Night Creepers

Animation

Night Creepers

Every now and then I get the urge to animate things. This urge increased tenfold after rediscovering a storyboard in my design sketchbook. Unfortunately, animating the storyboard was going to be too complicated for my present stop motion knowhow. Therefore, I decided to do a few warm up animations to get used to the stop motion process. Night Creepers is the first of these animations.Check out the finished video here!



Design and Filming

16 December 2019

I wasn't sure what I wanted to animate at first. It was only when I started doodling that the little monster idea came to me. I then started to translate these ideas into small paper assets, simplifying the design to be easily replicable and match my animation skills. I created the animatable monster heads first. I experimented with different modes of pupil movement (googly eyes, movable dots on paper, etc.) and created faces with different mouth expressions (sad, happy and neutral). I attached small pieces of velcro to each of the body parts, which meant that I could easily alternate the character's facial expressions.

I experimented with different backgrounds for the backdrop, did a few test animations using Stop Motion Studio app that I bought for a fiver earlier that day, and then I was ready to film. I made up the narrative on the fly, since the focus of the exercise was to get to grips with the practical animation process rather than narrative construction. By the end of the day I had finished filming and separated a small part of the house into my own animation corner. Check out the different parts of my animation set up in numbered diagram below.

  1. Lamp - this gave me complete control over my lighting. I used it to give the moon a glow that shone across the rest of the backdrop.
  2. Phone Holder - I attached this to a shelf to provide a bird's eye view of the set.
  3. Sketchbook - this is my website design sketch book. for the purposes of my animation, it was used to obscure the bookshelf next to the backdrop.
  4. Magazines - I went through National Geographic magazines and a lot of mum's gardening magazines before I eventually settled on using a page of black card for my set background.
  5. Stocking - I discovered this by accident in my bedroom and decided that it would make the perfect grass texture substitute.
  6. Craft Equipment - I had scissors, card, drawing pins, velcro, pencils, tape, tracing paper, pens and highlighters in my arsenal.
  7. Assets Envelope - this is where I kept spare character parts (e.g: extra heads, bodies, etc.)

Post-production: Editing and Soundtrack

17 December 2019

I began by adding atmospheric titles to my original rough animation in the Stop Motion Studio app. Then I added finer details, such as eyelids, motion lines and extra text. I exported the result into iMovie and then turned my attention to the soundtrack.

I picked the opening credits music from a collection of my original half-finished jingle ideas, and scored the latter half of the music by eye with my MIDI keyboard and Logic software instruments. I wanted to create a dark alien sound for the opening, which would immediately contrast with the chirpy, comical piano music of a the silent film.

I created a trebly piano theme for the child monster, and added a lower melody variation to represent the adult monster. The melody played in the octave between these two registers aims to musically combine the characters by the end of the film. I used arpeggiated pizzicato strings to represent the flowers and adjusted the stereo panning of the sound so the audio would partly follow the flowers across the screen.


The Result

17 December 2019

Check out my original animated short below!


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