Thursday, 24 April 2014

Company research, Yamination Studios

Hello again!

As part of our business studies module we've been encouraged to research and write about animation companies you are inspired by, and maybe even someday be considered for work at. I wanted to start by looking at Yamination Studios. 

Run by multi award winning animator Drew Roper, Yamination studios are a stop motion animation company based in Birmingham. Being from the midlands myself, its great to see an animation company set up outside of London, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff. 

Their current project, 'At-Issue', a short film combining stop motion, 2D and CG animation through sneezing has been funded by the Sky Arts Ignition Series as well as an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. 

I absolutely love the style of this film, using an offbeat naturalism, largely associated with Laika feature films, utilising angles in straight lines and having a great hand built quality to it. 

Most recently, alongside Blink Ink in London (will be posting about them next) Yamination Studios had a helping hand in the recent 'Barry the Biscuit Boy' advert for Cravendale. 

Overall its great to see that you can do what Drew has done, set up your own company and be successful, receiving funding from multiple locations and gaining sponsorships from other companies. 

Thats all for now! I promise i'll post about my set building at some point, don't want to spam up too many blog posts though

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Finally, some actual animation.

I'll post again about building the interior set over the next week but for now heres a sneak peek at some of the animation!

I've gone home for easter for a few days and have put together what i've done so far and i've animated about a minute, with a little over 2 minutes left to film (as on track as i can be to finish by my deadline) 

The first shot is a block out initially followed by the actual animation and the one below is the first piece i shot.  

I've got a feeling i'll fall behind on blogging over the next month due to busyness BUT i'm still pretty active on my instagram account, so head on over there to see more frequent updates. 

back to it come wednesday, wish me luck!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Interior Set Built Part 1

i'll tackle this one in a couple of parts, first off the floor! My interior set has wooden floorboards, I decided to make them out of balsa wood as they are easily drillable for tie downs, and easy to cut up into smaller scale appropriate pieces. 

Before i bought the wood, i measured out the space i would need, and double checked by laying out the sheets to make sure that there was physically enough to cover the entire floor with a little extra on the edges. 

I then cut all of the pieces into equal parts, something like 150mm by 25mm (don't quote me on that) resulting in a stop motion timber yard. The only issue with this though is to get the randomly placed quality they were all too organised, I didn't want any two pieces of the same wood to be touching each other (within reason) 

So i had a little jumble! and all was well. 

I then painted the base of the floor with a darker brown to the wood, this way if there were any gaps in the floorboards, it would look darker underneath. 

Then it was just an incredibly long saturday spent gluing and placing each individual floorboard, trying to get them as straight as possible. I think i went through about 4 tubes of UHU (in a well ventilated area of course). 

I then placed my props on there to get an idea of the final layout of the set. All looks a bit clean but I'm happy with them for now. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

ultimate image & business card

as part of our business module we've had to put together a business card, CV, cover letter and ultimate image. 

It was cutting it close but i managed to finish my set (i'll post about that this week) just in time to take the ultimate image below, also the image on the back of my business card. 

Waiting to get feedback before i get them printed but fingers crossed it'll be something very similar. For some unknown reason the back of the business card is showing a lot lighter than the actual image, but this will be the same as below for the final. 

Monday, 24 March 2014


I got a little carried away when i was making props so the amount of progress photos is limited. 

I started by making the mannequins. I wanted to have a few dotted around the tailors cutters and due to the style of my film it didn't matter if they weren't exactly identical. Also in order to keep the hand built feel of everything, I decided to make as many of the props as physically possible out of wood, balsa or other. 

The fact that everything could look slightly different/off meant that i could churn out four mannequins incredibly quickly. 

On to the broom! Being the incredibly professional person i am when it comes to my blog, this is the only photo of the broom in production. That and the fact that I used super glue to attach real broom bristles meant that my hands were gluey, therefor i didn't want to use my phone. 

I also wanted to make tiny wooden sewing machines. again it wasn't important to keep items identical meaning i could make then quickly

After a little bit of sanding, a few more buttons and the bottom of a pin i had this! A quick paint job (which of course i didn't photograph until it was finished) I had a sewing machine! I then made three more. 

This is when things went a little hazy with photos. 


Then this happened, I made a LOT of stuff, pretty damn quickly. All very similar in technique, the two desks and cabinet were made out of a more solid wood than balsa so that it wouldn't snap when thin. 

You can just about see the mannequins and sewing machines fully painted. also on the far left there are rolled pieces of fabric, some wrapped around wooden dowel  

In order to paint the props I used very watered down acrylic paint as a base colour to get rid of the raw balsa wood. I then used a dry acrylic brush to age everything and generally rough it all up. 

I then regained photo taking consciousness and started making chairs. with the more solid wood to again be more stable. The four pieces of balsa wood are to stabilise the legs. 

LEGS! these were slightly stable but still not enough, 

I've added some extra supports across the middle to make the legs more sturdy. 

And the two backs! the gaps between each are big enough to fit a rig through to go into the back of Richard when he's sat down. 

I then made another as close to the same as possible but again it not being important if they are slightly off. Again, i used a watered down acrylic paint to colour the wood before 'scumming it up' again. 

Last but not least the clock!

I started by making the frame out of balsa wood and the back of it out of the thicker solid wood. 

I then took it into photoshop and erased the middle in order to design my own in roman numerals. 

Initially taking a photo from google so that i knew exactly where each number would be....

I took this image into Illustrator and used the path tool create my own at the exact size. This was then printed off, stuck to the solid wood and drilled through so that a nail could be used as the centre.  

The set'll be next at some point over the next week! Watch this space. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Roy Clothes

Richards clothes were made in the same way as Richards, pattern pieces were cut off of the puppet and hand sewn together

I then sewed this weird, suspicious shaped pattern on, hoping to represent a fly, but it didn't look right AT ALL so i took it straight back off by unpicking it.  

I then wrapped the upper body in cling film and masking tape, same as before, starting with a cross over on the shoulders. 

As Roy has a small, rounder shaped body, the pattern wouldn't lay flat when it was cut off for the back piece. In order to make it lay flat, I cut a line up through the middle as seen below, which would be cut out of the fabric and sewn together so that it would fit properly. 


Below is one of the sleeves, which, being the intelligent person I am I made about 5mm too short, but I can put a cuff on the end to extend it. 

It was then a long night of sewing to get the shirt to the same level of Richards. 

And Here he is! in some sort of, religious/American gangsta (same thing (disclaimer: they're not the same thing, it was a joke)) pose.

The waistcoat was made from the same pattern as the shirt, altering it slightly to allow for a lower V neck on it and allowing for the shirt underneath.

All clothing is held together with painted sewing pins so that it can be taken off whenever necessary to tighten joints. 

I also never posted about this! or did I ??

I wanted the noses to look separate from the faces and all hand-built-y, mainly done through the colour. 

thats it for now! will crack on with props next 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Richard's Clothes

Apologies for the long post. I get a bit caught up when making clothes so there aren't as many photos of the process as i'd want. 

I started by wrapping the padded armature in cling film, then the cling film in masking tape. Lines were then drawn on the tape to represent cut/seam lines. 

These pieces were then cut off of the character so that Richard's clothes fit as perfectly as they can. 
I then repeated the same process for the shirt. 

Once the pattern pieces were cut from navy blue fabric, they were sewn together, making sure to wait until all four pieces were sewn together by hand before the top was folded over itself and hemmed to make sure it was all at the same level. 

They were then flipped inside out and hey presto, traaaaaasers! 

In my design, i wanted a striped pattern for Richards shirt. As it was difficult to find a pattern small enough for stop motion, i decided to make my own! Keeping it really basic, a felt tip pen and a ruler! Accuracy was not my main focus as i like the hand built look of inaccuracy. 

The pattern pieces were then hemmed and sewn together before putting the sleeves in. 

Again the sleeves were hemmed first and then sewn into the shirt. (apologies for the photo quality)

Now onto the collar! On reflection, with the thickness of the fabric it would've been tidier to just do a simpler collar.  It was done by creating four separate pieces that were sewn together and turned inside out. 

It was then a complicated and fiddly process of turning the non pattern pieces in on themselves and sewing it all together simultaneously. 

Then on to the bow tie!, it was done in a similar way to everything else. Sewn around the entire edge then turned inside out through a cut down the middle of the back. 

Once inside out, I glued a small strip of fabric to remove the frayed edges and wrapped it around the hourglass shape of the bow tie. 

And here he is! I made some buttons out of small sewing pins painted pink to hold everything in place but still allow me to get into the joints. 

Thats all for now! Roy next.