The final edition of Tempest

Overview

Role: Ocean Programmer

Tools Used:Dragonframe, Max 7

Collaborators: Andrew Edwards

Tempest is a stop motion animation produced as part of my Experimental Animation class.

Intent

The purpose of this project was to take advantage of the medium of stop motion to give life to objects that are not considered "alive." We also used the medium as a way to explore combining a two-dimensional character into a three-dimensional environment.

The narrative is a simple one, where a lone girl falls from the sky to calm the storming sea using mysterious abilities.

Process

The ocean was constructed using a flat piece of cardboard decorated first with a layer of tin foil, then a light-blue glimmery fabric to create a mystical, almost "glowing" aesthetic for the water. The ocean was attached with metal wire to three servos controlled by a Mini Maestro 12-channel servo controller to simulate wave motion, run through a Max7 patch saving keyframes for the rotation values of the servos (which we set to follow a sine-wave pattern much like actual ocean waves). We were able to set the ocean to specific frames, which we then recorded with Dragonframe, the stop animation software we used. Having dynamically programmed stop motion allowed us to have more flexibility with the type of ocean movement we wanted to achieve.

The character was created by cutting out the pieces of her body from cardstock, and sticking them together with putty to create a physical 2D rig. The character was also recorded using Dragonframe, with her sitting on a green screen and being composited in using chroma-keying and artificial lighting effects.

The making of video for Tempest.

Product

Tempest was formally presented within my Experimental Animation class, however it was also featured via a projector in the stairwell of the 3rd floor of Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts building. The final product is also hosted on Vimeo, in the embedded video at the top of the page.

Tempest featured in CMU's CFA building.