieved a better understanding of the materials. I have sent John a breakdown of how to make an armature to refresh the students minds as I’ve asked them to take this technique forward and in their own time begin working on new armatures for their character narrative. By working on one puppet in class and one in their own time, I hope that they pick up the techniques quicker and do their own research into independent learning on character making.  Next week we plan to work on padding of these characters with foam, sponge and latex.

An Added Bonus! 

It’s nice to be nice is a term I really like as it is true, if you are nice to people they will be nice back. During our Model Making Session I was talking to one eager student and he was talking about how he’d love to create puppets like Ray Harryhausen. Admittedly I cannot make latex puppets like that, as much as I would love to, I understand the technique but I’ve not quite succeeded in creating a puppet this way that I am happy with. However Richard Mirosevic-Sorgo – who is an amazing model maker and stop motion animator I went to university with (and who’s name has appeared once or twice in my previous blog entries!) – can and I went on to explain some of his works and characters Richard has made in the past. This student then asked if it was possible for the university to get in touch with Richard and arrange a workshop so that they too could learn from him. I didn’t think I’d have that much weight in terms of asking the university to bring in a freelancers like myself for extra workshop – as this would obviously eat into the courses budget and schedule and a number of other things.

…and the highlight of my week is that Richard has got the green light to run a workshop! I felt so elated that I was able to get a friend some work at the university as a freelancer, it was thrilling to know that my recommendation was considered and accepted – how cool is that!

 

The Joy of Art!

So I’ve been feeling a little bit like a green eyed monster when attending UCA this year as the students have been working on mini briefs that focus on ink or texture or colour and what not. 🧟‍♂️ and I’ve wanted to join in!

Well today for Pioneering Places (Turner Project) the kids (age 6) worked with ink and unconventional materials outside the class room.

For some this was the first time the children had used ink and to see the pure joy in their faces as they picked up a plastic fork or wooden spoon or toothpick or make-up sponge or wax candle and to watch them discover the materials in new artistic light and draw with it 🤗

That unlocked joy is what makes me proud to be an artist

Munchies Hits Italy!

Munchies is Screening in Milan!

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Fun Weekend! YAY

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After saying that I don’t make time to do fun craft things. This weekend has been fabulous as the lovely Rosie came down to visit and we did a ton of tinkering and making for Christmas 😁 now to think of more craft for next making-meet in the new year!

 

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