Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 2: Q & A with Stop Motion Animator Phil Dale

Second part of my Interview with animator Phil Dale, considered one of the leading stop motion animators of his generation. As a member of the Liaka Animation Studio, Phil specializes in stop motion animation, with his most notable work seen in some of our most favorite animated features such as Corpse Bride, CORALINE, The Boxtrolls, and The Tale of Despereaux.  Since Phil has made some progress on the Blythe Animation Project I wanted to talk with him regarding the next steps in the creative process on his collaboration with Maribel aka Voodoolady who has brought Cobain Blythe to life via her photographs.

Phil working on the Blythe Animation Project in his home studio.

1. What has been the most challenging part of this project?
I’m an Animator first. That’s my area of expertise and professionally I haven’t had to build and rig my own puppet for a very long time. One challenge has been trying to figure out how to do those things again. The other challenge, if it can be termed that, is that I only have short amounts of time to dedicate to the project……15 minutes here, a half hour there. I have a full-time job and a young family that need my full focus, so it just means that what is already a slow process, creeps forward even slower. But, even small steps move you forward over time. 
Been working on some custom eyes for the Cobain Blythe collaboration today.
Still working on the paint job. Next I’ll need to rig the eyes for animation.

Mold making. Trying a different tact with the Blythe eyes. Wasn’t completely happy 
with what I had. Going to try casting some resin eyes!

 Mold making pt2. Negative space. Silicone mold for Blythe eyes.

2. When bringing characters to life, do you have a set personality envisioned?
Well on this Blythe project I asked Maribel (@Voodoolady) for cues as to the personality of Cobain, It is her doll after all and it’s important to me as it’s a collaboration to bring the character to life in the way Maribel has imagined her.  Also, there are obviously the dolls look and styling that also hint at her character, but what I’ll be able to add is personality as conveyed through movement.  I think the wide eyed look of Blythe dolls in general gives them a feeling of the young innocence of wonder at the world that is appealing, coupled with a sense of cheeky mischievous fun.  So that is the sort of thinking and approach I will bring to the personality.                                            

New Blythe eyes! Let’s see if the mechanism of this new approach will be more fruitful. Hopefully a little animation test in the next week or so.                                             
I seem to have wandered down a side alley with this Blythe Animation Project 
and have become fixated with painting eye chips! These are some I did last night.

3. Do you have a storyline in place for Cobain?
Well I had an idea for a little story, but I wanted to hear if Maribel had any ideas first. To my surprise our ideas were almost identical. It’s not anything ground breaking, but you will have to wait and see what the story is.                     

Eye Rig v2. It’s not pretty but its working better than my first attempt!

4. Will this project be a short story or a commercial length production?
As I mentioned it’s all about bandwidths, so I only envisioned it being a micro short film. Even a short film is a lot of work. Maybe producing it in installments that can play on Instagram. I like the idea of trying to use new media platforms to tell stories.  Let’s see how this goes, if there is enough interest from the community maybe it would be possible to do a Kick Start to fund a larger project.  

Was going to try and do a little animation test this evening... but the power supply for my camera isn't working! Let’s see how long the battery takes to charge.

Okay it’s a bit rough and ready but here is the first little Blythe Animation test. 
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

Regarding his posted Blythe Animation rough test……..

Phil: I’m please, but also a bit embarrassed by the reception the test has got. I shot it very quickly, for an hour or so after the kids went to bed. 

MDB: Why would you be embarrassed by the reception the test clip got?

Phil: I guess professionally I didn’t feel the quality of the animation warranted that response, but don’t get me wrong, it was great to get! 

“I think the Blythe Community is a perfect fit with animation.”                                                                                             Phil Dale ~ Stop Motion Animator

Please keep updated on the Blythe Animation Project and Phil’s other upcoming projects by following him on Instagram @HandMation and also his Handmation Facebook Page. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming Q & A with Phil’s collaboration partner on the Blythe Animation Project, Maribel aka Voodoolady.  You can visit her Instagram @VOO_DOOLADY and also her Flickr.

All photos and videos courtesy Phil Dale/2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gnowee's Information Booklet

Gnowee is now at the Auguste Clown Gallery Fairies and Folklore Exhibition. She comes with a booklet detailing her story and all work done to create her. Here is a look at her booklet.

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