September Summary

So much work still left to do and deadlines are looming!

With that in mind this monthly summary is going to be short on detail and long on visuals because I need to go get back to work!

In September,  I finished shooting all the shots for scene 5 that used only the bakery set. The last shot in the scene involves another building in the background, so I spent most of the month working on set design and fabrication both for the end of scene 5 and for the sets I will need for my October shooting goal which is scene 9.

Sleepy Dave’s Mattress (for end of scene 5 beginning of scene 6)

sleepy daves color 2 20150831_142512545_iOS 20150918_190720445_iOS 20150921_165518446_iOS 20150922_214704804_iOS 20150922_214649658_iOS20150922_220045114_iOS20150928_135537339_iOS 20151005_141548161_iOSI also needed two lampposts, one full sized and one scaled down to match the background buildings.

lamp post color 20151001_075455540_iOS 20151001_075445064_iOS 20151001_101925934_iOS 20151001_200735351_iOS 20151004_013011015_iOS20151001_075553301_iOS 20151001_075728002_iOS 20151001_103136868_iOS 20151002_073827811_iOS 20151002_195203895_iOS20151005_051901392_iOS 20151005_055451684_iOS20151005_225651465_iOS 20151007_220057898_iOS 20151007_220109359_iOS 20151009_214128993_iOSThe next set of sets I’m going to be building and shooting on this month are for my final scene. There will be a combination set of stores and an ATM in the background when my main character finally reaches the mailbox he’s been running towards.

hardware store color220151010_000034089_iOSAnd here’s the up to date work in progress version of the film from my vimeo page and my tracking pencils. See you in November!


Posthaste July and August wrap-up

Since my last post was published in the middle of July, it didn’t seem worth posting again at the end of the month so I decided to save up my progress pics to upload here at the end of August, and oh look it’s September already! <insert mild freak out about impending deadlines>

Things have been going pretty well. I got almost all of the shots I’d planned on completing in August finished. The set for the bakery scene came out really well, though I made the unfortunate discovery that I’d miscalculated my size ratios and it was proportionally larger than I’d intended. As a result, there were some quick modifications made and some fudging with the photography, but I think it looks alright in the shots I’ve completed so I’m busting through and moving on to getting more things done.

Here are some pictures of the end of the bakery set being built and the final look of it all put together and lit.20150715_055653870_iOS20150715_065412556_iOSwindow sign

20150805_004213869_iOS20150720_004426293_iOS20150724_065612894_iOS20150729_083246400_iOSPieces  of the cupcake door. (mmmmmm….cupcake door)

20150718_025905178_iOSBottom edge and trim attached


Pastries case20150812_043320301_iOS

Papered case and background wall20150817_021708083_iOS

Platter/cone things (made of plaster and wrapped in paper)20150817_042102268_iOS


Tiny plates!20150818_062525747_iOSPlates and platters on their platform20150819_033246978_iOSPlates, platters, platform, and pastries!20150821_001407893_iOSLook at the tiny bakery! I want to go visit there and eat all the tiny baked goods.

Post_501_01_X1_0001Lit and ready for animating! With tons and tons of thanks to my friends who’ve come out multiple times for my monthly set-building get-togethers and have been helping me get these sets done so much faster than I could do just by myself.

Speaking of friends, all my stores in the sets are inspired by my friends who’ve been so helpful in the course of getting my masters and working on the thesis itself. The Byte-sized Bakery is actually a shout-out to my fellow RIT classmate Vijay who’s been my critique-buddy throughout both of out thesis projects and has been helping me with some of my 3D shots. I created a brownie-loving monster in him at school which is where the whole bakery-as-Vijay’s-store concept came from.

I have really awesome friends. =)

Here’s the long animation shot that goes into the full version of the film.

Short version of the intro to scene 5 for the version of the film that cuts out the rock and roll fantasy sequence.

Full version work-in-progress cut.

Short version work-in-progress cut.

end August pencils

In the last month and a half I’ve managed to fill out a few more sections on my tracking chart. I’m just waiting to get one shot back from my compositer for scene 1 and that will soon be locked and ready for sound, and hopefully the short version of scene 5 will follow soon! In the meantime I’m now focused on finishing the last shot for scene 5 and then I’ll be building my set for scene 9 which is the final scene in the film so it’s a very important one. Wish my luck!

Posthaste May and June Summary

It’s been a hectic two months over here in my world. At the beginning of May I had just finished building my set for scene 1 and had started animating some of the opening shots.  I felt like I was making some good progress on the animation and would be able to finish it by the end of May only to get walloped by a month long monster flare. Then, when I was finally able to start animating again in smaller time chunks, my dastardly puppet went and snapped both his knee joints simultaneously. Bad puppet! Finally, after several weeks of dealing with troublesome joints of both the human and puppet variety I managed to get scene 1 shot 3 finished which is one of the longer and more complex shots in my project. Yay!

I have only one more shot left to shoot for scene 1 which is a quick insert shot of the puppet’s backpack being dropped to the ground and then I just need a still frame of the hallway set through the door to be composited into scene 2. If luck and my health holds, I should be able to get those completed this week.

During some of my low energy periods, I did manage to finish the animation and coloring work on scene 2-3 where my character imagines the path to the mailbox in a 2D sequence. All that’s left if to add some textures to the shot and it will be completely locked and ready for sound and music.

In between all that I also started to design and build my set for scene 5 which takes place in front of a bakery. I had a set building weekend where many of my most wonderful friends came by to help out with measuring, cutting, and gluing and saved me many hours of solitary work which allowed to catch up a little on my flare-induced deficit. Since my final deadline is swiftly approaching for this fall, I think I will continue to have some set-building weekends with friends to help push my project along to completion.

Here’s what I’ve got for the scene 5 set so far.

bakery set




What I’ve spent most of my time on has been creating the various pastries that will be filling the window.











And here is the total work-in-progress video I have of everything I’ve laid into the final composition so far.

mid july pencil progress

Pencils to track my progress. =)

Posthaste April wrap-up

Hello all!

Well April was a busy month, though, sadly, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped. I had wanted to get all the shots for scene one completed, but that hasn’t happened yet. Mostly a combination of me underestimating how long some things would take to build and a nice big flare mid-month slowing down the works even more. But I’ve started the animation and have one shot under my belt so far, so forward momentum is happening. Yay progress!

Last month I had the basic components built and in place for the scene 1 set. In April I focused on getting the detail work done. Putting the small props in on the desk:

















Laying in a floor pattern.


Finishing the scarf and coat that go on the coat hangers.


Both of which are wired along the back so I can animate them at the end of the scene when my character runs out the door.


Adding a wall clock,…




… a pair of boots,…


… a potted plant,…




…and a floor runner to make it look more lived in.


The small written details of the notes posted all over the desk.


And I decided to swap out the green screen through the arched doorway, with some flat optical-illusion type pieces to save me some time in post-production work, as well as introducing some of the flat background elements I plan to use in the store windows in later scenes.

20150417_122028093_iOS room insert

The digital images.

20150507_050447721_iOSPlaced in the scene.

I also built my moving camera rig which I’m pretty proud of. It’s essentially a wheeled box that holds a cut down tripod that moves back and forth on a threaded screw rod. It works on the same principle that you see when you hold a bolt steady and spin a nut on it with your finger and the nut moves up or down the bolt based on which direction you spin it in. In this case, the camera is attached to the nut on a much larger bolt.







Here’s a shot of it in action.

This past week I’ve started animating this scene so I’ll have some shots for you in my next blog post. Ideally, I’ll also have a large portion, if not all, of my next set built. See you then!

Posthaste March Wrap-up

Hello again blog followers and any new folks who may have wandered in. =)

Now that we’re a week into April I thought it would be a good time to post my summary of work from the month of March.

March was really split into 2 sections for me. The first half I spent building a small street set with some green screen behind it to shoot some animation of my mail truck which will be eventually composited into a 3D camera zoom shot.



Here is the final shot of the truck coming around the corner.

I also used the street set to take a POV shot of Randy’s hand to use as a transition into the 2D walkthrough sequence in scene 2 shot 3.
Here’s the connecting frame from the 2D sequence.

walkthrough f35And here is the POV shot I will use to transition into the 2D.

intial hand ref

Here’s a new version of my work-in-progress laid over the animatic so you can see where I’m at in terms of overall progress.

The second part of the month I spent building most of the next set I plan to use to shooting scene 1 of my project. I still have a little more work to go to fill in props and to build and test my moving camera rig, but I’m hoping to be able to begin animating on the new set soon.

Scene 1 full hallway

My initial planning sketch. Later edited to add the additional doorframe.


These segments are for the wainscoting along the walls.




Here is the beginning structure for building the walls of the set.


The elbow belongs to my friend Jack who helped me with some of the construction and who is designing my titles and credits for me. Thanks, Jack!!





I’m using k’nex to build modular scaffolding for each of my sets moving forward. It’s a lot faster and cheaper than building a wooden frame for each set.




Pieces for the desk that holds the letter and various notes from Randy’s mother reminding him to mail the letter.







Hanging coat wrack made from foamboard and cut up scrapbooking thumbtacks.




Randy’s backpack which he unceremoniously drops by the front door instead of his shoes.





A little more prop work is still left to be done, but hopefully I’ll have those done soon and I can get my next scene at least partially animated in time for my next post. See you all next month!


Posthaste Post-February Post

So obviously the weekly blog post thing just doesn’t work for me. Part of it is just feeling like I need to actually be working on the project rather that writing about it. The other part of it is just that I’ve always been bad about diaries/journals/blogs and just don’t make it a priority. So I’m going to try a monthly wrap up. After each month of work has finished I’ll write up a little post with a summary of where the project is at. Plus it seems like a much better time frame for a project that takes so much time to make progress on. The updates will actually feel more like progress than the weekly ones would.

So here’s where things were at by the end of February.

Since my last post I have actually moved twice which meant packing up the whole studio and setting it up again two times. The second was actually another move across the country so it took a solid month for my studio to actually catch up with me so I did a lot of 2D work at that time (that time being fall 2014). The moves have caused delays but hopefully I’m going to be staying put until the project is finished from now on.

I’ve gotten most of scene 2 completely shot and the shot 2-3 which is the first 2D sequence mostly done outside of any later compositing/texturing. I’ve done two of my green screen sequences and built the mail truck for the project complete with the ability rumble up and down when the truck is idling in a shot.

I’ve also found several more minions to help me along with the project. I now have a sound designer, a composer, a compositor, and my friend Jack is doing my opening and closing credits. Up next is finishing the last shots needed for scene 2 and then building the set for scene 1. Once each scene is animated to a point where I can lock the timings I’ll be sending them to my sound designer to get started on the foley. My goal is be finished in time to screen at the end of the fall 2015 semester and be able to graduate then.

Here is the updated work in progress for the end of February:

This is the current version of shot 2-3:

Here are some of the progression pics for the construction of the mail truck:

mail truck front backmail truck right sidemail truck colored20141113_192358667_iOS















And here is the rumble feature in action:


So that’s it for my February round up. Hopefully next month’s will have an extra shot or two and some lovely set fabrication for you all to look at. See you later!

More building designs!

You know what doesn’t make animating any easier? When you drop the toothpick you’re using to manipulate the character’s eyes and then promptly step on it in bare feet because your studio is ridiculously warm. Yeah. That’s not helpful. So while I’m taking a day or two to let my foot heal to the point where I’m not lurching around like a newborn deer, I thought I’d update the blog with info on much of the progress I’ve been making.

Since my last update I’ve finished the building designs, the 3D team has got them almost completely modeled and textured, I have a complete puppet with full wardrobe and 2 1/2 replacement faces ready to shoot my first few shots for which I’ve already got 2 seconds of animation done. That’s right I got 2 seconds done before impaling myself on Satan’s toothpick. Go me!

To keep these posts from getting overwhelming though I’m just going to show you the rest of the building designs and some of the model images my 3D team sent me. I’ll spread the rest of the updates out over the next few weeks. So onto building designs.

First here are some color schemes I came up with for the house designs I posted last time.

house 1 color sample 2 house 1 color sample 3House 1 additional color concepts

house 2 color scheme 1house 2 color scheme 2House 2 additional color conceptshouse 3 color sample 2 house 3 color sample 1House 3 additional color concepts house 4 color sample 1house 4 color sample 2House 4 additional color concepts

There were more color schemes I came up with, but I figured two of each house was enough to show here. I divided up the color schemes among the house designs but let the 3D team know that any of the color schemes could be applied to any of the houses to allow for more variety in the street set along with the smaller models like the cars and bushes and trees to make each lot look distinctive.

In addition to coloring the residential house designs I also came up with and colored the rest of the designs for the commercial block to go with the Mobius coffee house and the Ceruli Sports store.

luigis pizza luigis pizza colorLuigi’s Pizza. Named for my uncle’s excellent pizza place on Long Island (go check it out any New York city readers!) noahs toybox noahs toybox color

This is Noah’s Toybox, a toy store made to look like an awesome castle. This one is named for Noah, the oldest son of my fellow grad student Jeremy. Noah would sometime come visit us in the lab and he was always lots of fun. sleepy davessleepy daves colorNext up is Sleepy Dave’s Mattress Emporium. This is the largest building on the block and refers back to an earlier version of the project where my main character runs head first into a mattress being moved by two store employees. Since I cut that scene I decided to move the store to the other side of the street so it could still be in the film. This one is a shout out to my wonderful husband whom I tease a lot for being a very heavy sleeper. Hi Dave!

I also designed the many smaller peripheral elements to make the street look more realistic. Such as decorative potted plants.

decorative plant 2 pieces decorative plant 2 color sampledecorative plant 1 whole trunk decorative plant 1 whole decorative plant colorA jaunty lampost.lamp post colorA squat fire hydrant in an unusual shade of hydrant colorAnd of course the slanted traffic light which will slow down the mail truck and give our hero one last chance to beat it to the mail box!traffic light littraffic light back color

All of these were then given to my wonderful design team who turned them into awesome looking 3D models.

house1 house4 house3Early models of the house designs without final lighting or textures.

LightingTest.0001A version of Randy’s own house with some side lighting and a mailbox.

mailbox02Wire frame of the mail box and the SUV as a work in progress.

suvWIP06 NoahsToybox

Noah’s Toybox unshaded.mobiusLongSampleText02A wireframe of one of the Mobius coffee units with basic color shaders in place.


And here’s a shot of Luigi’s with various texturing options applied so I could determine which look I wanted for the final piece.

All in all the design work and modeling has gone very will this semester. I can’t wait to see what the blocks will look like once they’re fully textured, lit, and all the smaller elements are in place. I think it’s going to look really cool. I can only hope my physical sets with come out just as well. I’ll be sure to share the images with you once they’re done. Until then, I hope you like what the team and I have come up with so far. Thanks team Delta!


Building designs

Hey Everyone!

Give me just a second to clean up in here <blows an inch of dust off the blog>. Ahh much better.

So yes, it has been a long stretch since I updated, but not to fear, I did not fall off a cliff. I just got very absorbed in my work itself and kept putting my time into making stuff rather than blogging about it. So on the plus side I have tons of stuff to update about! On the downside – I have tons of stuff to update about!

Today I’m actually going to start with my more recent work, and then work backwards to fill in the gaps on the other things I’ve been working on such as puppet and set fabrication and lighting tests.

The past few weeks I’ve been focused on the designs for many of my sets. There is a wonderful group of 3D students at RIT (their group name is Team Delta) who agreed to help build computer models of some of my sets to make some of the trickier shots easier on me by allowing me to composite in the backgrounds and saving me lots of building time. These sets will mostly be used for shots where I have some drastic camera moves such as the fast zoom down a residential street in the second scene and a long shot where Randy zooms down a commercial block on a construction dolly. To do those shots with practical sets would require a studio space the size of a warehouse and a lot of time and materials to build so many buildings. With the help of my awesome 3D team, I can now shoot the puppet elements in front of a green screen, and the replace the green areas with the sets they have designed saving me time in both the fabrication and animation process. Go Team Delta!

So, in order to help them help me. I’ve spent the majority of my time this past week working on sketching concept art for the various buildings they will be modeling, and then cleaning those sketches digitally so I can have a more accurate blueprint for the team to work from. The assets they are building include 5 houses for the residential section, an entire block of commercial buildings for the dolly scene, 2 cars, and various smaller peripherals to fill out the environments and make them look like my sets. The big challenge for them will be when they go to texture the sets. This is the process where they add color and 2 dimensional texture files to the models to give them added realism. Because my sets are going to be covered with textured papers, the team will have to match their textures to the actual papers I am using. Hopefully they’ll have a good time working on it.

So here are some of the finished designs I’ve already sent to the group.

mobius block short base

Short block for connected commercial buildings.

mobius base002Long block for connected commercial buildings.

mobius base color sampleColor sample.

Ceruli sportsSports store.

Ceruli sports color sampleSports store with color sample.

house 1 detailedHouse 1 with texturing details.

house 1 color sample 1House 1 with color sample 1 without texture details.

house 2 WIPHouse 2 – work in progress. Still need to finish adding in the windows

house 3 WIPHouse 3  without texture details.

house 4 cleanedHouse 4 without texture details.

mailbox designMailbox design.

curb designSidewalk curb design.

2014-01-26 09.26.21

2014-01-26 09.34.54

Examples of practical curbs on set.

bush designsBush shapes. 2013-11-20 03.51.34


Example of practical bushes on set.

sedanSedan design.

SUVSUV design.

For some of the assets I have the concept work, but not cleaned versions yet. Here are some of those rough sketches.



Concept sketches for maple tree designs.



Leaf blocks for pine trees.

commercial building sketches

Building concepts for Sleepy Dave’s Mattress Emporium, Luigi’s Pizza, and Noah’s ToyBox.

Noahs toybox logo sketchLogo concept for Noah’s ToyBox

Vidhyas Videos sign sketchSign concept for Vidhya’s Videos.

More set designs, practical set images, and puppet fabrication posts to come!

See you all again soon!

It feels good to get stuff done

Hello again blog readers!

So I feel like I’ve managed to make some good progress over the last 2 1/2 weeks, even though I wish I had gotten more done by this point (isn’t that always the case though). Despite being a little behind where I’d like to be, I do feel like I’ve been good at putting in the hours and making progress with each work session. Last week was my first week on the schedule I came up with for the summer months. Getting the schedule itself done was actually the first thing on my to do list. I’ve planned out what I hope to accomplish up through the end of August, aiming to complete all the shots for each individual set in about a 4 week time period. Based on the number of sets I have, that should get the film completed in time for spring screenings and graduation.

My breakdown for June tasks is as follows:

6/1 – 6/7: come up with schedule, finish building and assembling the large stage section, finish one set of clothes for Randy, and design the blueprint for set #3

6/8 – 6/14: (start of 4 week time period) build set #3, finish one set of shoes for Randy, design and build the heads needed for all shots that take place on set #3 (shots 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-5, and 2-7)

6/15 -6/21: assemble finished puppet, shoot shot 2-1

6/22 – 6/28: shot shot 2-2, shoot shot 2-3

6/29 – 7/5: shot shot 2-5, shoot shot 2-7, design moving camera rig (end of 4 week period for set #3)

A side note to myself in this time period is that I also want to get the finalized version of my animatic finished. I put it aside for the moment so I could focus on the stage, set, and puppet building tasks I would need to make sure I could start shooting this month. I plan to keep working on it in between the other elements of my schedule so that I will have it available to more clearly plan the rest of my shots and the schedule.

So at the moment I’m in the middle of the second week on the schedule. Last week I got through almost all of the tasks I had set for myself. The schedule is done through August, as you can see from the June section above. I also managed to get the final holes drilled and the stage assembled on Monday of that first week and got that out of the way.

Photo Jun 04, 2 14 29 AM

Here’s the finished joint for the lower leg segments. I went out and got some L-brackets to give added support and to keep the legs from wiggling at the joints.

Photo Jun 04, 2 15 16 AM

This is the upper section of the lower leg piece, connected to one of the extension pieces with bolts and nuts. The lower legs alone give me a stage height of roughly 3 feet, and the extensions allow me to increase that height by another foot and a half (and the heights in between) if needed. For my first set of shots I only extended the height slightly so that the platform comes up to my mid-torso so I won’t have to bend over when I’m manipulating the puppets.

Photo Jun 04, 6 04 38 AM

This is a view from the underside of the stage so you can better see how the extension pieces and the top platform section are connected.

Photo Jun 04, 6 11 09 AM

And wah-lah! My stage is ready to go.

I spent most of the rest of the week (about 15 hours) working on the patterns for the final set of clothing for Randy, my main character. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to finish that portion of my work from last week – so I’ve been continuing on it this week, putting in an extra hour here or there once I’ve completed the set number of hours I’ve given myself for each day. I feel like I’m quite close to being ready to take the patterns and move on to working with the final fabrics that I bought for Randy. I just need to make a few small adjustments to various parts. Mostly tweaking the waistline of the jeans, and adjusting how the hood is attached and how it looks with the sweatshirt design.

Photo Jun 13, 11 55 23 AM

A set of pattern pieces from a recent clothing test.

Photo Jun 13, 11 56 37 AM

Photo Jun 13, 11 57 00 AM (HDR)

Photo Jun 13, 11 57 35 AM

A couple of views of the test clothing having been placed on the puppet to judge the fit.

So as you can see, the clothing is close to what I’m looking for, and I’m hoping to be able to catch up on that part of my work at the tail end of this week once I get my hours for the set building done.

Here are the sketch version and the finalized version of the set #3 blueprints (I use that term loosely) that I put together at the end of last week. Set #3 is part of the second scene where Randy has just dashed back outside his house and is figuring out how far away the nearest mailbox is and how close by the mail truck is as well. Randy and his parents live in a shared house where the other section is lived in by an elderly aunt of his father’s. (Yes, I have put way too much thought into all of this).

set 3 blueprint001

set 3 blueprint 2

So far, actual work on the construction has been a little slow. Some of the supplies I needed, I didn’t get until later than I thought I would. Some still haven’t shown up by mail and I likely won’t get until tomorrow – and that’s assuming they actually get delivered to my door, and not just dropped at the apartment office which often adds a day to the shipping time.

I got started on what I could. I measured and cut out the homesote base which includes the sidewalk and yard section of the set design as well as cutting the pieces I’d need for the risers on the front steps.

Photo Jun 11, 2 04 15 AM (HDR)

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 09 AM

A lot of my time recently has been spent cutting the wooden pieces to make the framework for the house and porch sections. This is a task that has made me greatly miss the well stocked prop shop back at RIT and all the lovely power tools, specifically the ones with ‘saw’ in their names. I have already spent a few hours on the cutting wood portion of building this set and know that I have at least several more, as I turn this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 26 AM

Into this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 06 44 AM

using only this:

Photo Jun 13, 11 07 15 AM

And, as much as I do love my awesome Japanese hand saw, it it not quick work to be done by hand. On the plus side, once I do get those pieces cut, not only should the rest of the set construction move along at a faster pace, but I will also be able to reuse and re-purpose those framework sections for other sets in the future – cutting down on those construction times. Yay for reusing materials!

So that’s mostly where I am right now. I still have most of my day’s work ahead of me so I’m going to leave off the blogging for the time being. I’ve also decided to shift the work on the puppet shoes and replacement head into next week of the schedule with the assembly part of the works, partially because of time constraints, but also because some of the supplies I need for those tasks are in the shipment I’m not expecting to get until tomorrow.  Wish me luck! Hopefully my next post will have some awesome set pictures in it. Til next time!

Spring Quarter complete, on to the summer work

Hey everyone,

So yeah, between the last minute rush that comes with week 10 of a 10 week quarter cycle and then the fun of finals week, I’ve left off the blogging for a bit. But I have returned!

Week 10 I spent most of my time working on making more progress on the final animatic for my project. I managed to get about a solid 2 minutes of work done, and still have about 30 seconds more to fill out before the first pass is completed. There are already some sections that I know need to be shortened or adjusted, so even once I get those 30 seconds done I’ll need to go back and adjust a few things. But I was still proud of the amount of work I was able to get through, and once I get it all ship shape and timed out with a scratch track, I’ll post the new animatic here to the blog. So I don’t have quite as much to show in this post in terms of pictures as I have in some of my past posts.

I did get some more work done on the stage sections though. I made another run to the hardware store and picked up some more screws, and then attached the plywood lids to all three platform sections that I have so far.

Photo May 09, 7 40 40 AM

I also spent most of this past weekend measuring and marking out where the holes will be drilled for the leg sections for all the platforms as well as picking up some of the cross-piece material for that I no longer had when I figured out that I had measured wrong before. So I now have all the materials I need, and am slowly making progress on drilling all those holes.

As you can kind of see when I took that picture of the finished stage platforms, my studio had devolved into a disaster over the course of the spring quarter. Once finals were over two week ago, I took a bit of a break from the actual pre-production work, and spent some time making some order out of the chaos. Not only did I take the time to generally straighten up and to vacuum out some of the sawdust of leftover foam pieces from the puppet building, but I also dragged an old TV stand I had in storage into the studio so I’d have a sturdy piece of furniture to keep Raul the drill press on. Most of the furniture in the studio is old Ikea desks that have been taken apart and moved to various apartments about 5 different times. That much moving wears on particle board furniture and I didn’t really trust the pieces I had to support the weight of the press without collapsing on me. So after a few days of work and a quick modification to the TV stand so the top no longer rotated, I had my nice clean new studio.

Photo May 21, 5 19 00 PM

Photo May 21, 5 19 06 PM

I’ve already covered a good section of the floor in more sawdust as I’ve been working on drilling the leg holes today, but hopefully I’ll be able to maintain it a little better now that it’s organized more efficiently.

This week I’m going to try and get myself prepped to start shooting soon. I want to get at least the larger stage section completed and assembled, and have at least one puppet body clothed and with attached hands and feet by the end of the week. Working off of my shot list, I’ve determined that I have roughly 15 different sets that need to be built for this project. My plan is to make a set blueprint with measurements and materials lists for my first set this Friday, purchase the materials over the weekend and spend next week on the construction. Once the set it built, I’ve given myself three weeks to shoot all the shots that take place on that set. If I take roughly four weeks to complete the work on each set, I’ll be finished in time to screen next spring and get my degree.

Some sets have fewer shots to them than others and some have a lot. The four weeks per set is mostly a rough guideline so I can keep general track of how I’m doing. Some sets are actually going to be done with motion graphics and the animated puppet will be composited in. This summer is going to be pretty busy for me outside of the thesis work with many of our friends planning on visiting, plus a wedding we’re going to be attending back east which we’re combining with a visit to see our families which will keep me out of the studio for a week. I’m hoping to work the schedule out so that I can just bring a laptop along and get some of the motion graphic sets and compositing elements completed during that trip. At the very least I can work until my battery dies on the flights back and forth to try and make up some time. It’ll be nice to be able to focus on my project without having a part-time job or another  class to divert my attention, but I can tell I’m still going to be very busy over the next several months. Still I’m feeling a lot better health-wise and my family has been hugely supportive so I’m feeling hopeful.

While my Monday-Friday workweek is mostly going to be focused on working on animating whatever shot is in the queue. I plan on spending at least one weekend day a week making further progress on other construction and production elements I’ll need for the project. One of the first items on my lists is to start working on building a moving camera rig for the longer shots that require the camera to pan. After that I plan to work on finishing up my secondary puppet characters, completed the design of their clothing and dressing them as well as carving their heads and facial expressions.

Well that’s about all the news for the time being. More updates to come in the future!