Friday, August 31, 2012

Animating With CLAY!

Clay as in "the material"... not as in "a guy named Clay".

Many people are introduced to animation (and stop motion in particular) through clay, or plasticine, or even Play-Doh.  The material is readily available, and is easy to work with.

There's some real advantages to working strictly with clay. First of all you don't need an armature! The clay itself is all you need. The trick is that the clay can't stand up on its own (if you try to make too tall of a character), but if you can work within those constraints, you're in for a good time.

Another advantage is how incredibly animate-able it is. If you are up for it, you can sink whole days and weeks in carefully sculpting and re-sculpting every tiny piece of material. The results can be astounding. Growing out of this is another fun thing- if you love to sculpt and craft, it's a chance to do just that,  a LOT.

Another good thing- the material (as mentioned earlier) is cheap, and easy to find.

We like it so much at Mad Lab, we just had to create a little something out of clay!

Go ahead- let 'er rip!

Just click HERE.

Friday, August 24, 2012

EXCLUSIVE Frankenweenie Promo Pics

Lots of pictures at the bottom of this posting!

Mad Lab was strolling the aisles of Fan Expo yesterday, and one of the classiest and neatest things we found was a promo display for Tim Burton's upcoming stop motion feature, Frankenweenie.

There was around 4 sets on display, encased in glass, and on those sets were a variety of posed puppets. The displays allowed interaction. For example, in the lab set, you could turn switches to activate elements within the set.

Now having seen more of the character designs in person, and more of the set pieces and art direction, there's a true warmth and humour to the project that might see the film really succeed. It shares a visual style with The Corpse Bride, to be sure, but with a readily accessible sense of humour. The project feels FUN, and truly charming, as opposed to ultra slick, and cold. I think the pic of the
"Sea Monkeys science project" (very bottom) says a lot. That visual gag is funny, evocative, and intensely charming.

And the homage to Vincent Price in the teacher (?) puppet is wonderful.

This display was a real hit- tonnes of crowds, all peering in, taking snapshots. Very classy, with helpful Frankenweenie reps on hand to answer questions and to keep things fun. Very impressive. Surprisingly WARM and full of heart, for something that a first glance seems cold. Sort of like a resurrected family pet?!

Will Frankenweenie win hearts more effectively than Paranorman, the other "creepy but fun stop motion feature" of Summer 2012? Guess we'll see!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fan Expo Canada Is Coming!

It's that time of year again! Fan Expo Canada is coming, next week, August 23-26. We aren't even going to bother embedding the link to Fan Expo here because, well- you'll find it.

If you are a fan of "Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, and Gaming" (the categories their site pushes), you'll get your fix at this event. Are you going?

Mad Lab Productions will be there, on the Thursday.

We don't have a table- we're going as FANS. But look for Chris, wearing his custom-made Mad Lab Productions t-shirt. He'll be the nerdy white guy with glasses. That narrows it down, doesn't it?

Hope to see you there!

Oh, and- watch out for real monsters. We understand they sometimes attend this kind of event, so they can move undetected through the human crowds. Perhaps it gives them some twisted monster rush?

If you are not sure if someone is a monster or just a human in monster costume, we recommend trying to pull the monster's face off.

This will clear things up for you, quickly.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How To Make A Miniature Severed Arm

1. Find a very tiny person. Rip his or her arm off. VOILA! Or- get some armature wire from an art supply store. Craft a simple arm with fingers. This will be like the skeleton for the arm, on to which you will add "flesh" and "skin". And since the wire is soft but strong, it will allow you to pose the arm when you are done.

2. Glue foam (even a kitchen sponge works) on to the arm in the shape of a long tube. This is the "flesh". Trim the foam down till it's "arm-like" in its proportion and shape.

 3. Tint liquid latex (available at art stores- get Burma brand, it's the only kind widely available that works). Tint the latex with acrylic paint till it's the colour of the skin you want (careful- it dries much darker, so do a test).

 4. Paint the latex on to the arm. This latex is the "skin" that is on top of the "flesh" (sponge). Keep applying coats to the arm and fingers, allowing it to dry between coats.

 5. Add little weird bits of latex on the end of the arm, or anywhere you want a "wound". Tint some more latex blood colour, and use that to glue to the bits on, and to give it a nice gory look.

6. Sculpt some bone bits for the end from Sculpy, and attach it with hot glue. Add some gory bits of latex around the seam, so it hides any mess from the hot glue.

 You now are the proud owner of an awesome severed arm that is capable of being posed however you want. Animate it! Scare your sister (or brother, or dog).

When the therapist asks you why you spent a week making a tiny severed arm, mutter something about "the voices told me to". The additional therapy sessions will be a great way to get out of school/work.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mad Lab Makes A Commercial!

Hope you can tolerate mindless cartoon violence. This was just released today. It's the signal film for The Burlington Animation Festival, a new animation festival that happens this September.

It was great fun to do some work outside of the realm of stop motion! Special thanks to our 2012 intern, JASON BURCH for his awesome design work and animation on this.