Project 3: Narratives in Motion

In the project ‘Narratives in Motion’, I was required to create a 90-second moving image based on a selective text. I planned to write a story based on the text ‘The Giant Turnip’.

Idea Generation

  • 90 seconds stop motion
  • Sheep character: Created by clay
  • Story of growth and friendship
  • Background: Farm
  • adventure, happy ending
  • Sound effects: Baa
  • Relaxing Background Music

 

Storyboard

This was the note I wrote on the bus, and the story starts to take shape. As the background of the text is a farm or a countryside, I was thinking about using a farm animal as my main character.  Finally, I choose the sheep. Sheep are generally considered a spiritual animal, and it always means to belong to a group. I want to break this traditional idea, and the story of growth is created.

 

Research

I looked at some Disney characters to help understand the emotion and the movement of animal characters. I discovered that expressive characters usually show many body language and facial emotions. For example, I want to show the character gets an idea, I shouldn’t just put a light bulb. I also looked at ‘Shaun the Sheep’ for more inspiration. The characters are made in teddy fabric, and I am inspired by the textures, and expressions of the characters.

Disney Character design

info

Here are some crop images from ‘Shaun the Sheep’. I love the facial expressions and body language, and they have a huge influence on my character design.

 

Below are the reference images that I used for creating the sheep. I was inspired by the girl from ‘Coraline’ and the dog from ‘Shaun the Sheep’, so I decided to make a flexible body for my character. I love the simple colors of the sheep cookie, and I aimed to design the character simple and lovely.

reference image

reference image

reference image

Sheep cookie

Character & Storyboard

Soon I started to design the character. As the character should be movable and produced in 3D, I didn’t want it to look too complex and difficult to DIY.

Character design

I am not a good writer, instead of keeping writing the whole story, I changed to drawing a storyboard. Drawing the storyboard was a fun part for me. I enjoyed thinking about the scene design, the movement of the character, and the transition of each scene.  The photo of the storyboard is attached below.

storyboar

storyboard

storyboard

Making puppets

Following my original idea, I used air-dry clay to build my characters’ bodies and limbs.

Clayclay

After coloring the faces, I realized that the face is unchangeable, which means the character would not be able to show emotions. Also, the whole puppets are bulky and heavy. After considering that, I started gathering new material to make new puppets instead of finishing the clay puppets.

I aimed to make the puppets more flexible, so I started by making two small mock-up models, using only paper and string. The result reached my expectation, and it was far better than the clay one.

Samplr

I used craft papers to create 3 characters with many faces and bodies. The faces are connected by small magnets, so it is easy to replace. Limbs are made by straw cleaners, so they would be stable and easy to fold. Besides the front view, I also made left and right-side views.

Puppets making

Character

El, Oliwia, and I had done a short stop-motion film in the lesson. We’ve designed the background, characters, and came up with a little script. The video is talking about a crazy bear attacking friendly animals in the woods. I am pleased with the result. It was good to get familiar with the equipment before filming my own work.

Please click the link to the video > b95acb2b16924fbeb1da3d47a6fc57f5

 

Camera Setting

As my characters and backgrounds were flat, I had to set my phone in an overhead perspective. I couldn’t get a flexible tripod, so I let my tripod lay down on my desk and did the work.

set

Below are the photos I took, and I was not happy about them. In this scene, I wanted to show encouragement and warmth, so a backlight is used. This was a new technique for me, and it was hard to control the brightness of the character once the backlight is too strong.

backlight

backlight 2

 

Final cut – ‘The Friendsheep’

Below I’ve attached a youtube link. Every photo is taken by iPhone 12. Photos are uploaded into procreated then exported as a video, and edited by iMovie. Voicing by my friend Sandi, sound effects were gathered from the website Pixabay.

Reflection

This project is an important lesson, teaching me about photographing and handcrafting. It is a little bit harder than I thought, but I like learning something new. I enjoy drawing storyboards and making puppets. I faced some problems such as camera setting and editing, however, I tried my best to present everything in my original plan. If I have more time, I definitely want to look for good background music.

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