For this week’s live session I was lucky enough to have Lauren from Lauren Ink give us a glimpse into her paper making process. In light of last weeks connection issues, I suggested that we have a video call to discuss how this would work, check whether it was viable to capture the process and make sure that Lauren was comfortable/familiar with what we’d be doing.
From talking to Lauren I got the impression she was quite nervous about doing the live session, she mentioned that she didn’t want the situation to be a teacher/student kind of workshop as she didn’t feel that she was ‘professional’ enough to deliver that kind of content. Although it’s clear that she certainly does have the skill to do this, it was completely understandable why she wouldn’t want to – to reassure her I explained that we could host the live session alternatively. Instead of having the live session be a ‘workshop’, we could market it as a live q&a session. Here we would give the audience a chance to watch Lauren go through her paper making process as usual, whilst gaining further information and knowledge through questioning. We would gather questions prior to the live to ensure we have enough content to speak about, whilst also encouraging live viewers to actively engage during the session.
Seeing as paper making is such a niece market, I was too sure how many people we were going to attract – however I’m pretty sure this was our most popular live session yet! The audience were engaged from the moment we began to market it, meaning we managed to gather plenty of interesting and engaging questions from the get go. Another thing I noticed was that there was quite a lot of interest from different time zones, particularly America. And although most of these people weren’t able to tune in for the live session, we let them know that all our sessions are recorded and stored within the Instagram TV section of the FP page. This was clearly appreciated as we have already had 188 views on the live session!
As Lauren was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, it wasn’t hard to keep a constant flow of conversation throughout the live session, which I think really helped diminish any worries that Lauren originally had.
Th entire process was so interesting to watch from start to finish. Watching Lauren work with natural ingredients in such a calm and content manner made for extremely joyful, wholesome content and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to share her process with the world.
Seeing as I didn’t get chance before, this week I revisited the advice Virpi Kettu gave me regarding creating stop frame animations. Seeing as I was already loving the effects I was getting from making branding elements using playdough, I decided to stick with that as my main material and tried out the Stop Motion Studio app Virpi had recommended. However, I did have some animation concepts sketched up from before that may require a different mix of materials.
Studio Motion markets itself as the ‘the world’s easiest app‘ for creating stop frame animation, and that much I can vouch for. It was super simple to use, you could easily export any animations that you had made as GIF’s, still images or MP3 Movie depending on what your wanting. However, I did notice that the quality of your images dropped drastically once they were put into a stop frame sequence, below is an example of what my hand looked like in the view finder vs after it was rendered into a stop frame.
Another issue I came across was that regardless of the lighting set up, the camera would change the colouring of the images taken seemingly at random. Making the animation look a little messy and amateur (even more so than I was!). You can really see the effect that these few factors have on the final animation on my official attempts down below.
As you can see, the results were oversaturated and the lighting was constantly changing, resulting in quite a messy looking animation. But I wasn’t going to give up yet! I started doing some research (which ended up being an extreme Youtube deep dive) on stop frame animation, I found videos showing the different methods people use and how the equipment used to set up. I’ll spare you from looking through the entirety of what I ended up watching, but here’s are a few that really helped me move on to the next stage.
Although I knew my phone was capable of capturing high quality images, I wanted to trial out using my Nikon camera instead to ensure the highest of quality, knowing that some may be lost during the animation process. The only real hiccup I bumped into was that my camera doesn’t have a remote control that was compatible with it, instead it has an app that you can access from your phone to control it. Should work just as well right? More on that later. I also went ahead and bought two more white lights, as having just one light source opened opportunities for mistakes via shadows ect.
Getting the camera set up and the process going was easy enough, and as I was following a sketched out plan I had a good idea of what I wanted and how I was going to make it work. To ensure that the animation outcome was going to be as fluid as possible, I captured around 50-60 frames.
All was going well using my mobile as a remote control too, until around the 40th frame. For some reason, it began to glitch out, making all the photos I tried to take either far too exposed or just not in focus. After several attempts to try and fix this issue, I figured it just wasn’t going to work and braved shooting the rest of the animation manually. This was made even harder by the fact I had had to suspend my camera above the playdough, so every time I went to capture a frame manually, the camera was extremely hard to keep still. Once I had all the frames captured, I looked back over them to check for any obvious signs of movement during the last few slides – but what I found was MUCH worse! For some reason, when capturing photos using the phone app, all the settings I had inputted onto the camera weren’t applied, making the first 40 odd frames and the last 20(ish) frame look like they were shot using a completely different light set up. None of the colours matched, the lighting was completely off, even the zoom was different. Below were the two frames that were meant to follow on from each other.
I didn’t want to risk the same issues happening again by reattempting the animation using the remote app, and I certainly didn’t think I would of managed to do create a smooth animation type if I was to reattempt it manually. So I decided to try and edit the frames I had managed to get as best as I could. Thankfully, I knew that if I matched one of the darker images up to one of the brighter ones, I would be able to then create a batch edit using Photoshop – this made this process so much faster than it would of been otherwise!
Once that was done, all that was left to do was record some fun noise effects to accompany the animation and edit it all together in Premiere! Although the final output ended up being far from perfect, I was really happy with the overall effect. I would even go as far to say that the imperfections added some ‘home made’ charm to the animation – which works perfectly with the project. I would absolutely love to try stop frame animation again, however for now I believe I had accomplished what I set out to create, a short ident to highlight the projects character and brand.