Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Were Reading

Time for an update! Heres what we are reading and looking at:

Paper Puppet Palooza by Crankbunny is a great insight to the world of puppets and toy theater. For us it's also an incredible insight into how puppets move so we can determine how to animate pieces.


"The design of a puppet is about both looks and mechanics. Adding life to a puppet comes from experimenting with and balancing these two important facets. It is a mistake to assume mechanics is the essence of making a paper puppet. Some of the most wonderful puppets are simply flat cutouts on a rod." - Norma V. Toraya

The next thing were looking at is the three dimensional aspect of more mechanical toys and how that can translate into a more flat looking design.

Heres an example of a wave and boat toy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Keeping Busy

Here are a few things you should be looking at.

Dante's Inferno Toy Theater

And heres what I've been doing.

I've been trying to learn different approaches to paper puppets and toys.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

While Nathan finishes up...

While Nathan finishes up his Grad School work I've been testing kits, adding and subtracting materials, and developing test animations. But what I've also been up to is trouncing through the vast interwebs discovering and rediscovering bits of useful information.

One bit of information comes from Lou Romano's concept art for the Pixar film UP. See link below:


Half way down this page is a small desktop diorama that they used to look at certain composition and lighting.

Check back later this week when we reveal more information about the first kit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Website Design Update

Heres a little update on how the website is coming along.

Please leave feedback. What would you want from the site?

Lost in Space Model Kit

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Starting a new kit

Tim and I have been trying to find ways to easily explain this project, but in the end I think the easiest way is simply by demonstrating it. Small Imaginings is about providing people with free, high quality, quirky 'story kits'. The kits will include casts of characters, with sets, props, and sounds. A kit could be printed out and used with a toy theater. It might be imported into Flash or After Effects and made into an animation. It might be used in a graphic novel or comic. It can be anything you want, and we truly hope you use them in ways we haven't even thought of.

Our purpose is the creation of 'malleable, dynamic worlds' (see my blog post 5\22\09) that encourage the creation and telling of stories.

I'm beginning work on a group of characters that will be my first kit. They are all head and shoulders, essentially, drawn from a set of medieval woodcuts which purported to show the relationships between physical characteristics and temperament. I'm planning a group of 6 or 7 images when the kit is completed. They will all have names and some indicators of character.

The 'story kit' will also include background images, a few props, and associated sound files. For all the images we'll include both high resolution and lower res versions scaled to match the backgrounds to simplify importing into Flash or another animation platform. After that, it's up to you.

Here's the first one. I haven't settled on a name yet, so if you have any suggestions ... I'm posting 3 versions to demonstrate how the mouth can be animated (this can be operated with 2 sticks or wires in a toy theater). The last version has a tongue - I'm hoping for some feedback on the tongue - good? Too much?

And another one ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reinventing the Wheel

So the title is a little misguiding. We aren't reinventing the wheel but the toy theater was built tonight. I know it has been done before but we can't even consider to do what we are doing without knowing the process first.

Heres a camera phone shot of our newly built and still very crude theater.

Rough Kit Test

Something we crudely put together earlier in the day.

Some Images

Before we explain further what we're hoping to accomplish we would like to show you a few representative images.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something Very Interesting...

Here is a website you should be looking at.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Small Imaginings

Welcome to the Small Imaginings page! In the next couple months Nathan Wagoner and I will be posting on here the beginnings of what we hope to be something very big. We're creating a community, a source for quality, interesting images, and a very useful tool for those interested in animation of any sort.

Still confused? It's ok we will be giving you more information soon. In the meantime take a look at this rough website design.