I have always, always wanted to do stop-motion. I used to draw animated strips of people running, stickmen fighting and transforming into something else on the edges of textbooks.

Part of this desire to animate was satiated in 1999 to 2000, where I made quite a few Transformer plugin player models for Quake 2.

It wasn’t until I watched Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit that I dug out the old tripod Fazri donated to me, a flourescent table lamp, a poster, and a guitar to use as a hard surface.

Transformers Alternator Meister test animation

(requires Macromedia Flash plugin)

I set it to Manual exposure mode, 1/20 seconds, F3.5, auto focus, ISO 50, custom white balance set to the poster. When I zoomed in one step I compensated by slowing the shutter speed by 1/3 stops.

Pardon the camera shake; I put the tripod (which was broken and could only be extended once) on my bed. If I had a taller tripod I could place it on a stable floor and zoom in (thus cutting out the background as well!) Pardon the off-center part – when the first leg transforms, it is suspended in mid-air, with my finger holding it up (I had to Photoshop it out in one frame.) Pardon the bad angle, I should’ve used a storyboard. The storyboard would also help me plan the transformation properly. Also, trying to make him step backwards was a lot more challenging than I thought.

The gun also suddenly appears, out of my laziness and to retain the stop-motion ethic, which is to avoid Photoshop and computer graphics at all times. 😛

I took 45 minutes to shoot all the frames, which I figure was pretty fast. The hard part would be planning it; when I am free I will do a properly directed stop-motion transform, complete with angle changes to highlight different parts of the animation. I’d probably need to get a frosted glass panel and place another lamp underneath, so I get rid of the shadows and make it seem like he’s transforming in mid-air when he’s just lying on glass.

To convert all frames to Macromedia Flash format, I used Adobe ImageReady CS2. I don’t know if it’s just CS2 that makes editing anything very, very slow, e.g. crop and resize, that I didn’t bother with levels and other image enhancing.

Yeah yeah I am aware that this is quite badly done, but I’m doing it as a proof-of-concept and to perhaps inspire those of you with more time to do it.

12 thoughts on “Transformotion

  1. C.L. Post author

    Brilliant, marvellous effort … for this amateurish work, no I mean, your first try on stop-motion animation. :-$ Man, "the Simon" is creeping up to me, American Idol 5 starts this week.

    Anyway, didja hear a new live-action Transformers movie is now in pre-production stages and is slated to be in cinemas in 2007?

  2. Post author

    You don’t see much of this done locally, an original stop motion animation done on the fly as an experiment. Worth watching when you realise you know no one else that has done it before.

  3. Glaring Notebook Post author

    And now, for part two: I got myself some nice cardboard, and drew a rough sketch of the motion. However, I forgot to get a semi-transparent plastic sheet so I could make a shadowless ‘sky’ for the Transformer to rest on…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *