Animating Justin Kohn's mechanical creatures

My old friend Justin Kohn recently invited me to participate in a fun project that he's doing along with some of his students from the Academy of Art. He's been making these bizarre mechanical creatures for awhile and we're finally putting them through their paces, animating them against greenscreen on the stage at the Ex'pressions College in Emeryville.

I shot for a day - it was quite a challenge as these are very heavy contraptions with a lot of moving parts. I only managed to do about 30 frames, but I think the results were pretty good for my first time with this puppet. I'll be posting more pictures and movies when it all gets put together.

2010-10-07 update
Michael Stevenson just posted the raw footage up on Vimeo. The shot I animated is the third in the sequence and Michael finished out the animation after somewhere about frame 30:

War of the Worlds tests from Michael Stevenson on Vimeo.


  1. Hey Webster! That's awesome man! So nice to see you animating stop-mo again. How does it feel? Not exactly sure what it is you're animating but it looks neat! Can't wait for more posts on this. Thanks for sharing man!

  2. Thanks Mike, it felt pretty nerve-wracking as I was in a room full of people - some of them famous animators - sitting around talking while I was shooting. But it kept me on my toes - so the shot looked okay. If I do another shot for Justin I'll know better how to rig up the puppet to mitigate some of the weight issues.

  3. Wow, No pressure there. I hope you do more, That would be awesome! Do you like a closed set more or do you prefer having people around? does it affect your work?

  4. A closed set is always preferable and it's the norm. But in this case the pressure probably did me some good.

  5. Ha! That's just plain cool! Really cool animation. The finished shot is going to look great. Looks like there will be some cool machine gun effects too. Quite the rig, nice work!