How to make a multiplane camera stand for stop motion animation

The multiplane camera is a special motion picture camera used in the traditional animation process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another. This creates a three-dimensional, stereoscopic and parallax effects. The first multiplane camera, using four layers of flat artwork before a horizontal camera, was invented by former Walt Disney Studios animator/director Ub Iwerks in 1933, using parts from an old Chevrolet automobile.

Since so much of my art involves layers of paper, I thought I should build a multiplane camera stand to help animate my drawings. Here’s how I did it. And I didn’t need a Chevrolet.

I had four old 2×2’s at the studio. I drilled holes spaced 1/2″ apart. They are about 42″ tall. I used a 1/4″ drill bit, because I knew Home Depot had pegs that size.

peg-holes

I went to Home Depot and picked up some 16″ x 20″ panes of glass. The label says “Be careful! Edges are sharp!” I’ve cut myself twice, so that’s no lie.

glass

The size of the glass helped me determine the dimensions of the stand.

measurements

The braces at the top and bottom are cheap pine scraps. I can easily replace them to make the stand wider, which will accommodate bigger glass.

Here are the pegs I use:

pegs

glass-on-mount

Once the stand was complete, I set it on top of my camera platform (which you can read about here).

finished-stand

finshed-above

It works well with both paper cutouts and 3D objects.

in-use-peanuts-vs-beans

trees

I added tape to the outward facing glass edges.  It’s helped reduce the number of cuts I receive from the glass.

paper-cutouts

UPDATE

I painted the visible wood supports black, which helped with unwanted reflections:

black

Once I saw it was going to work, I painted the whole thing black.

painted

If you make one, or have suggestions or different ideas, please email me at jim.doran@gmail.com.

Cyanotype

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, blueprints.

The process uses two chemicals, mixes in equal parts: ammonium iron(III) citrate [20% solution] and potassium ferricyanide [8.1% (w/v) solution]. These are available at art supply stores, photography stores and, of course, online. Only mix enough to use during a single session, as it only keeps for about 3-4 hours. Apply to a surface with a brush. I used a foam brush.

brush

The solution can be applied to any porous surface, including paper (especially watercolor paper), cloth, canvas and even drywall. Allow to dry completely before applying second or third coats. I found that one is probably enough. Once the paper is dry, keep it in a dark place, such as a black plastic contractor bag.

I printed some digital negatives of two Delft China patterns and one of my dioramas onto a piece of 8×11 transparency film. I also copied a postcard about a shoe art exhibit onto a transparent sheet in a photo copier.

transparency

I put the transparent negatives, along with a feather, in a window box and placed it in the sun for about 9 minutes.

window-compressor

paine

It was a very bright day. The paper gradually changed colors, turning a silvery brown.

I also tried this with my hand, as objects can be laid on the paper, too.

hand

hand-finished

I rinsed the paper in warm water for about 7 minutes or so – just long enough to see the white highlights show through the blue. The process stops as soon as the paper is submerged. If the paper seems yellow after drying, it can be rinsed again. I started in the big blue baby pool to get most of the solution off, then used the other two boxes.

pool

rinse-repeat

The photo above shows four of my attempts at this process – the feather image has one coat of the solution, the hand and shoes have two coats, and the big piece has three coats.

cyanotype-print

It was really simple – I plan to do more of these.

If YOU are interested, you should check out Gray Lyons beautiful work. She showed me how to do this, and she was as kind as she is talented.

Holga Stereo Pinhole Camera

I stumbled on this beauty while researching stereoscopic image making. I got her online for about $15. Holga cameras are quirky, plastic and unique.

It’s been a while since I’ve used a pinhole camera and I’m pretty excited to have a chance to play with one again. The first shots below were a quick attempt to learn the camera, practice using a light meter and figure out exposure times.  These are double/triple exposures (and not stereo images – that’s next).

pin-hole2 pin-hole1

 

Dusty


[click above to view larger]

The word “dusty” immediately made me think of being a kid playing with cars in a sand pit near my house. I would do that for hours and hours. Dad couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to play baseball instead, which I suppose is also dusty.

The photo is a construction site near where I catch the train to work.

It is also dusty.

Happy Illustration Friday.