Category Archives: Cabbage

Introducing… Shelley’s Boiling Water!

A while back, I got a cute little package in the mail from Shelley — it was a little baggy of gel water, along with some tiny glass beads.  Well, I knew I’d get a chance to use this, because I needed to have a pot full of boiling water in the film… which gets turned into cabbage soup.

So, here it is — in two parts.  In part one, I’ve animated the puppet and cabbage leaves; then animated the boiling water as a separate pass.  (I can only handle one or two complicated things at a time when I’m animating, and it seemed like it would be easier to stabilize the pot and comp in the water in post…)

Sabela Cuts Cabbage Leaves from Stephanie Dudley on Vimeo.

I ended up cutting the leaves before shooting, with the intention to clean up the seams in post.  I used blue fun-tak to stick the leaves to this wire as they fell into the pot.  The wire was pretty difficult to control — it may have been too long — but it ended up looking OK.  The gel was really easy to animate — I just poked at it randomly, and moved the beads around with each frame.  I didn’t even need to tint it further than it was already — the greenish hue turned out to be a nice contrast to the coppery pot.  I used only the larger beads, which were about 2mm in diameter, set on top of the gel, as the water is slightly out of focus, so the glints of light seemed to work best as “bubbles” with those.

I’m in the process of putting together a little lighting tutorial on this scene, as I’m rather pleased with how the lighting turned out.  So there’s more to come on this…

Thanks for the water sampler kit, Shelley!  It worked great!

Final Touches, and a Start Date — Whew!

So, things are winding down, and it’s feeling like the calm before the storm right now.  The set is pretty much done — there needs to be some practical lighting wired up to dimmers, and some making room for magnets below the stage, but that’s about it!  I can’t believe it.

Now the real fun and frustrations begin!

The very last thing to build is the cabbage, which I kept putting off thinking about, for some reason.  There are going to be two cabbages in the film; one which is suspended from the set, floating in the middle of the stage… and one that gets cut up and made into a soup.  They’re supposed to be the same cabbage, but they require different practicalities in the way they’re built.

I’m using my favourite mediums to make the leaves… two layers of rice paper, coated in clear acrylic gloss medium, with a layer of aluminum mesh sandwiched in between.  The mesh is made for sculpting — it’s some sort of armature medium — but it’s also great for allowing things to be moldable for animation.

I started out with a balsa wood ball — these are layers of balsa wood sheets laminated together, then sawed and filed into a ball.  Balsa wood works great for what I want to do, because it’s nice and light, but can still hold hardware such as screws and screw eyelets, which will allow it to be suspended within the set.

I had some inspirational postcards and photos strewn about, so as I was photographing the cabbage, I discovered an interesting backdrop…

The calligraphic cards are from two postcards I got at the Getty Museum years ago…  they’re images from a book from the 16th century called Model Book of Calligraphy.  The other photo is an old favourite — it’s a building in Toronto that used to be the Ontario Hydro Building.  It’s really cool because it’s curved, and reflects the sky in a huge, distorted grid.  I’ve taken many photos of that building!

Somehow this sums up well the visual themes of the film:  there will be calligraphy, grids, and cabbage!

On to the next stage…  animatics, planning, and trial animations.

(The Start Date:  November 28th, 2008…)