Frequently Asked Questions
In order of most asked
Q: Where do you get your figures?
A: For the various action figures from anime and video games, I buy most of my figures online. Usually from Amazon or eBay. Whenever I'm in a store that sells toys I love taking a look.
I also make figures of my own design, such as the Life on the Red Planet and Flightless figures. These figures are made of aluminum wire skeletons, shaped with foam, and clothed. I create their heads and faces in the computer program Blender, then print them using a resin 3d printer.
Q: What are good places to buy figures?
A: Here are the places I shop for my Japanese figures (Figma, Bandai, etc) or other collectibles such as my clone troopers:
Amazon is a great place to buy new figures. Their massive worldwide domination of the market may be frightening, but it brings us great prices and customer service. However, when products become out of production(OOP) their price skyrockets on Amazon.
eBay is a great place to buy used or preserved OOP figures. However, you need to beware of scams and counterfeits. Shop around to find out what prices are reasonable and avoid prices that are "too good to be true".
AmiAmi.com is a great place to buy Japanese figures. AmiAmi is a licensed distributor of many Japanese products and is based in Japan. Preordering figures from them is a safe bet. Registered SAL shipping is their cheapest (while still being reliable) shipping to the US if you choose to shop there. Their site speed and shipping takes a while but it's pretty astounding we can easily get stuff from that far away anyway (assuming you live in the US or someplace equally far).
Q: What equipment do you use?
The body of my camera is a Canon EOS 6d mark 1(the mark 2 is simply not worth the price increase for my purposes). I use various Nikkor lenses depending on what shot I need but my personal favorite is the AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm lens. It came free with an old kit and it's just very versatile. Overall, Nikon (Nikkor) is said to produce the best lenses while Canon produces the best camera bodies (at least for stop motion animation).
I use a numpad control pad by dragon frame to remote control my camera to take pictures, before that I used generic remote controls to take photos. Pressing the button with your finger will cause shaking.
I use cheap LED desk lamps for my lighting. They cost around 8-15$ each.
For holding the camera and allowing for smooth movement, I use a Noxon Mod Slider. It is a rail specifically designed for stop motion, though it is a bit pricey it functions spectacularly.
I previously used a generic tripod, the Sunpak 7500 TM made by Platinum Plus. It's stable enough for what I need but has plenty of faults.
Q: Do you have any tips for beginners?
A: These tips are based on the most common issues I see on beginner animators.
Use a tripod to support the camera, this will create a stable image.
Get some sort of remote to control the camera rather than clicking the capture with your finger. Your finger will shake the camera with each click.
Take more photos with smaller movements in between each photo to create more smooth movement
Increase the fps (frames per second) and take more photos (frames) for a more smooth video.
Make sure the subject (and everything) is stable, cheap options include thumbtac at the base while pricier and cooler options include using a rig and editing it out later.
There are cheap/free ways to do everything no need to spend money if you don't want to.
Practice is most important.
Aside from that always seek improvement and you will get better with each photograph. With instant social media fame becoming more & more prevalent, stop motion may seem like a mind-bogglingly slow method to create art, but I believe it can lead to wonderful and satisfying creations so best of luck and be patient! Feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I'll try my best to help!😁
Q: What do you use to hold down the figures so they do not fall over?
A: For my desk animations I have fun using thumbtac. It's a sticky substance similar to gum but less gross. It may not be enough as figures still fall over but it saves a lot of time in editing. For my personal figure designs I make magnet feet that let the figures stick to a thin metal sheet placed underneath them. They adhere very strongly but this also has problems, the magnets stick to each other and prevent smooth movement close to the metal sheet, I have to substitute in unmagnetized feet sometimes.
The more professional method (and significantly more time consuming) is using a "stop motion rig". A device that holds up the figure, usually plugged into the figures back. This device is then edited out using photoshop, after effects or something similar. This method creates wonderful stability as well as the ability to fly or jump into the air. However, it can take very long to edit the rig out.
Q: Will you sponsor my product or animate a video for me?
A: I am not currently taking commissions as I am focusing on making my own original work which I already have little time for.