I'm a total noob to everything stop motion and would just like to thank the creators of this site for this forum. It really is a cool place.
Won't bore you with how great I think stop motion is 'cause we all know that it's so or else we wouldn't be here.
Anyway, I've got a couple of questions I'd like to ask... What do you do with your old clay models and sets? Am I correct in thinking that the best way to do clay transformations is to capture the transformation in the opposite sequence in what it will appear in the final cut? Let me clarify the last question. Say, you want your clay being to come from a cube, is it better (easier and wiser) to sculpt it from the cube (in sequence) or to make your character into a cube (shooting in reverse sequence) and just flipping it around in post production?
And then a question I hope you don't take offense to... Don't you sometimes feel guilty spending a lot of money on your art?
No, I don't feel guilty at all!
I spend more time than money. And my partner and I both work and have our own bank accounts, so I don't freak out if she buys new shoes (when she already has a couple of pairs) and it's not her problem if I blow money on a new camera for animation. Also I got to animate for my day job for a few years, and actually got paid for it, so I can sort of pretend it's still real work even when it's only my personal projects.
Whether you shoot a transformation forwards or backwards, would depend on which shape is more difficult to sculpt. Start with the difficult one so you can take your time, and make mistakes and fix them if you have to. Then transform it to the easier shape while the camera is watching. I'd probably start with the character and animate it becoming a cube.
I did a tutorial where I sculpted a head, but I cheated - I had already sculpted the head before I decided to make a video. So I started with just a raw lump of clay and sculpted in time lapse, but towards the end I substituted my finished model that I had spent days refining. The demo one was actually going ok, it was getting to look like the person (writer HP Lovecraft) more quickly than my first version, probably because I had done it before and worked out where I was going with it. So from that experience, I think if you had to sculpt something difficult on camera (maybe morphed from something else equally difficult), it would pay to sculpt it first to work out how you wanted it to look. Then you could do it again, taking frames every so often, but you would have your first sculpture nearby where you could look at it to guide you.
I keep most of my sets, and modify them to use again several times. (Storage becomes a real problem!) I don't keep old clay models because I don't usually animate clay, I make moulds from my sculpts to cast in foam latex or silicone rubber. The clay is pulled apart getting it out of the mould. I do keep my latex puppets though. I made half a dozen bodies with removable heads I use again and again, just by sticking new heads and costumes on them.
"I do keep my latex puppets though. I made half a dozen bodies with removable heads I use again and again, just by sticking new heads and costumes on them."
That's actually a nifty idea. I checked out your website and must say that I really like your work. You are good.
And thank you for the morphing tip, StopMoNick.