When your Character Needs a Good Cry

Hair gel is a wonderfully realistic tool that can be used not only to achieve the formation of a tear, but follow its path down the face of your figure. Choose a product that offers maximum stiffness and look for either a clear or blue-tinted color. If you like, you can even experiment with food coloring or paint in order to add a more dramatic depth of color to your tear. You can use a Q-tip or toothpick to add the gel to the inside corner of the eye in increments that you are comfortable with.

When Lightning Strikes: Storm Effects

Lightning can be created by using a black light and a high-wattage halogen lamp. If you do not own a black light, you can typically find one in a craft or party store. Many grocery stores also carry actual black light bulbs that can then be screwed onto an existing lamp in your home. The halogen bulb should be about 500 watts, much like the brightness of a torchiere lamp at full blast. Be mindful of the fact that 500 watts can become extremely hot, so set your lighting far enough away so that it will not melt any materials (such as clay) that might be on your set or characters!

Weathering” your Set and Characters

Fantastic effects can be created by using paint and other natural materials. When creating the exterior of buildings, make sure to use multiple coats of paint in varying tones of the same shade. You may want to apply darker colored washes in-between coats to add an even more realistic touch. Play around with your brush. Most buildings are not shiny and smooth. Bricks are rough, wood has grain and texture, even concrete has chips and imperfections. As you build your layers of paint, do not be concerned about applying soft, side-to-side strokes.

How to Avoid the “Flicker Effect”

What is it, and how is it caused? Better yet, how can it be avoided? Believe it or not, the flicker is most likely created by elements outside of your set that can easily be controlled.

In order to make sure that your camera is not the culprit, be sure to set automatic controls to manual. These include white balance, shutter speed, shutter speed and focus. Make sure that your image stabilization is turned off. If any of these options are set to automatic, your camera will create a flickering interference throughout your film.

The Best Places to Find Royalty-Free Sound Effects

The internet is an invaluable resource for finding auditory clips to insert into your film. For a fee, you can purchase the right to use these pre-recorded sounds and download them instantly onto your computer. Be aware that some sites charge more than others, and often the difference in price is staggering. If you know that you will be animating for some time to come, you may decide to purchase a collection of music or sound effects. Many websites will sell you a volume of several disks, usually categorized by theme, which you can then keep at home and use as many times as you wish.

Seascapes and Swimming Pools: Water Simulation for your Set Design

The first step to making a body of water is deciding what materials to use. A very innovative way to create the look of water without getting anything wet would be to use a floral design product called Wonder Water. This is a clear gel which thickens and hardens, yet looks exactly like water. You could add dye to it in order to create a more dramatic color, even possibly shape the top with a tool as it hardens if you need to create a choppy oceanic setting!

Review: Crazy Talk Software

Crazy Talk’s easy-to-use interface allows users to import photos, sounds and recorded images in several different file formats. You can even import images from PowerPoint! Once the program has captured the picture, it will add realistic movement and expression to humans, objects, animals, and animation. The program uses a revolutionary technology known as Facetrix, which enables you to define different areas of the face. Once this is complete, the software goes to work, using a range of emotion to project lifelike expressions and movements onto your character’s face.

Read My Lips: Character Animation

There are many variations to mouth movements. Of course, if you are working on a low-budget or experimental project using Claymation, you may simply want to roll out a pair of tubular lips and manipulate them with your fingers. If you prefer a more precise and detailed mouth, however, it all begins with the design of your puppet.

MonkeyJam: A Freeware Boon for Animators

MonkeyJam is exactly that. Initially created for two-dimensional line drawings, this software program has evolved into something special for stop motion animators everywhere. Created by David Perry, MonkeyJam acts as a frame grabber and offers a spreadsheet-style format.

How to Storyboard your Animated Film

To begin, you will need to acquire a set of index cards or a storyboard sheet. While each card represents a segment of your storyboard, a sheet will contain a series of boxes for you to conceptualize your animation. These can be downloaded for free over the internet. You can also find no-cost software programs, such as StoryBoard Pro, which will enable you to plan your action on the computer screen.