Hey Guys!

  Its been a while but I have been hard at work on KUBO and the 2 Strings at LAIKA.

I just am dropping in to let you guys know that I have been taking private stopmotion animation students on recently and it has been working great!!

I have been working through {Skype - Dropbox and email with Much success.}

I am thinking of opening it up to some more people if any are interested in learning from a LAIKA feature animator?

....I am doing a 12 week course on the Fundamentals of animation or a Custom 12 week course on what you would like to work on.

If any of you are interested ......please contact me at  -      justin_rasch@hotmail.com


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Thanks for the advice Strider. I will start a new thread for any further questions. A review of Nick's excellent videos is my next priority.


Hey guys.  

I have been interacting with Justin Rasch over the past month by email and I hope I will be doing his next available course probably stating March 2016 now..... 

I wasn't quite ready to start this month and I needed some time to prepare myself and sort out my creative space.  And I do realise now that my decision to defer the course was for the best, and I really hope to feel ready in a few months for the next one.  

With respect I have to say Justin has been very cool about everything!

I need to go through the process next of making a puppet that I'm happy to work with, but I'm thinking now perhaps I should just invest in a well designed armature as I want to focus more on learning the animation process and not become overwhelmed by all the other areas of the craft of stopmotion.

And I still need to buy a DSLR camera & lens - too much choice - and familiarise myself with DragonFrame... 



Hi Kit...

I feel the same way about the puppet issue myself.   I'm trying to think carefully over what the best option is now.  I have even considered if I should learn to make/bake foam latex puppets like Justin and Shel did on their film... but sounds like a big learning curve and big cost involved and a headwork I can do without at this point.    I think your armature/foam/cloth approach sounds sensible.  I may do the same.  I was asking my mum tonight if she would teach me how to do sewing and knitting and all that kind of stuff, she's use to make soft toys years ago, very creative stuff, so looking forward to that, can make proper clothes then.  

What happend then with your armature?   Were you happy with it?  Would love some feedback?     

I have been looking at that site you mentioned from http://www.animationtoolkit.co.uk/

one of the more impressive armature sites I've seen.  Is that the armature that you can make lots of different creature things from?  

I also like ALPHA armatures from  http://www.stopmotionshop.com/ but they are the top end and very expensive.  



Kit said:

In order to ensure that, when I start the course with Justin, I have a puppet which is good enough that any shortcomings are down to the workman and not his tools, I have ordered an 'Armacreature' armature from Animationtoolkit in the UK.

My plan is to produce a lightweight, 1/6 scale, ordinary humanoid puppet using upholstery foam for the bulk of the body etc. with fabric clothes over the top. Can anyone recommend a particular type of foam and a supplier in Australia for this purpose?



Unfortunately I don't have the spare cash to do Justin's course anytime soon but I do plan to use the armature I bought for some practice animation. As I've said before, this is the only armature I have any experience with so I cannot make any comparisons. I don't have any complaints about it. I did buy the one which has extra pieces for making a variety of skeletons, but I found it impossible to get all the joints tight enough without using the Locktite. This means you cannot easily take one armature to pieces to make a different one to experiment with. There are different types of Locktite available, so you may be able to find one better suited to this if you want to try.

There are quite a few animation tests about which are just the bare armature and I'm always amazed at how expressive these can be, but clothes, head, hands and feet will be needed soon enough.

Stopmo Nick has some excellent tutorials available on making latex hands and you could make a simple head from, say, balsa wood to get started while you try out other techniques to find out what suits your own style.

Best of luck


Hey Kit.

I'm sorry man to hear that your not in a position right now to do Justin's course, hopefully your situation will change in the near future, and if it doesn't then there are always other ways to pursue animation.  And even if I wasn't going to do the course, I would still self direct my own education.  All said and done, we all have the answers to our own learning within us anyway, I do strongly believe that, it's just we all tend to find it easier to be guided by someone more experienced and stronger.  I guess there are only so many leaders, most of us are followers.  I hope to prove myself to be more a leader after I get enough education from Justin and other sources.   I have to be honest though I didn't find it easy to decide to justify the cost of paying for this education, or even allowing myself to be taught by another person, big trust issues etc.  What's ironic here is that if I had gone to college & university I would have had all my animation education paid for upfront by the state, well deferred debt right, only to be paid back if or when I earn over £21,000, but I personally didn't go down that path as I never find it easy to socially interact with people in the real world, something I will have to learn to change if I am to ever have a career in the animation industry, but at the end of the day I feel passionate about doing this for my own personal reasons anyway, so I care less at this time whether or not I get myself out there working.  

One baby step at a time right.  

And don't ever feel ashamed of where you start out in animation, a very special someone told me that recently.  I just have to learn to accept the belief, that's the hard part.    

Thank you for giving me some feedback on the Armacreature armature. sounds really good, although you mentioned it's got some limits there with the Locktite issue, atleast with the one you tried out.  

Yeah I've also seen very basic bare armatures expressing great movement and expression, I know what your saying, and it does make you think twice about whether we do need to invest in more expensive armatures, maybe we are only limited by our own imagination in the end, but until then having more high tech options can help us along our path to realisation, or so I believe.  

And as much as I appreciate the aesthetics of a well designed finished puppet, and animated with character, and performance, and voice, and story, and a whole world, with selective lights and shadows, to live & breathe in, I really do want to learn the mechanics of movement and timing first before I get into telling stories and finding my own artistic voice in this unique magical self-expressive medium.  And I realise, more and more, there are no real shortcuts anymore.  

Yeah Nick and Strider and few other people I'm slowly getting familiar with on here are excellent sources to learn from.  I will try to check out more of Nick's stuff you mentioned.  I haven't really experimented much with puppet & armature design.  There's never enough time is there and resources are always limited, which is frustrating at times, we all have to find our own pace to learn right.  I want to make sure that I stay as centered as I can be on learning the actual animation process of movement and timing, to give a good convincing performance.  We can all fall deep into the aesthetics of puppet design and set design, which is amazing, and can totally consume us if we allow it to, ocd lol, but don't get me wrong or misunderstand me, I love all aspects of the craft of stopmotion, and some people are making animation work with very little animation skill, so who's to say which approach or attitude is the best one.  Each to their own, but I don't want to make any kind of value judgements, that would be way too easy, but I do want to find out & learn the fundamentals of animation, and make that my strong foundation to build my future potential animation on....I want to find out what I'm capable of doing and how far I can take this expression....


hey Buckner,

Did you end up doing the course?  If so, How's it going for you?


Buckner said:

I'll be starting the course in a couple weeks! I'm so excited to be working with Justin. This opportunity came at the perfect time for me.


I think there are plenty of us arty people about who "never find it easy to socially interact with people in the real world". Is that why we express ourselves in different ways? Or is it just that the rest of the proletariat simply aren't up to our superior intellectual standing?

Thanks Kit for the recognition, it is appreciated.  yeah I guess it's got something to do with that lol    

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