Sunday, June 10, 2012

Making of Sheep Days

I finally moved into a year long commitment with Burbank this summer. Four years at CalArts have move by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday when I was a nervous second time college freshman.

I wanted to share some pictures during the making of Sheep Days. The idea of a sewn film actually came from this animation of a running dog by Aubrey Longley-Cook, and my recent obsession over tambour beading. I did an initial test in Eric Dyer's Alternative animation class. It was a jumping sheep sewn on pillowcases. You can see some of the tests at the end of my stop-motion reel.

I mainly thought of only doing sewn animation as a test and not for my final film. My sheep test was such a big hit with faculty and peers that I was persuaded to give it a shot.
I originally planned a different story that was more epic and involved a wolf. Later, it was paired down to what you see now, the troubles of being a sewn sheep.

Each frame in my film was hand-sewn. I animated on paper first, then traced each frame on green fabric. The green fabric acted like a green screen for composting later.

Here is my desk during crunch time. It was not a pretty sight.

I used embroidery hoops to help keep the thread taut.

Before shooting, I ironed out the fabric to flatten the thread and reduce wrinkles that would mess up the green screen.

Sheep are getting run over everywhere!

I shot digital stills using the Oxberry and Dragon, which was a long life dream of mine. 
Then I composited the images in After Effects, which was actually the most stressful part for me.
I really enjoyed hand-sewn animation. It took me about an hour for each frame. My friend later told me that all of the textures in my film really took advantage of HD. I'm extremely glad that my film had a different texture. I have been striving for such a feeling for a long time. I also want to thank again my lovely hand model in the film Sara Quach and Amanda Candler for helping me out with sewing some scenes.

I hope you enjoy my film. It was a lot of fun to make!