Let's start...

1 year 4 months ago #1212 by Klayma_N
Klayma_N created the topic: Let's start...
Hello everyone!

I wrote a very long introduction post about a week ago, but sadly my browser crashed, and it dissapeared :( I will keep it shorter this time.

In 2012 I did my fine art bachelor, and since than i fell in love with stop motion animation, despite i had never done any. I decided that i will do a computer game, which will be a side scroller. I wanted to learn all about the process of making stop animation - through making the puppets and sets, animating them, learning what i need from photography and so on. My main material is metal - this involves cutting, welding and sculpting it with a hammer, but i also include other things that I find visually attractive.

It took me a long time to get here, because learning how to animate human body without starting with the basics was very hard...and stupid. I spent days without being able to make my animations correct, but this never stopped me.
On the technology side, I already knew Photoshop, but started reading books about game, level and character design, storytelling, and also getting familiar with Game Maker, and afterwards - Unity, which are engines for making games. I know also a bit of programming, but nothing serious.

Now, a few words about the project. The game is called Mirabilia, and is situated on a distant planet, inhabited with humans, that don't remember their past, or where they come from. The main character called Eon, who in the past was a buddhist monk, wakes up from a cryogenic sleep in a society that lives in a somewhat steampunk setting.
Buut, ofcourse a disaster happens, and you have to save the world :D

This, is a very short version of the story, but its not why i am here, so - let's move on.

Making the puppet of the main character was a lot of fun for me, as it was my first time. Here are some pictures:

The armature is made from alluminium tubes stuffed with wood, in which the joints take place:

For the suit i used an old alluminium fruit bowl, a clock mechanism, and some other stuff that i don't recall anymore :D

The first weapon is a part of a water pistol, that I sprayed in silver:

The facial expressions: I sculpted a head from clay, than changed it for every expression, and made molds from PVC foam, covered with acryllic. The foam cannot take alot of detail, but its ok in this case, as the main character ingame is 175px high. The eyes i made from clay, painted white, with a glossy finish:

This was made at home, but later on i moved to a studio, because i needed more space for the garbage i am collecting, and also for the equipment and all this things. The studio is situated in a place where alot of artists gather, so i have found some guys to work with on the metal side. There I started making my first tryouts in animation, with a diy lightbox, and led panels, that also...you guessed. A friend helped me with the soldering, because it was a pain in the wrist.

Last winter there was a contest for a comix, made with clay. I thought this will be a good opportunity to make a tryout for my first set. The theme was very distant - "The magician and the tablet". Despite of that, I wanted to make a temple for my monk and somehow connect it with the story in the contest. The set was made from styrofoam, than molded into gypsum and covered with clay. The texture of the styrofoam, after blown with a hot air gun completely resembles stone. The windows are made from glass, covered with glasspaint. Some pictures from the process:

And this would be me:

And this is how we put it:

I wasn't able to shoot while covering with the clay, as everything was very messy, but basically i melt it in a tin can, and applied with a brush, that afterwards i couldn't clean. The other option is to do it with a hot air gun, and a compressor, but you have to be very careful with temperature there, otherwise the clay gets burnt. It was also not from the best ones, so it wasnt sticking that good. Anyways, the final result:

After i didn't won the competition, I shot the set and turned it into game sprites.
For every sprite you need a few pictures with different focus, otherwise the things get blurry. Afterwards you combine the focused areas in one image. Here is the already shot set in Photoshop:

This was just a tryout, but to be honest it worked out pretty nice ingame.

So, back on the game itself.
For now all the animation states of the main character are done. While animating, it must also be taken into consideration that every in-and-out frame has to fit with the entering and ending frames of the animations it is connected to. For example - there is a looping animation while the character is in midair, and there are two frames on the end of the sequence that are played once he touches the ground, and switches to running/standing/whatever other mode.


I also wanted to include some FX, but natural FX. So i shot them as well. The explosions are a deodorant burning, the steam is just steam, sparks and flames were shot on a bonfire once:

And afterwards - this is one of the dying states:

After finishing with the main character, there was the first mob, that we made:

Falling from the ceiling:

Due to the fact, that the spider jumps on the player to kill him, i had to make animations for all the states the character can be in, while grabbed by the spider. Also, they had to be made for the character facing left and right, as he is not symmetrical, and also add the flames, steam and sparks afterwards. This was a very, very long process. I'm glad it's over. The animations still need some color correction, but i will do it once we're done with shooting and implementing the sets in the project, because i am not sure how things will look like in Unity:

Now i see that the steam on the back must be fixed, but whatever :D

In the level there are some parts that need animation as well, like levers, workbenches, and other stuff. The ones that are usable by the player have to be shot seperately for gameplay purposes:

Levers and platforms:

That's going to be a broken part of the scenery, but its activated with a button, so it had to be done seperately as well. It's much bigger than ingame:

Device that reverses gravity:

And this is a workbench for upgrading the suit:

And last, but not least - this is the mob i will animate next:

2016 was a harsh one for me, and things were put on a stop, but i've found a programmer, and from the beginning of 2017 we will start working on. I quit my job, and am just going to finish this damn thing. :)
You can like the page in facebook here .


End of introduction.

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1 year 4 months ago - 1 year 4 months ago #1213 by animateclay
animateclay replied the topic: Let's start...
Hey Klayma_n, wow this is the longest introduction I've seen so far. Your project looks to be really ambitious and reminds me a bit of the old Fred Stuhr Tool music videos. There's a similar rawness to your work, nice job! I'll make a post about your project on our Facebook page, I think people would like to see your work.
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by animateclay.

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1 year 4 months ago #1217 by Klayma_N
Klayma_N replied the topic: Let's start...
Thank you for your interest! :)

I really like things to look more raw, considering that CG can resemble a very well-done puppet (smooth clay and smooth movements, etc.) or a set. In my work i like to see the little imperfections that real objects have - it makes them more alive.

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