by Megan - Thursday, October 04, 2012 - Permalink
Ever since Selina Briggs conceived of The Jelly Empire, the robot has been attempting to take over the robot world. She began the empire with simple 2D illustrations featured on T-shirts, greeting cards and bags, but transformed Jelly into a 3D collectible toy when her friend from Argonaut Resins introduced her to a service that allows people to design real toys. She says fans are now collecting the figures and building their own Jelly armies – so you better watch out!
“The Jelly Empire is a little world that I had created about three years ago,” Selina says. “The idea behind the name is the robot is called Jelly, a nickname my friends also call me, and he is creating an empire to take over the world.”
Part of Jelly’s attempt in taking over is starring in his very own stop motion animations. Selina uses iStopMotion to bring her figurines to life.
“iStopMotion is a great way to help me promote my toy/artwork. We haven't been using it for long but I find it brings everything to life and helps people understand Jelly's personality more and more,” comments Selina. “The time lapse and this upcoming new video are teasers for NYCC. As you can see from the time lapse, I'm releasing my first comic book at NYCC. The video gives the audience a little sneak peek and a behind the scenes look. The new video is for a toy release that coincides with the character Super Jelly from the new comic.”
Selina and The Jelly Empire will be at New York Comic Con (October 11-14), so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area. Selina will be a guest at the Big Kev's Geek Stuff Booth, where she will be selling artwork, toys, apparel, accessories and speaking to fans. Her brand new comic book – shown in the above time lapes – will also be on display. Even if you can’t make it, Selina’s got more iStopMotion Jelly animations on the way.
“The videos are so much fun to make, and it just adds that little extra something. Definitely going to be making more of them!”
Be sure to keep an eye out for The Jelly Empire and stay tuned to watch Super Jelly in action!
by Megan - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Permalink
MacLife's J.R. Bookwalter recently checked out iStopMotion 3 - here's a taste of the review:
"Few things in life are as magical as watching inanimate objects come to life--something about it brings out the kid in everyone. iStopMotion 3 for Mac is likely to rekindle that interest in a big way, particularly for those old enough to remember classics like the original King Kong in constant rotation on TV.
We've previously reviewed the cheaper iPad app ($9.99), which has the same basic feature set. But on the Mac side, the all-new version 3 offers some compelling advantages, not the least of which is the ability to export finished animations to iMovie or Final Cut Pro X, where you can begin assembling individual shots immediately.
The bottom line. While iStopMotion for iPad is plenty for novice users to start out with, the Mac version is a must-have for artists with greater ambitions. The extensive tools coupled with a larger, more comfortable workspace can make short work of even the largest animated or time-lapse projects.
Their final rating: 4 out of 5 - Great! Read MacLife's full review here.
MacLife is giving away two free copies of iStopMotion 3 for Mac! Click here and comment by October 1st for a chance to win!
Image of iStopMotion 3 Chroma Keying feature by MacLife
by Megan - Monday, September 24, 2012 - Permalink
If you were stranded on an island, what three things could you not live without? We all know this age-old question, and for these two shipwrecked pirates, it’s a catapult, a keg of ale, and, of course, Atari Pong (hey, this shipwrecking doesn’t sound so bad after all…). Watch as these two mate-ys attempt (and fail) and attempt again to escape their lonely fate on the island set in shark-infested waters.
Directed and animated by Jarren Harkema, Brickwrecked was shot using iStopMotion for iPad on a 3rd generation iPad, then edited on a MacBook Pro using iMovie. As for the animation process using iStopMotion for iPad, Jarren says, “It was so simple to use, and yet very flexible to allow for various fields of depth and lighting. Loved the instant playback and easy editing!”
by Megan - Monday, September 10, 2012 - Permalink
Now that you’ve got iStopMotion 3, it’s time to start making some animations of your own, and the first thing you’ll need is some characters to star in the show. Helping you get started is The Ani-Mat Guidebook – a book that will show you how to easily create and animate your own claymation models. In this guidebook by Mark Boylan, you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to sculpt clay figurines along with useful tips and tricks that will make your animations really stand out.
Ani-Mats were originally devised to help kickstart your stop motion animation projects by demonstrating how to make twelve models to animate.
This guidebook perfectly compliments the original Ani-Mats with clear text, pictures and interactive elements that illustrate the step-by-step process to create twelve amazing characters. Progressing from simple to easy and then onto tricky characters children and adults alike can soon craft a model to animate, ideal for the classroom or home.
As well as the guide to building amazing characters the book also contains chapters with lots of useful tips and tricks for stop motion animators and on how to bring your characters to life through expressions and basic lip syncing.
by Megan - Friday, September 07, 2012 - Permalink
iStopMotion has been around the world, making stops in places like Puchheim, Germany, home of the Boinx Headquarters, and Petaluma, CA at the TWiT studios. Recently, iStopMotion made its mark on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah with the Animation Chefs. If you haven’t already heard of these guys, let me start by saying that you’re missing out! They’ve got a great video podcast mini-series where they show viewers great animations, teach animating tips and tricks, and more. When their favorite show, Top Gear, took a hiatus for the London Olympics, the Chefs took it into their own hands to create a parody of sorts of the show.
The guys combined live action and stop motion animation – using iStopMotion – to create the effect of driving a toy car Lamborghini Murcielago (theirs happened to be in the shop that day... just kidding!). We absolutely love their fun and quirky take on Top Gear, and even though there was a hiccup (or two, or three) while shooting, the final product came out pretty great. If this is your first time hearing about the Animation Chefs, not to worry. We definitely plan on catching up with these guys. If we can, that is; they move pretty fast – wouldn’t you if you were driving a Lamborghini Murcielago?!
by Megan - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - Permalink
We recently met the Clay Alchemist (others might know him simply as Jon Lopez) on his animation of Grandpa the Grump, and when we spotted his talent, we became fast friends. In fact, Jon was kind enough to create the main claymation figure - the mustached, whistle-blowing dog - for iStopMotion 3! He is quite the talented sculptor and has a bevy of fun, crazy and clever figurines. An iStopMotion enthusiast himself, Jon was kind enough to create somewhat of a promo video for iStopMotion 3 – AND he even used FotoMagico to create it! Here is what Jon has to say about the latest stop motion animation software from Boinx:
“If you haven’t tried this software out – it’s just plain amazing, it’s never been so good. This is the best product release yet and it’s never been so affordable, so you’ve gotta give it a shot.”
Don’t forget to share your work with us! We love getting to know our customers and seeing what they’re able to create with iStopMotion. Be sure to submit your work here – you might even see it in our theater one day!
by Megan - Monday, September 03, 2012 - Permalink
The beginning of a new school year is upon us, and with every new school year comes new teachers, new lessons and new tools to help make those lessons come alive. Leading the pack is iStopMotion 3, which has already received its first A+ of the year from the Wired Educator.
“It’s no secret I’m a fan of Boinx software. I’ve reviewed it, and loved it, again and again. Boinx is a company that clearly understands what teachers and students need. They continually produce exciting software, and refining existing applications, that engage learning and implement wonderful easy-to-navigate user interfaces.
iStopMotion from Boinx has been one of my favorite applications for both the iPad and my MacBook, and now it just got even more amazing.
Boinx’s award-winning stop motion and time lapse standard has just been redesigned with several incredible new features.
First of all, Boinx detonated a nuclear bomb with their new pricing of this product. iStopMotion 2 originally sold for $499.00, but this new updated release has dropped the price to just $49.99 for iStopMotion 3. (It was even on sale this Labor Day Weekend at $29.99.) Despite the lower price point, iStopMotion 3 has all the features of its predecessor and several new ones too. The pricing is perfect for educators. You can purchase it on the Mac App store.”
A teacher himself, the Wired Educator uses iStopMotion with his students for digital story telling projects. He reports his students' stop motion animations and time lapse movies are not only impressive, but clearly help develop and display their critical thinking skills. We strongly believe in the power of technology in the classroom, and we’re so happy to hear they’ve had such a successful implementation of the software! Check out the Wired Educator's example above to see what is possible with iStopMotion.
The Wired Educator’s final comments? “This is an incredible application at an incredible price. Wired Educator gives it our highest recommendation. We want this installed on every MacBook so students can create digital stories and projects that Wow! their audiences. Never before has animation and stop motion animation been so simple yet so powerful, and so affordable. The possibilities for what this great software can do is limited only to the imagination of those using it.”
Thank you to the Wired Educator for helping us start the school year off on such a positive note!
by Megan - Friday, August 31, 2012 - Permalink
The advent of webcams was really exciting, especially for us computer and technology lovers. They’ve gotten quite advanced over the years, and most modern USB webcams now have great resolution and very good optics. But even so, we have a bone to pick with webcams. They auto-set everything. Okay, okay, now we know that having things automatically done for you can be great, but when it comes to making iStopMotion animated movies or producing live TV with BoinxTV with a webcam, the auto-settings can really get in the way.
USB webcams auto-set everything from exposure to white balance to focus. For stop motion movies, that can result in flickering animations when the camera suddenly readjusts to changing image content. You might remember we recently added the ability to manually adjust white balance and exposure on our iStopMotion for iPad app, so when taking a time lapse of something like a sunset, the camera wouldn’t auto-adjust and spoil the lighting continuity. For BoinxTV, when the white balance is auto-set, it makes setting up chroma keying nearly impossible. This is because any change in lighting (for example, simply walking in front of the camera and casting a shadow on the green screen) destroys all of the settings you created in BoinxTV.
So, why are we telling you this? We recently discovered a great app that gives you manual control over all of the relevant settings of a USB webcam. The Webcam Settings app lets you adjust all of the settings on many USB webcams, so your iStopMotion or BoinxTV creations will look picture-perfect.
To use it, first open your video app and select the camera you want to adjust (Webcam Settings doesn't give you a preview, so you need a video app to see the changes you make). Now launch Webcam settings and open the Webcam Settings Panel.s
[Screenshot 1] First, select the camera at the very top. In our example, we’re using FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in). Now (1) either set the camera to manual (if possible) or to aperture priority. "Manual" is always the best choice, but some cameras don't support it. When set to manual, you can adjust the exposure time (2) using the slider. While you move the slider, take a look in the video app to see the changes you make. You can also alter the Aperture if needed. Uncheck the Auto White Balance box (3) and use the slider (4) to adjust the color temperature.
[Screenshot 2] Setting the focus is also possible with some cameras. To do this, go to the “Advanced” tab, uncheck “Auto" (1) in the focus section and set the focus (2). It's incredible how close some of these cams can focus. The Microsoft Cinema Cam HD can focus up to an inch in front of the camera without a problem.
Most cameras are set to 60Hz out of the box. In the US, that is not a problem, as your electricity also has 60 Hz, like that of light bulbs (which flicker at this speed, invisible to the human eye), so it doesn't create issues. In Europe, electricity has 50 Hz, causing image artifacts. Many webcams can be set to another Hz value to fix this.
When you’re finished manually setting the focus, exposure and more, your iStopMotion animation will be flicker free and your BoinxTV chroma keys will remain the way you originally set them up – leaving you free to exercise your amazing creative abilities!
Note: Webcam Settings is not able to permanently store the settings in the camera. So if you close Webcam Settings and your video app, or reboot, the settings will be lost and you’ll need to re-set them.
Because we like you so much, we did a bit of research for you! Here is a list of cameras we have in our office that we tested, including results:
Built in FaceTime HD Camera
* Manual Exposure
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* No focus control
* Powerline frequency control
* Manual Exposure
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* Focus control
* Powerline frequency
Microsoft Cinema Cam HD
* Aperture Priority
* Adjustable Aperture
* Manual white balance
* Focus control
* Powerline frequency
Agama USB Cam
* Manual/Aperture Priority
* No manual Aperture
Editor’s note: This article was written with great help from Boinx’s all-things-video guy, Bastian Wölfle – thanks Bastian!
by Megan - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - Permalink
As the summer comes to a close and fall slowly but surely creeps up on us, we’re busy preparing for another exciting visit to Petaluma, CA for the Mac Expo. Boinx Software will be sponsoring the event, along with some other great companies, including our friends at Smile Software, TUAW and Mac|Life. Now in its 19th year, the expo has grown drastically over the past years from hundreds to thousands of attendees, and is second only to Macworld in San Francisco.
The Mac Expo is our favorite way to begin the fall season, seeing old friends and getting to know new ones. We’re especially excited to be showing off some of the latest Boinx Software products, like iStopMotion 3. We are also really looking forward to hearing from noted Mac authorities, including Jeff Gamet, Bert Monroy, and Derrick Story, with whom we’ve worked in the past.
The tech world is CONSTANTLY changing, especially in the world of Apple products. Seriously, if I had told you you’d be giving verbal commands to your phone five years ago you’d probably think I was a crazy person. Sessions and workshops at the Mac Expo are sure to keep you up on your Apple game. From iOS and Beyond (Nine iPad Apps You Can’t Live Without) to Productivity (Ditch Paper, Go Digital) to Creativity (Turn Your iPhone into the Ultimate Point-and-Shoot Camera) and so much more, you’ll be an Apple expert by the time the weekend is over. And hey, even if you’re not, we’re sure you’ll have a pretty awesome time anyway!
Get your ticket today for the Mac Expo – just 7 USD now and 10 USD at the door. We hope to see you there!
by Megan - Monday, August 27, 2012 - Permalink
2012 has been the year of stop motion animation, with two of the biggest movies to hit theaters both being stop motion animation. ParaNorman is the latest film in this genre to garner some serious attention from children and adults alike. Created by Laika Inc., the same animation studio that came out with creepy, fantastically dark film Coraline, ParaNorman is the story of a young boy who just doesn’t quite fit in – perhaps in part due to his ability to see and speak to ghosts.
Stop motion animation is one of the most interesting mediums (in our humble opinion) for film, as it can take a lot of time – and patience – and looks quite remarkable in the end. This is exactly the case for ParaNorman, which took about four years to complete. According to an article on TIME.com, “For Norman’s character alone animators needed to create 9,000 different faces. The smallest item devised was a zombie’s drop of spit.” They also reported two of the most intense scenes in the movie each took an entire year to film. But don’t get alarmed! Making your own stop motion animated film can take as little or as much time as you’d like it to. It can be anything from a fun afternoon project to feature film. And with iStopMotion for the Mac or iPad, making stop action or claymation films is just as fun as it is easy!
This year's next stop motion animated movie, coming out this October, is Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the story about a different boy with an interest in ghosts – his dog’s ghost to be exact. So whether it’s a rainy day or you just feel like going to the movies, you won’t want to miss the stop motion animations of the year, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. Plus, now that iStopMotion 3 has officially hit the App Store, you can make a beautiful stop motion animation of your own, all in HD, for a price well within any animator's budget!