Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So here is whats up.

When I returned from my most recent work trip I picked up work on my short.  I got SUPER excited and was so super motivated from the energy I had felt working on Robot Chicken.  I decided to do a walk test with my ball and socket armature.  I set it all up and had him take a step.  I felt totally alive and thrilled as I finally animated my little man.


The thread lock came loose.  For like the THOUSANDTH time.  I had 9 joints in the neck alone and the thought of one or all of them going while I was in the middle of animating gave me a headache.  Have you heard that saying "to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is insanity"?  Well I realized, I could re-clean  the joints, reapply thread lock AGAIN and maybe this time it would stick.  But louder than that voice came another one that had been stirring ever since I worked on the Moral Orel special.  I really loved those armatures.  They were wire armatures but the way they were made was amazing.  I could animate it as hard as I wanted and they never broke.  When I returned to Burbank later in the year to work on RC they used the same armatures.  And again....  I loved them.  Before I made a decision I asked myself a question:
- if the puppet broke while I was animating it would I have fun in stopping to take the time to fix it?  Or would I be annoyed and impatient and want to get back to animating?
Answer: I would be seriously annoyed and impatient.
So I've made a decision.  I'm going to remake the armature out of wire.  I don't want it to break while I'm animating.  I care more about animating than I do building.  There is just more joy for me there.
When I came to this realization I felt both relief and panic.  I had spent MONTHS of time working on the ball and socket armature.  Had I really wasted all of that time?


When I look back on the time I spent in my cold studio with my fingers freezing trying to piece together the steel armature what I recall the strongest was how happy I was.  I love building things.  I always have.  I love using my hands.  This is really why I love stop motion so much.  I had fun building that armature.  I can't think of a better way of spending my time than by doing something I truly enjoy.  The sum of that time is not a useful tangible object but rather bits and pieces of knowledge that I gained while sorting through the many small obstacles I encountered.  To me this is priceless.  What else is priceless is knowing that I worked on the things I thought I wanted most - a ball and socket armature.  And to be shown that when I thought I had to choose between A or B there was actually a C I didn't even know existed.  I love being surprised, especially when it changes my mind about something I was so sure of.

So I happily pulled out my original sculpt.  I measured it and made a scale drawing, shrank it in photoshop and am now using it as my template for my new armature.  Using wire will enable me to get back to the proportions I had first envisioned.  Smaller joints, thinner limbs.  I'm excited.

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