Since the development of film, special effects or trick photography has been utilized. As the art of the digital world has developed, special effects have become increasingly more complex and more broadly used. These effects are used in place of the actual action. Filmography has branched into many different forms, including stop motion animation. Stop motion animation special effects has its own unique implementation and has developed over time as is demonstrated by the effects water in Mad Monster Party and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Stop Motion Animation—
Stop motion has changed greatly since the early days of using very simple and rudimentary techniques to achieve special effects. In more recent times, stop motion has included computer generated effects and other more sophisticated techniques to develop more realistic special effects. This has created a more stylized looked, but is still using basic household equipment.
Mad Monster Party (1967)—
Mad Monster Party is a stop motion created during the same time period as the children’s classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. In one scene in particular, the Creature from the Black Lagoon spits water into the Invisible Man’s face. This special effect is created by using cellophane to simulate the water spraying through the air and splattering across the Invisible Man’s face. While the animation is played at full speed, the water appears clear and chunky. It is obvious it is water, displays well, and matches the style of the film.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)—
Nearly thirty years after the debut of Mad Monster Party, The Nightmare Before Christmas enters the theaters. At the beginning of the film, Jack Skelington enters the scene, and sets himself on fire. In order to douse the flames, he jumps into a fountain in the middle of town. Upon rising out of the fountain, beads of water are seen cascading down his body. The cellophane once used is now substituted for hardened clear resin. The resin is molded into droplets and placed on the face and body. As the scene is played at full speed, they appear to be normal droplets of water, though a little too perfect in shape and size.
Both of these films are stop motion animations that utilize many of the same styles and effects. Over time, however, it is obvious that the special effects in The Nightmare Before Christmas have become more refined and are much more highly developed. As stop motion animations continue to be made, and more refinement is being seen, these stop motions are looking more clear and realistic. Computer generated effects play a key role in this.
For my character animation I wanted to try something that I have been working on within 2D animation. I wanted to see if I could transfer my knowledge of working in 2D to working with a three-dimensional object. I used a drawing mannequin to use as my character. Having a metal pole supporting him in the air was optimal for doing a walk cycle. I went through my drawings for a mechanical walk and then began exploring and figuring out how to do that kind of a walk with my character. After some trail and error I figured out how to execute my plan and began to work. I used a digital camera to capture my images and then imported them into FlipBook to animate them.