Hello! I'm looking for a specific video tutorial made on animating 3-D stop-motion puppets with a style reminiscent of vintage 2-D animation character movement styles of the 1920s-30s (e.g. Betty Boop, Felix the Cat, Popeye, et. al.). I recall seeing these tutorials a few years ago and have been unsuccessful at finding them again. One clue I can offer is that the animator who made these video tutorials was a noted master of capturing this vintage style. Any help in finding these videos would be most appreciated. Thank you!

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Doesn't ring a bell, but you could always look at how people have parodied that style more recently.

I think Simpsons had rubber hose gags. There's also the Mickey Mouse short "Get a Horse" from a couple years ago.

The first thing I think of from that era is the "rubber hose" style.  So I tried searching Youtube for "rubber hose animation tutorials" and there are a LOT, in 2d, After Effects, and various 3d animation programs like Maya and Cinema 4d.  Maybe hundreds.  Seems to be a very popular thing.   But I didn't see any in stop motion.  Then I tried "rubber hose stop motion tutorials" but all I got was some of the same, plus a few unrelated stop motion tutes.  So, no luck finding what you were looking for.

If I wanted to do it, but couldn't find the tutorial, I'd try it anyway.  To get the bendy limbs, I would use wire armatures and simply leave out the "bones" between joints.  Rubber hose style also seems to have a lot of morphing - limbs can stretch or shrink as required, for example as a character walks over a ditch his legs get longer so his body remains on the same level, then they shorten agin as he reaches level ground.  I've done tongues that stretch, by having a zig-zag wire inside.  A spiral works too, you can see the spiral 1.6mm armature wires for the lips on the talking robot head in this clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R77aVipcDt8   That should work for arms, but for legs it may not support the puppet's weight as well, and you may need a rig to take the weight.

Then I would watch few old cartoons to pick up some ideas for moves.  Max Fleischer is good - esp the Cab Calloway/Betty Boop "Minnie the Moocher", and "Swing you Sinners."   The chicken's legs do that lengthening thing I was talking about. And the gravestones just go to any shoe they want to. It's a very musical and choreographed style, perhaps focussed on the rhythm and possibilities of animation more than the storytelling.

It is a style that is easy in 2d and in 3d cgi, and really difficult in stop motion where puppets naturally have a set shape and volume.  Claymation would have that freedom, if that is the look you want.  Or replacement animation.  But with a vintage music track, I think it could work with a more limited form as well.  I'd like to see what you come up with!

Start with a music track and time out the beats so your animation can match. For instance, if the music has a downbeat every 8 frames, make sure your character's foot hits every 8 (or 16) frames. Having every character and flower and tree (etc) move in time with the music was a hallmark of that era.

I'm working on a stopmo commercial right now where characters play music, and I actually went into Flash and animated shapes bouncing to the beat, then brought that in as a line-up movie in Dragon to have some visual reference for that.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!! I'll keep looking and will post again if found. Until then...

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