Animating the Mermaid and the Sea

I’ve nearly finished the mermaid dream sequence. The green screen elements are all assembled in Adobe After Effects and I am at the stage of endless tinkering. Getting the subtle glow of sunrise and the perfect tilt of the stars takes time.

Mermaid looking into her mirror with green screen.

The mermaid looking into her mirror with green screen in the background. Once I had finished sculpting the foam rock, I painted it with acrylic paint and attached it to the set with long drywall screws. The mermaid has two strong magnets in her posterior that match up with two washers screwed into her seat on the rock.

Before finally getting this shot to work, I had a very bad first try. The hair gel I purchased from the Dollar Tree smelled really terrible. I poured eight bottles of the stuff over the black plastic covering the animation table and was very quickly overwhelmed with its strong odor. To make matters worse, I hadn’t thought about how to make the sea foam in advance and got the “bright” idea to use baking soda. It looked fine until it started to turn the gel into liquid. After shooting only 10 frames I started to feel very bad and had to open some windows and get out of the basement. Once refreshed, I cleaned up the nasty hair gel mess and went online to order a gallon of fragrance free gel from Bulk Apothecary. It was worth the wait. The new gel worked wonderfully and had no smell. Plus I came up with a great idea for the sea foam. Toilet tissue! It’s sculptable once saturated with gel and not chemically reactive.

Messy mermaid set. Hair Gel is spilling off of the table and bits of toilet tissue are spread all over.

Messy mermaid set. Hair Gel is spilling off of the table and bits of toilet tissue are spread all over. I’m using the red spatula to move the gel and the small pallet knife to sculpt the saturated toilet tissue.

To watch a 4 second clip on Vimeo, click this picture:

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 8.23.34 PM

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One thought on “Animating the Mermaid and the Sea

  1. Benjamin Capps April 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm Reply

    This looks fantastic! I was curious about your tools for manipulating the waves, but now see the spatula and palate knife in the photo. I look forward to more!

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