Monthly Archives: March 2008


I plan to fix my broken character this evening and, if need be, tomorrow.

I just wanted mention that I will be using GIMP instead of Photoshop in this project. It’s a bit of a risk, but I will give it a shot for making backgrounds. I always said that Photoshop would likely be the last thing that would be replaced in an open-source pipeline, but the newer releases of Gimp seem to have swayed my opinion a little bit.

I had been playing around with version 2.44, but had issues with a BUG that offset the cursor by a marginal distance. Installing the latest release 2.45 fixed the issue. They even made a  note in the release  notes. 

It’s not a very intuitive application, especially for painting, but it’s free and it has a large set of tools. The only problem I forsee is getting my files into and out of my compositing application with the layers intact. If push comes to shove, I may get Photoshop or try another application like Pixel which is not free, but really cheap and with more features (and a unified interface).


Stop Motion Pro

I must say that having used STOP MOTION PRO 5 on this production has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. It works seamlessly with my Canon EOS 30D camera.

I get to shoot directly from the camera, have the frames download instantly via USB and then hide and delete or hide frames as I choose. Then I can rearrange the shot frames any way I want. I can individually drag and drop frames anywhere in the sequence or I can even reverse all the frames I shot so they play backwards. This came in really handy for a shot I was doing in which one of the characters, Omulosi, was placing a drum on the ground. I had been having issues doing it straight ahead because the lest frames of the drum resting on the ground couldn’t match up so I was getting wierd shaky motion. When I shot it in reverse I was beginning from a point of rest so I was able to get smoother motion.


I haven’t had any major performance issues or bugs yet. Sometimes when working with audio I get a slight mismatch between audio and video, but this doesn’t happen when I export the movies.

The audio-syncing feature alone is worth in vesting in the software. I can shoot frames and then bring in audio and scrub along the time-line to choose where I want to start the audio.


Pricing aside I have no complaints. I couldn’t have done better at the time. If I had a Mac and was starting pre-production now, I would have seriously considered Dragon Stop Motion. It seems to have all the bell’s and whistles I love about stop motion pro at a cheaper price. Still, for the PC and using a DSLR, look no further than StopMotion Pro.

UPDATE [24/6/2008]

Techie note: I found out just last night that while shooting you really need to pay attention to the settings dial on the camera. In order to access the aperture and exposure settings. I made a mistake and set it to Automatic Depth of Field instead of manual and found myself wondering why I couldn’t  change the settings directly from the software. I even almost thought there was a problem with the camera or the software drivers for the camera.


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Scene 6 Update

I spent the week doing 3 shots from scene 6 (Omulosi drumming at the shrine) and they worked out really well! This despite several breakages in the armature as well as the puppet’s hands. I was in the middle of shot 63_1 in when his left arm broke off at the shoulder. I was miffed and disappointed. Then I removed the puppet from the shot, did a quick fix on the shoulder and replaced the puppet. By the grace of god and some skill I managed to match the position of the last frame that I had shot so I completed the shot with no other major issues.

Then the next night I had to deal with a similar thing in shot 63_2, this time with the hand snapping off right at the elbow. This was much harder to fix because the breakage happened at a point where there was very little wire to use to re-attach it. Still I managed to force a quick fix and finish the shot.

Now I have to perform major surgery on Omulosi before proceeding further. I also have to plan in advance, taking breakages into consideration and making multiple parts that I can replace quickly. I always felt that the drumming scenes would be hard on the puppet so I was sort of expecting it, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon after I started shooting.

Frankly I felt really discouraged last night after the hand broke off. It was fun animating the puppet before the breakage. After the fix I had to concentrate more on positioning the hand without having it fall off or slide off. All this made the whole animating process less fluid.

So, one puppet is up for radical hand and shoulder surgery this weekend.

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Posted by on March 14, 2008 in Principal Photography


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Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Months

  1. Peace and Stability are fragile things
  2. I do lousy voice overs (tried to VO Olokut’s character and fired myself)
  3. I am lousy at updating my blogs (thanks to terrible internet connection)
  4. Making an animated movie that is longer than a minute takes really hard work.

I am still at it though.