Wednesday, February 4, 2009


This is one of the most complex commercials that we've done in stop motion due to the new materials that we worked with, the size of the sceneries and the camera movement, for which we designed a new manual system that allows movement frame by frame.

REFERENCES: Ideas usually come from references that in many cases clients and publicity agencies provide. The idea for the commercial came from the following Argentinean Commercial.

STORY BOARD: This was the first story elaborated by the agency to show the idea to the client and producers..

ANIMATIC : It's a sketch of the TV. commercial, including camera movement as planned, as well as the animation movement as close as possible to the final result. A first edition is made to calculate timing.

The Art director decides and proposes the style that is going to be applied. In this case the style was based on the Austrian Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, from whom we can appreciate "la colina", one of his creations. This architect based his work in the recovery of the natural space, so if a house took the space of a natural field, he would place that field on the roof of the house, with its respective bushes in case it had any. After choosing a certain style comes the material proposals and usually a model is built in scale proportion to have a general idea of what the scenery is going to look like.
CHARACTERS: The design of characters is based on the ones proposed in the story and afterwards made in clay, what lead to flat characters with articulated wire structures and brass covered with pieces of cloth.

Before making the commercial is necessary to test the type of movement that is going to be used, and the advantages and disadvantages of the structures, to avoid mistakes during the shooting. In this case the characters where very light and where inserted in icopor.

The scenary was based on the construction of a rotating table, with a thick layer of icopor on the top, to make the characters walking process possible (inserted on the icopor) and that was coated with different types of cloth that where later on painted with airbrush. The houses where made in a similar way as the base and the trees with thick cords of different colors. This process lasted one month.


There is an equipment known as the motion control that programs the computerized camera movements and its usually used in high budget productions. In our case this equipment was designed for the commercial in accordance to the designated budget, and it required frame by frame testing, based on the movement of the 3 axes, and to make this possible, we had people moving each axe. Here is the plane of the invented motion control built by Enrique Guzman.

The director of photography is in charge of illuminating all the scenery in accordance to the style that he chose; in this case it was a night atmosphere that had a lot of blue tones. Many different types of lights where engaged, somewhere built with small bulbs for the poles and others more powerful to create the atmosphere. We required 10 lights not counting the poles. Something that is very delicate when it comes to filming is when a light is damaged or when the level of light decreases during the shooting, that means that is necessary to repeat that shot again losing all the animation that has been done up to that point.

This animation was done in about two days. First, the camera was animated frame by frame and each one of the 10 characters. Each second requires 30 movements, so 300 movements are required to make 1 second of animation with ten different characters. The atmosphere of the studio is usually very hot due to the amount of lights, and you also need to move around the scenery many times. The most important thing to have in mind during the animation process is the concentration of the animator to be able to know and remember what each one of the characters is doing. There is always an assistant that carries a list of everything that the animator is doing to remind him in case he forgets anything. For this commercial we used one digital camera for capturing and after effects for editing and retouch.

The final Retouches are made and animated backgrounds are added and composed, usually the way to do this is by filming with a green or blue background called CROMA that afterwards is removed or replaced with other elements. The last thing is the set up of the sound and voiceover.
Animation: Edgar Alvarez
Art director and scenery: Sandra Paez
Director of Photography: Enrique Guzman
Art assistant: Esperanza Macias
Character: Leidy Villarraga
Digital composition and camera: Mario Forero
Camera and assistant: Camilo Mojica
Airbrush: Alberto Ballen
Carpentry: Ricardo Sepulveda

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Clay history

Clay was invented more than a hundred years ago by an English man named William Harbutt. He wished to find a material as soft and flexible as but that wouldn´t get hard and stiff. Finally, after many experiments he was able to create what he was looking for by mixing clay, pigments, wax and oil in exact proportions. The experiment was a total blast, especially after Harbutt published a book about a method to use clay for writing, drawing and clay modeling at school, this book revealed many innovating ways to use this new material. This book that contained step by step exercises became a requisite for all the schools in England, and afterwards in other parts of the world. This book thought how to use clay a s a writing method, the first step was to spread clay all over a wooden base and afterwards with a toothpick you could write the letters and then erase with your finger. This came out to be a money saver for writing sense you didn´t need any notebooks but it wasn´t a very practical method. He also taught how to make some simple figures like birds and cocodriles. The impact that this new material caused in the education system, esthetic and even film animation was such, that it has survived until our days and it remains with the same or even more strength than before.