Hey guys,

I've been animating for close to a year an really small tabletop sets and stages I've made by hand; usually they are a kind of shadowbox that fits the vignette-minifilm. Recently I've been really pushing myself to be more and more 'professional' in my animation practice. However, I've found a number of obstacles that come with the package of living in a small apartment first and foremost of which is space. Another major issue is lighting- in order to avoid creating a hot and depressing environment by closing all doors and blinds I've had to animate in the dark hours of night/early morning. I'm in an area where people just don't have attics and basements and my garage doesn't seem to have any easily accessible electrical outlets (gotta ask the handyman where I might hook up some lights.) 

Are there any other animators out there who either share my situation and struggle, or is there anyone who has had to work around this before? Open to suggestions concerning space management and general advice. 

Thanks,

Cadmus 

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Hmm. I'd try to see if you can get some electric in the garage. Is it possible to run a cable from your consumer unit ( the box with circuit breakers or fuses) to the garage? If so, then you could get some decent power there and presumably you don't have to worry about windows. Cars can cope outside!

I live in a country where most houses don't have attics or basements, so a spare room is generally the only option.  (I've never seen a basement here in Australia, or in New Zealand where I lived before, but it seems to be something US houses often have.  Attics are just a small space under the roof, where you step from ceiling joist to ceiling joist, because there is no flooring.)  I did my first test animations in the dining room with a blanket over the doorway to the kitchen, since there was no door.  I hung black plastic over the window.  (But then I was able to set up my studio space at work, and now I have a separate bungalow at the back of the garden as my studio, so I'm not in your situation now.)

Blocking off the light is standard practice, whether it's in a room or a garage, and I guess that can make the space a bit stuffy.   

Do you have no electrical outlets at all in your garage?  Or just, not so easily accessible?  You can run long extension cords, and connect 4 point power adapters to them.  With modern low energy lighting like LEDs you wouldn't need to overload the circuit.  Also Fluorescent or LED lights don't generate as much heat as the old halogens, so they shouldn't make hot weather so much worse.

Space is going to be limited in an apartment, no getting around that.  One thing that helped for me was making folding rostrums for animation tables, so they could be packed flat when not in use. (As seen in my Tiedowns video at my StopmoNick Youtube channel.)  Some of my sets are designed to fold flat as well.

 I also built additional, smaller 1:24 scale sets to get a wider view, since I couldn't fit very much of my usual 1:6 scale sets into the studio space.  But that created extra demand for storage.  I think you could have an aircraft hangar, and still eventually run out of storage space!  I have high shelving, just above the level of the tops of doors and windows, running right along every wall except the one where I put my backdrop painting or greenscreen, to store boxes of stuff up out of the way as much as possible.  But I need to sacrifice some of my old sets, there is nowhere left to add more shelves and it's getting hard to move.

Possibly. I'm not sure. There's a chance that I can run some wire down from the ceiling light, but I'm not certain it would be allowed by management. 

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Hmm. I'd try to see if you can get some electric in the garage. Is it possible to run a cable from your consumer unit ( the box with circuit breakers or fuses) to the garage? If so, then you could get some decent power there and presumably you don't have to worry about windows. Cars can cope outside!


Hey Nick,

Thanks for the input. I really feel like I just might put up some blankets or curtains over the windows to block out the light and better control the stage. 

No, I don't think there are any outlets in the garage. There's a single light up at the ceiling, but I think it's built into the j-box. 

I've seen some of the videos on your channel which have been a great help. I'll have to check out the tie-downs video though. 

I have a video coming up that I might be able to shoot in my editor's garage. So my troubles with space and lighting won't be following me everywhere. 
StopmoNick said:

I live in a country where most houses don't have attics or basements, so a spare room is generally the only option.  (I've never seen a basement here in Australia, or in New Zealand where I lived before, but it seems to be something US houses often have.  Attics are just a small space under the roof, where you step from ceiling joist to ceiling joist, because there is no flooring.)  I did my first test animations in the dining room with a blanket over the doorway to the kitchen, since there was no door.  I hung black plastic over the window.  (But then I was able to set up my studio space at work, and now I have a separate bungalow at the back of the garden as my studio, so I'm not in your situation now.)

Blocking off the light is standard practice, whether it's in a room or a garage, and I guess that can make the space a bit stuffy.   

Do you have no electrical outlets at all in your garage?  Or just, not so easily accessible?  You can run long extension cords, and connect 4 point power adapters to them.  With modern low energy lighting like LEDs you wouldn't need to overload the circuit.  Also Fluorescent or LED lights don't generate as much heat as the old halogens, so they shouldn't make hot weather so much worse.

Space is going to be limited in an apartment, no getting around that.  One thing that helped for me was making folding rostrums for animation tables, so they could be packed flat when not in use. (As seen in my Tiedowns video at my StopmoNick Youtube channel.)  Some of my sets are designed to fold flat as well.

 I also built additional, smaller 1:24 scale sets to get a wider view, since I couldn't fit very much of my usual 1:6 scale sets into the studio space.  But that created extra demand for storage.  I think you could have an aircraft hangar, and still eventually run out of storage space!  I have high shelving, just above the level of the tops of doors and windows, running right along every wall except the one where I put my backdrop painting or greenscreen, to store boxes of stuff up out of the way as much as possible.  But I need to sacrifice some of my old sets, there is nowhere left to add more shelves and it's getting hard to move.

Taking the power from just a ceiling light is probably not enough. Ideally you need to go from power sockets, which provide much more. 

Cadmus Rimbaud said:

Possibly. I'm not sure. There's a chance that I can run some wire down from the ceiling light, but I'm not certain it would be allowed by management. 

Simon Tytherleigh said:

Hmm. I'd try to see if you can get some electric in the garage. Is it possible to run a cable from your consumer unit ( the box with circuit breakers or fuses) to the garage? If so, then you could get some decent power there and presumably you don't have to worry about windows. Cars can cope outside!

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