8/5/14

KREO Commercial! - Think Like A Kreon

Dear loyal followers,

I can only offer more apologies about the sparsity of my posts.  Life has been wonderfully active and exciting!  This is a commercial I designed and built for Kreo back in September of 2013, before the wonderful Tumble Leaf roller coaster began.  Technically it happened before Honda, but I couldn't post because it had not aired.

Without further disclaimer, Here is the Video!  (If you like it, keep watching and more Kreo stop motion videos will play!  I did not work on any of the other ones. )




What a fun project this was.  This project happened in the Bix Pix shop, along side Tumble Leaf.  I was given 10 buckets of Kreo bricks, and told to go to town.  As you can see, I used Kreo bricks for all the desks and chairs.  The floor was made from Home Depot lino tiles, and the walls were made from MDF boards, and kit kraft trim.


For the hallway, I built a few wild walls that could be repositioned for various shots.


Here is the exterior school facade.  By far, the thing that took the longest was hand painting the brick pattern on all the surfaces.  I believe the final effect was worth the effort.  :)


Here's a shot of the finished classroom.


Finally, here is the foam set I sculpted for Mars.  Definitely the fastest set of all of them to make.



Thanks for taking a look.  Be on the look out for some Tumble Leaf behind the scenes photos!  :)

5/23/14

TUMBLE LEAF LAUNCH!

Dear Readers,

I know I have not made a peep since Christmas, but truly incredible things have been a foot, and they all start (and end!) TODAY.  I have been blessedly employed (Full time) since November 1st at Bix Pix, and today is my last day.  It is also the launch of the best new children's show on TV!  Or Amazon Prime, anyway.  :)

The series I have been working on is called Tumble Leaf, and it features a curious fox named Fig who explores the magical world of Tumble Leaf with his friends.  It airs today on Amazon Prime, and if you don't have an account, you can still watch the first episode for free.

*** PLEASE WATCH THE WHOLE EPISODE, Amazon is paying attention, and if people watch, we may get a SEASON 2!!  If you like it, positive feedback would be so appreciated.  <3 

It is incredibly beautiful, if I do say so myself, and the animation is stunning.  It is done completely in stop motion, and everything you see on the screen was built by a team of talented artists.  I could go on, and will later, but for now, I am so so so happy to present....

TUMBLEAF - EPISODE ONE!!!!




12/8/13

XMAS HONDA COMMERCIALS 2013! Behind the Scenes

Hello!

We have been non stop this fall, sorry for the radio silence!  Work has kept me incredibly, wonderfully busy, and I wanted to share with you this project, before the holidays race by.  During October, I was over at Shadow Machine working on the new stop motion Honda commercials, and I'm so excited to share the final result!  I actually saw the commercials on the Big Screen as a movie preview, which blows my mind.  So, so cool.  

I was working with Jed Hathaway (Director), Victoria Howard (Head of Prod. / Producer), Adam Lawrence (Production Designer), Jon Uttenreither, Jed Voltz, Daniel Staig, Lindsey Sulski, Dante Tumminello (All fabulous fabricators), as well as many, many other friends in lots of other departments!

Without further ado, here are the commercials (borrowed from Jed's vimeo page):












Where to start.  Oh yes, with Trees.  I made around 40 felt trees for this job!  Dante was a tremendous help, adding snow to many of them.  Lindsey Sulski made many of the trees from last year's commercials.  Starting with her brilliant method, I tweaked it slightly to make each branch double side with felt, so that the branches could be turned upward and not show wire mesh.




























It was a lot of work, but it was so fun to see them in the commercials!  Especially that large one by Santa's workshop; that was around 20" tall.  The smallest ones were 6".  So cute!!  Basically, I made a bunch of lilly pad sandwiches, comprised of wire mesh glued between two layers of green felt.  Here they are in process.  It was a very organized system.  




Below, they are mostly completed!  Dante was still adding snow to a few stragglers.  So fun to see such a forest of them, though!  We had to have so many, because multiple sets were being shot all at once, so they couldn't really be reused.  Also, they were used for multiple perspectives, so we needed lots of different scales.




One of the things I'm most proud of on this job, is my cherry picker lift!  This involved many departments, as the Animation team (led by Webster Colcord) needed to rig it to move downward, and the Puppet team (led by Sarah Brown and Rob Ronning) needed to set puppets into it.  




This is basically made out of heat-bent styrene, with a steel plate as the base, and a steel arm which could be bolted into position.  It was a bit complex, but it all got worked out, and functioned beautifully!  Here it is on set:




I also got to make the rocks that were sitting near the Angel.  I carved them out of styrofoam and then painted them rock colors.  This was a very fast build, under an hour turn around.



Super fun addition though!




There were a few other tiny miniatures I made on this job, which I haven't seen in the commercials, but maybe they'll end up somewhere sometime.  If you see them, please let me know!  This is the tiniest Christmas tree, made for a tiny bell jar.  Those "ornaments" were smaller than sprinkles on a cupcake.  The glass jar was cut from a plastic test tube.  





Below is a tiny nutcracker I designed, and then built out of wooden beads.  His crown was made out of the top of a chess piece.  His face was very difficult to paint, haha.



























Finally, I made this little Poinsettia plant, because I remember my mom used to love to have them around during Christmas.  The red leaves were made out of xmas bow, and the green leaves were made out of the "grass" sheet that came with a miniature house kit.  The pot was an upside down miniature bell.

 


Here they all are together.  I was really happy with these little things, such joys to build, each of them.  




I also have to share this TINY christmas card that Lindsey Sulski made out of cut up paper.  It's probably smaller than a quarter.  She made two of them, but I apparently only have a picture of this one.  They were so lovely.



That about wraps up this commercial!  I felt so happy to get to work with people I really love, making tiny things out of other tiny things, for really funny, beautiful commercials.  This job was a total WIN.  Fight for the work you love.  I can't say this enough.  Fight long and hard, because it is so very, very worth the struggle when it works out.



Merry Christmas to all of you friends, family members and supporters: have faith, and pursue your passion.  There's a lot of love over here, and it's so great to share it with you.  I'll see you in 2014!

9/18/13

THE MILL AT CALDER'S END: A Model T!

Dear friends,

I recently had the great privilege of contributing a small set to a very beautiful project.  This will be a half scale puppet film, made with incredibly detailed and life like rod puppets.  Kevin McTurk is the creator of this film to be, and describes his experience and prep for the film HERE, on the Stan Winston School site!  Check it out for more info, and some really great photos.  Kevin is incredibly gifted, as well as being a very humble and considerate person to work with.

When I delivered the car, Kevin was holding a photo shoot, and so we immediately sat the hero puppet in the driver's seat, to check the scale.  He fit great!


I manipulated one of the photos, below, to add a little ambiance.  Arjen Tuiten sculpted the head for this puppet, and Kevin's team is responsible for his costume and highly sophisticated mechanisms.  "Rod Puppet" can't be the right term for something that is approaching a sort of practical animatronic.  Anyway, it's clearly very beautiful.



When Kevin asked me to build him a Model T interior, half scale, based on a miniature car that would also be used in a wide shot, I was thrilled and intrigued.  I did a lot of research on actual Model T's for detail, but had to rely on the rough vague form of the miniature (which was still a very good miniature, but you know, was small) for the general silhouette.  A really fun challenge!  With a very limited budget, I dove into the workshop to scrounge up some materials.

We knew that the seat would have to have a hole cut out, to make room for the rods and puppeteers.  So I started with the seat and partial wooden frame.  I met with Kevin for a "puppet fitting" and we realized we were going to see a lot more of the car than simply the window frame.


I went home and drew a sketch, as well as a TO DO List.  It was long, but the scene is just a punch in, so fast and efficient was the name of the game.  It had to look good in the shot, but didn't need to last forever.  This worked perfectly for my shop full of old materials.


I decided to start with the fun stuff.  Mainly, the old fashioned squeezy horn, the steering column and the hand brake.  Here's a real Model T picture that I was referencing.  Gosh, I love this picture.


To create the curvy metal bits, I found this old lamp shade from IKEA, and cut it into strips.  I may have also stolen the cap off of our white paint... it may have seran wrap and a rubber band on it now... For the Good of the Show!!



























I added some magic sculpt here and there to create a little thickness.




It was still, really really hot when I was building this.  So much so, that I took over the laundry room (Travis is such a good sport) and ran into the sweltering garage only when I needed to use a power tool.  Here is the foam core roof starting to come together!  
    


Soon, everything was put together, and was ready for paint!



























Then it was time to upholster the chair.  I only had one small swatch of real black leather, and it was picked when we thought the bench seat was smaller.  Somehow, it miraculously still fit the frame, but Just barely.  Here is the seat with foam before the leather, just scraps from the foam bin.


Here is the final car all assembled!  Really so much fun to figure out, I can not wait to see it on the big screen!


And of course, here's V2 for scale.  This is a big one for her!  I love it.  Somehow her tux makes a little more sense, driving around in a fancy Model T.



Thanks for checking in, there is more to come on the horizon!