Zombie Finger Puppet
|CLaP's 88 in 888...and more!||
It's been a few weeks since I brought you the first head to head match up of the "Help Me Choose My Travel Companion" competition. Thank you to everyone who participated and voted in the first match up. By a vote of 3-1, Frankenstein's Monster will be moving on to the second round. I am very excited to be bringing you this second match up, as there was some chatter regarding one of the competitors in the previous voting. Our first competitor is a figure I've had since I was a kid. He is part of a claymation musical group that became wildly popular in the mid to late 90's. It seems fitting that he's being voted for over the holidays, as the group performed in the Emmy award-winning "A Claymation Christmas Celebration" in 1987. He is a Califoria Raisin.
His opponent does not have much of a backstory unfortunately. He is a puppet, and he is hungry for flesh. He is the Zombie Finger Puppet.
Zombie Finger Puppet
Please submit your vote through the comments section. If you're going to suggest other nominees, please include a vote for this matchup as well. Thanks!
Earlier this year, I had an unfortunate accident that led to a couple of foot surgeries. I was out enjoying the New Mexico desert when it attacked my foot by punching a hole in it. I had gone to the ER that night, but they told me to let it heal naturally. I wanted to see a foot doctor, but within a few days of the injury I was getting on a plane and flying up to Portland, OR. I had been planning the trip for a while. I would meet up with my good friend GRitter, we would see a couple friends in Portland, hike and camp in the Oregon and Washington wilderness, then meet up with my family in Seattle.
Unfortunately, the injury put a damper on my plans. I was on crutches for a large portion of the trip, and definitely couldn't handle hiking or backcountry camping. So we modified the trip a bit. Instead of spending some time hiking Mt. Rainier National Park, we just camped one night there. We did explore the park by car. Then we decided since we weren't hiking, we could go see another park. So we ended up heading to the Olympic Peninsula and camping at Olympic National Park, a mere mile or two from the Pacific coast.
Anyway, we made the most of the trip regardless of my physical limitations. GRitter had seen my previous video adventures with Kimble and wanted to do something similar. So we filmed much of the trip, and below is the result. I meant to finish it sooner, but I became really busy with medical stuff and school. Now that my semester just ended, I was able to spend an evening on it. If you're wondering about the song, it was one that brought us joy throughout the trip and just seemed appropriate to use for the video. I've also included some pictures at the bottom.
I am happy to say that this fall semester has finally come to a close. It's been a tough few months. I was taking three classes while working full time and dealing with two foot surgeries. It made time management a bit difficult for a while. Fortunately as I healed, I was able to manage the time better. Of course that meant sacrificing sleep for a while, but I'll now have a few weeks to catch up.
The three classes I had were Intermediate Maya, Screenplay Writing and Advanced Computer Animation. The Advanced Computer Animation class is sort of a final project class for the Animation degree. The class consisted of six people, and we had to work as a group for the fifteen weeks of the semester to come up with one project. However stressful it may have been at times, this was a really fun class. There really were no requirements for the project. We just had to have a final animation at the end of the semester. In week one we brainstormed and came up with an idea for an animation. We then created a storyboard, which I can safely say pretty much stayed in tact through the duration of the project. We ended up adding more scenes, but the progression of the story stayed the same. Jobs were assigned to everyone and a script was written. After fifteen weeks, we managed to finish on the final day.
Below is the final product. Continue reading below the video when you are done to read more about the process. Enjoy!
We decided pretty quickly that we wanted to do an infomercial. At first we started thinking about ideas of what kind of product we'd want to use, something that would have all of the cliche features of an "As Seen On TV" product. By thinking of those characteristics, we figured it'd be funnier if we kept the product ambiguous, never actually showing the product. This enabled us to just come up with every feature we could think of (slices, juices, etc.) and use those as most of our scenes. Since there wouldn't be an actual product, there needed to be something that we could actually animate with these features. That led us to deciding on just using the word "it." This works in the spoken part of We started coming up with characters, which would include the stereotypical television host and his assistant. We added to that an "everyman" who would be using the product.
As we came up with more and more absurd features (bulletproof, babysits, etc.)for the product, we came up with a character who would act as a voice of reason to the ridiculous things that are taking place. He would start as a curious consumer, but after not getting answers he would start to get aggravated. This became an amusing aspect of the whole animation. We had the infomercial start normal and just build to absurdity.
We were able to split up the jobs effectively. Two people modeled all of the characters, I rigged them with skeletons, most most of us each modeled different "it" scenes and one person gathered all of the sound effects. We even brought in outside help for the voice actors. Three different friends of group members provided the voices for the announcer, host and voice of reason. One of our lucky members voiced both the paid actor and the assistant. I also credit the voice actors for creatively contributing by improvising a bit and coming up with new lines we eventually used. It was trully a group effort all around.
We used a variety of software tools througout the project. The characters were modeled using Lightwave. Most of the rest of the modeling and animation was done in Autodesk Maya. The audio was edited using Adobe Soundbooth. A couple of scenes were animated using Adobe After Effects. Adobe Photoshop was important at times. Adobe Premiere Pro was the final software used to edit everything together and create a video output file.
Fifteen weeks, six people (plus a few), several software packages and one final video.
I've been wanting to share with everyone a bit of information on #54 of my 88 in 888 list. It says I will donate at least 100,000 grains of rice on Freerice.com. I feel like most people probably read that and asked themselves, "What is FreeRice?" Well, I suppose if you clicked on the link I provided you already know by now. If you didn't, or just haven't read my list yet, FreeRice is a website that allows users to donate grains of rice, for free. To be more specific, it is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. FreeRice has two goals for their website:
1. Provide education to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.
In order to do this, FreeRice allows anyone to go to the website and answer multiple choice questions to earn rice. For each correct answer, FreeRice donates 10 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program. There is also an option to create a profile, thus tracking the amount of rice you've donated through their website. There are several subjects in which you can answer questions for, and each subject has varying levels so they can become more challenging as you continue to answer correctly. The subjects include English, Geography, Math, Chemistry, Art and Language. Each subject has multiple categories (except Art). You can choose to do subjects you're comfortable with, or challenge yourself. It's completely up to the user. If you are answering algebra questions but then want to learn some basic German, you can switch at anytime. My favorite subjects are French, Identify World Countries on a Map and World Capitals. Your overall totals are tracked, as well as subject totals. You can even have friends or join a group to keep track of each other's totals. I currently have
When it comes down to it, FreeRice is a hassle-free website that allows anyone to help feed the hungry. You might ask yourselves, "If everything is free, how can they afford to donate all this rice?" The rice is provided by the sponsors who advertise on the site. You can even sign up with your Facebook or Twitter account. If you would like to help fight hunger 10 grains at a time, please check out Freerice.com. If you do, please let me know and we can be friends on there. My username is smuckuss.
Check out these other blogs...