Once again, I had the pleasure of working with the talented puppet maker Richard Whillock. This time he helped me create a stop-motion puppet as well as an identical rod-puppet so I can film in real time with the actress during some important shots. Check out the puppet photos below.
Here are some behind the scenes photos from yesterday's animation of my movie The Spaceman. I have about 7 more shots to animate in order to finish my movie. In this shot I needed to show the alien monster puppet clinging to a tree and then jumping down. It took me a few attempts to get exactly what I wanted but I'm very satisfied.
To hold him up, I used an old adjustable projector rig that a friend gave me. If you are an animator, look around thrift stores and garage sales for things that are already tailor-made for your projects. You'll be surprised what you can find. It's a lot cheaper, can save you time, and give you better results.
I attached wire through the projector rig to securely hold him in place. This rig has worked out well for jumping shots but is too bulky for some sets. When using rigs it is important to take a photo of the background without your puppet and rig in it so you can later delete the structures holding your puppet up.
My stop-motion software of choice is Dragonframe. It's very affordable and gives you many options for excellent animations.
CHICO, CALIF. December 5th, 2014
Josh Funk, an independent film director, today announced the release of the trailer for his latest short film, The Spaceman, a Kickstarter funded, black & white, stop-motion & live-action sci-fi adventure. The Spaceman is about a man who creates a cardboard spaceship and ventures to an alien planet to dispose of a mysterious object. This new trailer showcases Funk’s unique ability to combine practical effects such as stop-motion, miniatures, and animatronics with both darkness and reverence to childlike imagination.
This is a departure from Funk’s previous short animated film Wormholes that was created entirely through stop-motion animation. “The Spaceman is a film dedicated to traditional effects and a return to my days as a kid when my friends and I could build anything with just cardboard and our imaginations,” said Funk.
The Spaceman was successfully funded through Kickstarter in May of 2014 after having already completed the first half of the film. The 10-minute short used giant cardboard sets, a miniature forest made from PVC pipes, a miniature spaceship, and stop-motion puppets funded by Kickstarter backers. Northern California locations included Chico, Forest Ranch, and Fern Canyon. The Spaceman will have its online release in February of 2015.
The trailer for The Spaceman can be viewed at:
To see Funk’s previous film Wormholes, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQR7Iady5xQ
About Josh Funk
Josh Funk is a multi-talented, self-taught, and independent director and artist hailing from the city of Chico in the depths of Northern California. Funk’s credits include the stop-motion animated short- Wormholes (2013) and the Instructional Graphic Novel Sinful: A Graphic Novel (2009). For more information on Josh Funk, please visit: www.joshfunk.com.
I spent a couple of hours today testing out the new puppet made by Richard Whillock and I came up with a couple successful quick shots to splice in-between the action we recently filmed in Forest Ranch, CA. This new puppet has more options for angry expressive attack motions and he is fitting in quite nicely with the rest of the movie. I'm looking forward to seeing what else he can do.
The Spaceman finally has a beginning, middle, and end filmed but there is still a lot of animation to go.
On October 4th we filmed the last shots of Jordan in Forest Ranch, CA including some truly awesome looking shots with a cardboard bazooka. I’m excited to say that he only has one-day left of filming and it’s with green screen and animatronic tentacles. Jordan will finally be able to shave that beard that’s been itchy… It’ll be my Christmas present to him.
I commissioned puppet maker Richard Whillock to create a second, angrier version of the alien monster for the second half of the fight scene and he did not disappoint. I am blown away by his ability to take my ideas and elevate them.
MINIATURE LAUNCH BAY
I built and filmed a miniature launch bay out of some unusually cool pieces of cardboard I found. It’s a quick shot, but an important one.
SOUND DESIGN & MUSIC
I created sound design for the beginning of the movie and started toying with ideas on the piano for the score.
I put together some shots of the spaceship landing and Jordan walking out of the ship. I feel like this added a TON to the story and made everything much more believable… as far as cardboard spaceship movies go.
The best part about being a big brother is torturing your younger brother. I made Jordan pose for some stop-motion animation shots. He says this was worse than having to fall on pinecones in Forest Ranch. You’re welcome Jordan… you’re welcome.
Coming up Next:
- Filming the Animatronic Tentacle
- Animating with the puppets in the miniature forest set
- Green Screen jumping and punching in slow motion
- Animating Cardboard Suit
- Filming backgrounds in Forest Ranch for composites
Today I had the honor of talking to kids at the Boys & Girls Club in Chico about stop-motion animation. We watched Wormholes and discussed how it, and other stop-motion films were made. I even had the chance to look at their claymation projects and help out a bit.
Something that was truly amazing for me was seeing how every one of these kids were so creative and full of amazing suggestions. Their imaginations were going a million miles a minute and they even helped me finally name the character from wormholes - "Eyeless Adam". Unfortunately as kids get older they start to worry about what other's think and tend to shy away from this outward display of creativity. Everyone at The Boys & Girls Club are doing a great job of nurturing creativity and expression. I can't wait to see what these kids do next.
This has been a really productive week filming "The Spaceman". I spent a lot of my time putting the finishing touches on the spaceship miniature using cardboard, model car pieces, cut up photographs of cardboard, and 3D printed pieces as well. I then animated the spaceship with lights flickering and movement against a green screen using Dragonframe stop motion software and a drum cymbal stand as a rig (these really come in handy).
Using a GoPro camera and a handmade vortex tunnel out of foam core, black sheets, and fishing wire, I created the effect of flying through a space vortex. This was then composited with my stop-motion spaceship footage. I manipulated additional movement of the ship in After Effects in order to make it even more convincing.
I also began animating the monster puppet that will fight with Jordan Funk later in the film. It took some practice before I got an idea for the character but I finally found a feel and rhythm to his personality. Animating his eyeballs is my favorite part so far.
It has been a busy couple of days. I fine tuned a couple of storyboards for a scene we are filming on the 30th, created some concept illustration for a miniature set we are building, and received an updated photo of the monster being created for the final sequence.
Here is a colored pencil illustration I am working on. Once I complete it on paper I will scan it and enhance the highlights and shadows in Photoshop.
I get a lot of questions about my process for illustration. I prefer to draw everything out on paper first in either colored pencil, graphite, or ballpoint pen. I then scan it into my computer and enhance shadows, colors, and highlights. Here is an example of an illustration I just finished:
I just received the first look at the alien monster puppet being built for "The Spaceman" by the amazing artist Richard Whillock based on my concept illustration as seen below. I've also included two stills from the second day of production. More details are coming soon. Enjoy!