Monday, May 26, 2008

2007 Academy Nominated shorts available on DVD (at last... Peter & the Wolf gets a US release!)

Just ran across this.... with no fanfare (that I ever noticed anyway) Magnolia Pictures has released a DVD containing ALL the nominated shorts from 2007 - that's both live action and animation. It includes (for us stopmo freaks) Madame Tutli-Putli, Peter and the Wolf, and Even Pigeons go to Heaven (Um..... I thought that one was CGI, but Kristin Thompson insists it's a puppetfilm). Also fantastic is Aleksandr Petrov's incredible oil-on-glass film My Love. It's at Amazon.

I ran across this treasure trove on David Bordwell's blog

Just so you know, all the animated shorts from this collection are also available as DVD quality downloads through the iTunes store.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eye Fi with my little eye

I've lamented before that the only real drawback of the Lumix camera is that it won't get full use out of Dragon because you can't upload the large images to the hard drive while also having the live feed attached. I think Mysterious Ron may have solved the problem. He emailed me tonight about this amazing new device called the Eye-Fi wireless SD card. You just stick it in the SD card slot and it automatically uploads your pictures to a folder on your hard drive ~ WIRELESSLY!!! How freakin' cool is THAT!!??!

Here's the website for the Actually they now have 3 different cards.... the original (now called the Eye-Fi Share) uploads to both your computer and to the internet for sharing images on sites like Flickr or Picasa. That one costs $99. The Eye-Fi Home (the one we want) only uploads to your computer, and costs $79. Then there's some complicated one called the Explore that does crazy stuff like make toast and eggs. We don't need to do any Exploring while we're immersed in our studios.

It took me a while to find a store that carries the brand new versions... everyplace seems to carry only the original card. But finally Google turned up this site: Eyefi Home card at and I couldn't resist the temptation. Soon I'll know... though of course I guess I need to buy Dragon first!!! Come to think of it, my 10 day trial version will expire before it comes in. Though maybe I can get another trial to test it out.

Anywho, just thought I'd share. This could be revolutionary folks!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An empty head and nickel plated nuts

Hey wot all....

About halfway through constructing a stand in puppet for a massive practice animation session. I'm afraid to use any of the Radkins for fear they'll break before their starring role even commences. So I'm just whipping one up in a jiffy here to work the rust off my technique before filming begins. Think I'll also download a trial of Dragon to test out at the same time. But meanwhile, two things to post about -

Here's my solution for making a hollow head, to reduce weight and save sculpting material. We've discussed it on the board, but had difficulty figuring out how to make it hollow or filled with a lightweight material and still not jiggle freely on the neck wires. I came up with this.... a spherical shell of wire stuffed with scrap plastic (could be anything.... styrofoam, foil, paper.... just make sure it won't react badly with your sculpting material... IE no styro or plastic for super sculpey cause it would melt in the oven etc). Then a thin shell of epoxy putty left rough to sculpt onto after it cures. Voila!

Also, here you see a pair of nuts. Thumb nuts to be exact, from They make fantastic tie-downs. But I noticed as I was working tonight that I couldn't wrap two strands of wire into the channel in the brass ones. Strange... I know it worked on the REAL puppets! They all had nickel-plated thumb nuts though. Now I'm using the cheaper brass ones. Turns out they're actually smaller! Fancy that! (yes, I seem to be turning british)

PhotobucketAs this pic shows, they're also quite a bit smaller in diameter. Something to keep in mind.... from here on out I'll get my nuts nickel-plated, thank you.


Added links for nickel-plated thumb screws and nuts at Smallparts to my ever-growing Resources section.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

First we must expose the brain

Hoppy is getting fitted for his cap. More pictures on Flickr.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Head surgery for Hoppy

I had to take the knife to Hoppy - I'm afraid his hair was too badly damaged to fix. I finally worked up the courage to grab a chisel and just go to town... hacking away layers of paper and epoxy putty. The plan is to bust out some epoxy putty of my own and sculpt him a baseball cap - appropriately backwards or sideways or somesuch.