Beneath the Moon

Chansocphentra Salcido (2023)

Beneath the Moon is an ongoing series of explorations in stop-motion fabrication and animation that explores the use of emerging technologies, such as 3D printing, laser-cutting and depth-aware video frame interpolation models, alongside traditional stop motion techniques and processes. As a team, we were interested in the following: depicting movement through dance and pattern, fantasy-based worldbuilding, and exploring themes of childhood and nature. Throughout the project, we explored the stop motion animation pipeline from pre-production to the creation of articulated puppets and sets, inspired by Northern European folklore and dance. This project also served as a precursor to the course 60-424 Stop-Motion.

The story follows the children of a small town somewhere deep in the woods and the mythical spirits that reside in the surrounding forest. One night, the children of the town are lured out to the depths of the forest by a magical presence. Escaping from the world of grown ups and their rules, they are able to encounter magical creatures and participate in fantastical revelry.

For the creation of the puppets and sets we used a variety of fabrication techniques. 3D-Printing was used to create interchangeable facial expressions, as well as detailing characters, including hands and masks, which were digitally sculpted via Autodesk Maya. Wire and liquid silicone were used to create the bodies. Hair and all other costuming were created using found materials and fabrics. The sets were created with found materials, including MDF foam, laser-cut plywood, and plaster. Depth-aware video frame interpolation (DAIN) was used to explore ways to expedite the frame-by-frame animation process, as well as to explore the use of distortion for visual effects.

This project was made possible by the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund Microgrant #2022-053.