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Brother Thomas Film Blog

11

Mar
2015

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In Fabrication

By Steve Leeper

3D Masks Part 2: Casting Eyeballs

On 11, Mar 2015 | No Comments | In Fabrication | By Steve Leeper

As part of fitting the replacement mask I needed to make sure that the eyeballs fit perfectly into the sockets in the base of the head.  This meant casting a silicone rubber version of the plastic eyeballs and pinning them to the inside of the replacement (ouch) and then casting the base for the head.  Hopefully the pictures will make a little more sense.

BT_Mask_Thmb2-800w

A HUGE thanks to Brenda Baumgarten at stopmotionsilicone.com for helping me step through this process.

BTW For those who are interest the gloppy blue lolly-pop in the first image is a brush-on mold making rubber by Smooth-on called Mold Star 16.  Pretty sweet stuff!

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07

Mar
2015

No Comments

In Fabrication

By Steve Leeper

3D Replacement Masks . . . and so it begins.

On 07, Mar 2015 | No Comments | In Fabrication | By Steve Leeper

One of the coolest innovations in animated film making  over the last few years is the use of 3D printing to create facial expressions for stop motion puppets.  With the cost of 3D printers and Scanners now in the “affordable” range, it opens up whole new possibilities for giving Br. Thomas a full range of animated expressions.

The following in a handful of images that document the initial casting process I used to get a perfect fit between a base head piece and the facial mask.

BT_Mask-Cast_RegTHM800w

In up-coming posts I’ll be documenting the process of 3D Replacement Masks from casting the first mask directly from my original sculpture, to animating expressions in the computer, right through to the final stages of 3D printing and painting. Read more…

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26

Feb
2015

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In Brother Thomas

By Steve Leeper

Madonna and Child-Composite Breakdown

On 26, Feb 2015 | No Comments | In Brother Thomas | By Steve Leeper

The process of Compositing is basically the layering of many images together in a way that gives absolute visual control over final look.

You can see from the progression of images below how each new layer builds on the next resulting in a rich composite of color, texture and line.   

MC02_Composite Progression220w

The really cool part is that these images actually move!  More on that later.  I did the character and line work while Aaron Deal was responsible for the color and texture, and Jeff Morice created the CG dragonfly. I’ll be devoting at least couple of future posts to that process alone.

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23

Feb
2015

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In Brother Thomas

By Steve Leeper

Madonna and Child-Design Progression

On 23, Feb 2015 | No Comments | In Brother Thomas | By Steve Leeper

The above images are just some of the inspiration that went into designing the Madonna and Child sequence.

The following images show how the stained glass Madonna and Child have been evolving from my initial concept design to fully animated characters. These characters will eventually inhabit the 2- dimensional stained glass world of the film.

MC01_Post Panel1400w

Read more…

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15

Feb
2015

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In People

By Steve Leeper

Brenda Baumgarten: Puppet Fabricator

On 15, Feb 2015 | No Comments | In People | By Steve Leeper

Brenda Baumgarten: Puppet Fabricator

Brenda is a good friend and a most excellent puppet maker who has been working on this armature over the last couple of months in spite of a very busy production schedule.  Not to mention the hours she has invested via Skype advising and mentoring me through the design and fabrication process. Read more…

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12

Feb
2015

No Comments

In People

By Steve Leeper

Jeff Morice

On 12, Feb 2015 | No Comments | In People | By Steve Leeper

Jeff Morice

Jeff_MorriceBioPic200w

CG Artist/Animator

Jeff Morice is a talented young Animator/Artist who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute in 2013. While at the Art Institute, Jeff specialized in a broad variety of animation techniques including hand drawn/digital 2D, 3D Computer Graphics (CG) and motion graphics.

As you can see from his work on the dragonfly, Jeff pays incredible attention to detail and has an eye for subtle motion and beauty. All that and he’s REALLY good with technology.  All of this is on display in his animation reel and his beautifully animated short The Prince of Margo.

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09

Nov
2013

4 Comments

In Brother Thomas
Concept Art

By Steve Leeper

Stained Glass Designs by Aaron Deal

On 09, Nov 2013 | 4 Comments | In Brother Thomas, Concept Art | By Steve Leeper

One of the questions I’ve been asking myself for a while now is “what does stained glass look like when it animates?”  My good friend/motion graphics artist Aaron Deal has been helping me figure that out.  For the past few weeks Aaron has been working on variations for the “Madonna and Child” sequence in After Effects.

Aaron was one of our early graduates from the animation department at HU.  Aaron currently works as a motion graphics artist in Indianapolis.

Click here to read more about team that’s coming together to make The Temptation of Brother Thomas.

Read more…

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22

Sep
2012

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In Guest Artists

By Steve Leeper

Luis Contreras

On 22, Sep 2012 | No Comments | In Guest Artists | By Steve Leeper

I first met Luis in 1994 when he moved to Chicago to begin teaching at Columbia College in the animation department.  We were both charged with developing core classes and it was immediately apparent that we shared the same love for story and animation. When Phil Vischer was looking for a story artist for his VeggieTales project I knew exactly the artist for the job.

Luis’ sense of character and his flair for dramatic expression comes through in the image he created for the Guest Artist Gallery.  Luis’ Brother Thomas is both older and younger than the Thomas who’s been showing up in my storyboards.  A red-haired young man, completely in the moment, breathing in the freshness of the new day.

Click here to see more images in our Guest Artist Gallery

Read more…

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11

Sep
2012

4 Comments

In Animation
Brother Thomas

By Steve Leeper

Promo Teaser w/Phil Vischer

On 11, Sep 2012 | 4 Comments | In Animation, Brother Thomas | By Steve Leeper

After weeks of creating animatics and shooting interview footage we finally cut together a teaser that gives a great taste of the film we’re trying to make.

Special thanks to my old boss and friend Phil Vischer for setting up the teaser and for providing the commentary throughout.  I initially pitched the bare-bones concept of Brother Thomas to Phil over ten years ago while working on VeggieTales.  I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to have Phil’s full support for the Brother Thomas project.

The animation in the teaser is still at the storyboard stage and at this point the drawings are only sketches.  But something happens when you cut them together with a good sound mix.  It almost feels like a movie!

Read more…

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04

Aug
2012

No Comments

In Guest Artists

By Steve Leeper

Dennis Jones

On 04, Aug 2012 | No Comments | In Guest Artists | By Steve Leeper

I had the pleasure of getting to know Dennis this past year when he sat in on my puppet making class at HU.   I was supposed to teach him how to make a foam puppet.  In the end I think Dennis schooled us on three-dimensional character design instead.  Either way he created a killer Viking puppet named Mangus, which helped to push all of our puppet making techniques to the next level and almost forced us to buy a larger oven.

Dennis’ distinct illustration style gives Brother Thomas a completely new look.  Not only has his haircut improved, but it looks as though he may have lost a few pounds while hanging out in Dennis’ studio.  I love the mischief that’s going on between he and the dragonfly.  They certainly look like they’re up to something.

Click here to see more images in our Guest Artist Gallery

Read more…

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