Thursday, December 30, 2010

Count Down to final moment of Donations

So the final count down has started and there are only a few hours left to donate your hard earned money to help in the production of  the Feature Length Documentary "In the Shadows of Light". You can make a donation at this link:
Production has been great! Though some interviews have had to been rescheduled due to the Holidays. But not a worry at all since shooting should conclude by the end of January. There's so much to do with the film and so much footage to review and edit. It's been great meeting people in the Stop Motion Community here in Los Angeles. Everyone has been really supportive and open. Recently I interviewed the makers of the short film "Nanuk" and their lead animators. They were super awesome and fun to hang with.

If you can make a small donation to the film that would be great and would help in the supplies cost for making this documentary about Stop Motion in Los Angeles.

All the Best
John Ikuma
Executive Editor
Stop Motion Magazine

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Harryhausen Issue Coming this Week!!!

The Picture above really tells the story of whats been going on. It's totally been a "Tortoise and the Hare" race around here. Some things are going very fast and others are taking a very longtime to finish. For one thing I am very greatful to Tony Dalton and Ray Harryhausen for helping out on the latest issue. Many many many hick-ups along the way have delayed the issue far beyond it's due date. But luckily we are close to completion. In fact the issue should be out this week!!!

On another note... The Documentary has been keeping myself very busy and filming is halfway done. If you'd like to help out with a donate then please do... It would make a great Christmas Gift for someone and would help to push the project along.

"So whats been going on really?" you ask.... Fo one thing there's been a ton of puppet making and animating thats been happening. Recently I was forced to make some Puppet Rigs for animating Walk Cycles using a Ball-N-Socket method. Fun but a ton of work. Also, we have a couple of videos in production for our YouTube Channel. One is a Sappy Robot Love Song and the other is a cute Munny Animation Song. Juggeling these with the normal everyday work is very dizzing. But it's all moving along.

And one last note.... Will Vinton interviewed with us for the up coming December Issue which will be out on Christmas. Will was awesome to speak with and we hope you enjoy that issue.

Stay Tuned this week for when we announce the release of the Harryhausen Issue

Keep Animating
John Ikuma
Executive Editor
Stop Motion Magazine

Friday, September 10, 2010

Funding a Documentary "In the Shadows of Light"

Time to make a Documentary about the Los Angeles Stop Motion Underground. This project has been in the works for a number of years and was first announce on the Stop Motion Animation website a few years back. What had transpired was a maze of life altering moments piled one after another and eventually led to the making of Stop Motion Magazine. Since then the project was put on hold and the focus was more on making animation (which should be the focus) and starting the magazine.

Whats lined up so far and the focus of the film is all based around the Stop Motion Community in Los Angeles. Don't worry all you people outside of L.A., you haven't been forgotten!!! So far I have Justin and Shel Rasch, Shelly Noble, and Tawd Dorenfeld scheduled for interviews. Also I've mentioned the project to the guys at Screen Novelties and Buddy Systems, along with a few other Stop Mo brother and sisters. So far its been well recieved and should be very enlightening.

We are searching for Angel Investors to help push the project along. This means I can probably make the documentary happen without investment but it will be a major challenge. The funding will go to DV tapes, Hard Drives for Storage and Backup, Travel Expencise like Gas and Parking, Camera operator for special shots, Puppet making supplies for those inbetween interview animation sequences, etc....

So if you want to help out then checkout our Indie-Go-Go widget on this blog and make a donation with some pocket change it you have it. We really would appreciate the help and you'll probably get a big thank you in the credits of the film.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Winners Announced for the 2010 Stop Motion Film Festival!!!

Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival 2010 Trophy
Stop Motion Magazine is proud to aanounce the winners of the 2010 Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival!!!

Here are the winners:

Best Puppets Award - In the Fall of Gravity (Directed by Ron Cole)

Best Story Award - Miracle Lady  (Directed by Michal Abulafia & Moran Somer)

Best Technical Achievement Award - Operation: Fish (Directed by Jeff Riley)

Editors Choice Award - Miracle Lady (Directed by Michal Abulafia & Moran Somer)

Grand Prize (Audience Pick for Best Film: the Purple Monkey Award) - Bygone Behemoth
(Directed by Harry Chaskin)

We want to congratulate the winners in the competition and congratulate and thank all the directors that took part in the film festival for such a great night.

Now for the Highlights:

So we started the night with a sold out and packed venue. This picture doesn't even give justice to how full the place was since after the picture was taken about 15 to 20 viewers showed up and sat on the floor and in the isles. It was so packed the I (John Ikuma) couldn't even watch the show and had to stand outside the door and turn away a lot of people since there was no more room. Next year we will have to have a bigger venue.

Here I am officially opening the film festival and starting the show.

Here you see all us stragglers at the very end of the night before the doors were closed. Whats great about this picture is all the talented animators and vfx artisits possing for the camera.... Sorry I didn't label the names but you should know that it was officially a great moment for our art form.

Here's myself with Lina Younes (Director of BlackOut) at the following days Stop-Mo BBQ.... She came all the way from Dubai just for the festival!!!

Here is Audrey Holland (Director of the Snow Princess) possing with here Snow Monkey Award. This is a special award given to only the directors that were in the festival who showed up to the BBQ!!! Lina I'll mail yours right away!!! Whats funny is the idea came from Audrey asking "Can I have a Blank Monkey" and someone yelled out "It's the Snow Monkey Award!!!".  Super cool... We'll be doing that every year since it took a couple of seconds to make infront of everyone. We had about 40 people at the BBQ but I was to busy talking about animation and cooking hotdogs that I only took a couple of shots from the night. Next year you directors better be there to get your "Snow Monkey Award!"

With that being said I have to get some much deserved rest. Don't worry I haven't forgotten about the Harryhausen Issue..... But I need some sleep for a couple of days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Official Entry Selections and Festival Event Announcement!!!

Here's what many of you have been waiting for, the official announcement of the Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival Selections!!!! YEAH!!!
For this year (2010) Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival the official selections for showing and competition are (in no specific order):

Black Out -by Lina Younes
The History of Man Part 2 & 3 - by Jeff Draheim
El Diablo - by Matt Ellsworth
How to Make a Baby - by Cassidy Curtis and Raquel Coelho
Make A Mate - by Jennifer Jordan Day
Operation: Fish - by Jeff Riley
The Epiplectic Bicycle - by Lauren Horoszewsky
Clay Lunch - by Egor Ivanov
To the Rescue - by Emma Coleman
Sunday - by Kris Daw
M.A.N.D.Y. vs BookaShade "Donut" - by Stephan Hambsch
What A Night -by Jesse Brunt
The Happiness Tree - by Mac McCord
Keeping the Heat  - by Al Oldfield
Further - by Ki Taube
Bygone Behemoth - by Harry Chaskin
In the Fall of Gravity - by Ron Cole
Super Battle - by Ethan Marack
Miracle Lady - by Michal Abulafin & Moran Somer
The Snow Princess - by Audrey Genevieve Holand

The Festival will be held August 28th at 7:30pm to 11pm at the Echo Park Film Center (

Admission is $5 and open to all ages. Space is very limited (Only 55 seats) and there is only 1 Showing.

We will be Streaming the Event Live for those of you around the world unable to attend. Please go to our Website in the Festival page we will have a player boradcating on that day. Check the World Time Clock for appropriate time in your region of the world. Festival is held in California (Standard Pacific) Time.

We hope all of you enjoy the event and hope to see you there.

All the Best
John Ikuma
Executive Editor
Stop Motion Magazine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

June 2010 Issue #6 Available Now!!!

The June 2010 Issue #6 is Now Available for download at!!! This issue is severally late but it is well worth checking out. Harry Walton is our cover story and his work spans across the spectrum of amazing animated films. 

The Ray Harryhausen issue will be available soon along with the Film Festival being held on August 28th at the Echo Park Film Center starting at 7:30pm.

Official Selections will be announced in a couple of days. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Japan Rocks!!!

This week has been completely amazing. Traveling all over Japan has given myself a completely new look on the world we all live in. For one thing you can only bow so much until your back starts to hurt and Ramen is the best food in the world when you can't get a greasy cheese burger.

But enough of my waxing nestalgic. Here's whats really been going on. Today I interviewed the heads of Dwarf studios. Their most famous character is Domo-Kun for whom you've probably seen in marketing campaigns in your region of the world. Mr. Goda and Mr. Minegishi are two very inspiring people who have earned my undieing respect as both people and creative geniousis.  In the above picture you'll see from left to right-myself (John Ikuma), Director and Head of Dwarf studios Mr. Goda, and famed stop motion animator Mr. Minegishi. Apparently Domo-Kun likes the sake I brought for the creators....

In the picture above you see myself and Master Ball-Joint-Doll artist Ryo Yoshida. The only way I think I can describe meeting Mr Yoshida is that it was like meeting Rembrandt. He is considered one of the most important people in the art form of Doll Making and one of 2 people in history to have developed and pioneered the Japanese style BJD. Such a profound moment in my life to have spent a couple of hours talking to him. I hope to meet him again some day in the future.

In the above picture you see myself and Ball-Joint-Doll Graphic artist NORI at the last day of his gallery show. Very cool to hang and talk about his methods of making his paintings and Photography. His art is both in computer graphics and photography in which he depicts dolls in different environments. Wicked Cool!!! Look him up.

And Finally the Neiko-Cafe!!!!
Yes there is a place in the world that is called the "CAT Cafe" and what do they have? CATS!!!! And what do you do with them? Play!!! Also you drink coffee and tea and read manga and watch anime. But who cares about that stuff when you can play with the CATS!!! SOOOOOOO CUTE!!!! I spent a half hour there and don't feel at all guilty about paying to play with these cute little fur balls. If only there was a Dolphin Cafe.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Even More Lost In Japan

It's very possible that I have no idea where I am and what I'm doing here. But I'm sure having fun! The other day I was very lost for 3 hours. This time it wasn't on the train but on foot. I was looking for Creative Studios where Village of Malhem Studios is located and can you believe I passed it 6 times in one hour and never found it!!! Hahaha.... Seems when I was taken to the studio the first time we went the back way. Thus my confusion and the total craziness of being lost for 3 hours. Thank god I remembered the business card in my wallet and how to ask for directions in Japanese.
One of the greatest things about Japan is the food. But it seems I've been eating a lot of Giant Scallops lately and can only guess at how expensive these things are in the U.S.... We eat 2 cases of these and half a case of sea snails at a friends BBQ in Innoshima. Then theres all the Beer and Fireworks!!! Whats even funnier is that this was all on the 4th of July. Apparently they have a Shinto Festival on the same weekend.
Here's a picture of the shrine and the some of the crew carring it up a steep hill. My shoulder was so bruised from walking the shrine from house to house. But each house had beer and treats. It was basically like Holloween where you go house to house scarring the bad spirits and in exchange the people at the house give you treats. But in this case it also comes with the drunken climb up the hill with 70 other people.
And finally the "Asse the Sale" sign, which actually reads "Ace the Sale". But I couldn't resist the American prenunciation of the sign. God only knows what they are really selling.

Long story short I have been totally dragged around Japan and finally I'm settled after 2 weeks of travel in Tojo Japan which is located in the mountains away from all the big cities. Also I should mention that it's raining so much I haven't seen the sun in 2 weeks. But honesty I don't mind since I see it ever day in Los Angeles. I'll be taking the next 2 weeks to write two Issues of Stop Motion Magazine and to also get the Documentary script written. The Doc will most likely be shot in September and has been on my plate for years. Hopefully now I can finish it before January 2011. 

Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting Lost In Japan

So the magazine is a month behind and I'm relaxing playing in Japan. Guilty as charged. Actually I'm out here on assignment for the magazine and doing a tone of work. But the upside is I get to eat all the Ramien and Pork and drink all the Sake I want.

I can tell you though that I have gotten severally lost in Japan and one night I was lost for two hours on the train and luckily caught the last train to my station. Not just that but I also only speak a little bit of the language and often found my head spinning when someone would answer me in anything other then Yes or No. Hahaha... I'm starting to get the hang of it though.

One of the great things about Japan is reguardless of the rushed pace of Tokyo everyone likes to relax and get some R&R. This is most obvious when seeing the business men passing out on the train after a long day of work. I thought I'd join in the experience....

I was very lucky on this trip to make some great friends on my first studio stop in Tokyo. In the picture you see in the front Atsuko Miyake (Compositor), in the middle myself (John Ikuma), and in the back Keita Funamoto (Village of Marhem: Studio Owner and Animator). It's amazing how many places Keita took me in two days. Lets just say that my legs are tired and all I want to do for the next couple of days is write. But what an awesome crew of people he's working with.
In this picture you see: (upper left/Tetsu Kawamura: Famous Armature Maker and owner of the Arm Benders brand of Armatures), (upper right/Jenya: Anime Voice actress- Her first big break was in Evangelian the Movie!!! Wow!!!), (bottom left/Atsuko Miyake-Compositor and Animator),(Middle/Myself),(bottom right/Keita Funamoto-studio owner, animator, and new best friend).
Here's Keita Funamoto autographing his Stop Motion Training book.
And just to get your juices flowing for the next issue of the magazine I thought I'd post a picture of one of Keita's wifes dolls which are made at the studio. They are trying to pioneer a new method of puppet making using Japanese Ball-Joint-Dolls. Pretty amazing!!!

So I will be heading to Dwarf Studio's on the 20th of July, and then I believe there are three other locations I will be visiting. Also, I will most likely be interviewing a few well known and famous animators for whom you've most likely watched their work but never knew their name.

O'Boy!!! I got to go I think it's lunch time!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

BAd NEws..... June Issue Massive Delays....Boooooo

So I have some really bad news for everyone. The June Issue of Stop Motion Magazine will be delayed until August due to waiting on Photo Clearance and a number of other issues related to publishing. It's a very difficult situation since we were planning on releasing the "Ray Harryhausen Birthday Issue" and since Uncle Ray is such a major icon we are faced with a daunting task of putting this issue together properly. I was hoping to get a backup idea published in time but it seems like this won't be possible as well. BOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo........................ Believe me I'm majorly bummed. But I would rather have Ray Harryhausen represented in a proper light instead of throwing an issue together just for the sake of meeting a deadline. With this said I hope you all can wait until the August for the Double Issue Release!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival Location

WooHooo!!! The Film Festival is location locked and ready. After looking around the Los Angeles area for many months we have finally picked the location and time for our 1st Annual Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival. This years event will be held at The Echo Park Film Center ( on August 28th at 7pm until 11pm.

The Echo Park Film Center was chosen for the fact that it is an organization dedicated to spreading the knowledge and love of filmmaking. They teach subjects like documentary filmmaking, editing, and even a little stop motion. I personally visited the fascility for the GI Joe film festival that the magazine sponsored and think its a very charming location. Since this is our first year I felt it necessary to keep the location small and with 55 seats and a little standing room this may prove to be a packed house situation. Admission will be $5 per person and kids are definitely welcome to attend. You can check the location out and the organization at

See You There!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Tutorials on the Way

Uploading the remaining Foam Latex Puppet Making tutorials to the YouTube channel today. They should all be up by tomorrow morning and we will be taking a break from tutorial videos until September 2010. Mainly because there's 3 Magazine Issues in the works currently, a Film Festival in August, and a ton of StopMo videos being developed and worked on.

Heres the next tutorial in the series. The others will be up by tomorrow.

As for Film Festivals, it seems that the Ray Harryhausen Stop Motion Film Festival is creating some confusion with the Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival. As for right now the magazine is involved with the Tribute but will most likely need to step away from that event and remove sponsorship since in the opinion of the Editor-In-Chief that the Tribute is not being handled properly and is completely confusing to applicants of the Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival. I am greatly saddend by the fact that we won't be involved but this is necessary since we love and respect Ray Harryhausen and his work and want him to only be represented in the best light and feel there is a conflict of interest between the magazine and the festivals organizers. We hope the individuals running the Tribute the best on their success and wish them well.


Anyway, stay tuned and well have a lot more to share in the coming days of all the craziness going on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Puppet Making Tutorials On YouTube

Finally we have some new videos up on our YouTube Channel. These videos are puppet making instructional videos that will walk you step by step through the process of making a foam latex puppet.

The First Video is how to make an armature for sculpting on.

The Second Video is a walkk thru of the sculpting techniques used to get a cartoon type character sculp for your puppet. This is a good watch if you've always wondered how to get your puppet super smooth.

Move videos are on there way. The Clay Hot Box video will be up today or tomorrow and the molding and casting videos will be up sometime this week. Also our first video for the Zorg Vlog might be up at the end of this week as well. Stay Tuned!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Stop Motion Magazine April 2010 Issue #5 is available for download!!!

Stop Motion Magazine April 2010 Issue #5 is now available for free download at This has been a great issue to release and we'd like to thank Screen Novelties, and Mark Sullivan for being a part of it. You can also find the Vertical Shooter tutorial in the back of the issue.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Test Pattern

Still going strong on the April 2010 Issue. There were a couple of hick-ups in columns and articles today. We decided after much conversation to not publish the article about the Dingus. After reviewing the full interview with Kelly Mazurowski it became apparent that some trade secrets about the device were talked about and revealed. So we have to put a hold on the interview and article out of respect for Kelly. He does promise though that when he is ready we will be the first to let the world know.

April 2010 Issue 5 will be delayed by a couple of days.

John Ikuma
Executive Editor
Stop Motion Magazine

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vertical Shooter and Stop Motion Pro 7 Test Drive

So we finally got everything rockin and rollin on the vertical shooter set up. Here you see the Canon Rebel XS attached to the shooter. The camera is attached to a Mac Intel Quad Core Xeon computer running Windows XP. I had to do a product review for the April Issue of the magazine and this was the perfect setup to run it with. I chose to do a quick animation of a paper cutout Gopher that took about 5 minutes to make and the animation took about 30minutes to do. Over all I love SMP7 for it's simplicity and ease of use. Plus all the features on that software are very useful and I almost made it through all of them. The quick video clip is below.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PacMan Dingus and how to make a Vertical Shooter

Ok, the title of this posting doesn't sound all that whole-sum. But the fact is that this little controller that you see above the text is probably the coolest (toy) addition to the stop motion world. It's a work of genius created by Kelly Mazurowski that acts as a software based frame grabber control surface!!! What?!?!?! Yep that's right it's a very retro-styled device used to control your favorite frame grabber like Stop Motion Pro, Dragon, or any other frame grabber out there. We have the whole interview about the device an Kelly's plans to release them in the April Issue of Stop Motion Magazine that's scheduled to be released next Wednesday Night.

There's been a ton of delays with releasing this upcoming issue. For instance I (John Ikuma) had Jury duty for 2 weeks!!! Yep I got picked to serve my country and you know what I'm glad because the guy was found innocent. Another set back was the decision to build the vertical shooter for the tutorial section of the magazine which is pictured below. 

This was mainly do to the fact that I had more fun building this then actually doing anything else. It was an awesome build and took three evenings since I was elsewhere during the day. So you'll find all the instructions for the build in the April Issue of Stop Motion Magazine. I should mention that it's a 2 part tutorial and that the platters that go into the shelve slots are going to be in the June issue.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it because this issue was a lot of fun to make.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Interviewed Screen Novelties Today

We sat down today with the boys of Screen Novelties for the upcoming featured article in this months issue of the magazine. Chris, Seamas, and Mark shared their world and their studio with us. If your unfamiliar with who these guys are then you've been missing out. But don't worry you'll become instant fans once you see some of their work . They've done both commercial and television work and are currently working on developing a feature film. If you ever wondered who did the stop mo for the Sponge Bob Square Pants series and Movie along with the television show Chowder these are the guys. Checkout their Mysterious Mose music video that's embedded below.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our VFX advertisement is up on You Tube

The Visual FX advertisement for the Battle Pack is up on You Tube. This is the first in a line of promotional videos for the magazine. The purpose of all this marketing and promotion of the free visual fx and the magazine is to promote this wonderful art form (Stop Motion) and bring new interest to it. Plus the effects greatly help those that don't have the means or the capabilities to make such effects.

So now you can see the Executive Editor in true puppet stop mo action!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Behind the Scenes of Geralds Last Day

I first met Justin and Shel Rasch at the 2007 ASIFA StopMo event and right away I could tell that they had something magical about them. After talking to them for about 30 minutes I decided to ask them if they'd be interested in being filmed for a Documentary I was working on about Stop Motion Animators which is called "In the Shadows of Light". Recently I decided to take a new approach to the documentary and the follow up docs. So this left a void as to what to do with the footage I shot of Justin and Shel in 2008. So with some quick editing and a click or two of the mouse I am happy to let the world see the interview from 2008 where Justin and Shel take me behind the scenes of their award winning Stop Motion Film "Geralds Last Day".

It has been a huge success in the festival circuit and Justin and Shel are now moved on to a new project. As for the Documentary I was working on. Well it's still a go.... but since the approach is different it will be a lot easier and faster to make. Also be a lot more informative.

Anyway, here's Part 1 and 2 of the Geralds Last Day - Behind the Scenes:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Executive Editor in Puppet Form, VFX Packs, and New Interns Paint a Stage

So after a long wait, I'm finally in puppet form. This new puppet version of myself (John Ikuma) is a foam latex puppet with wire armature and a plastic cast head. The puppet is going to be used to make a number of promotional videos for the magazine.

The first promo spot will be to advertise the new VFX Packs that are free to everyone. The first release is the "Battle Pack" which contains HD 720p 30fps clips with alpha channels. In this pack there are Muzzle Flashes, Explosion, and Fire with Smoke. You can download them for free at and use them in anything you like without worrying about royalties.

 In other news.... Apparently the family wanted to get in on the act with painting the Zorg Vlog Stage. I can tell you that these two monster (My Daughters) are obsessed with Stop Motion and all they ever ask is "When are you going to build our stage?". So I nominated them official interns for the day and let them loose. The oldest one is already writing her first script!!! I guess the apple doesn't fall far.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Monster is Alive!!!

Finally after many many weeks of design and work the monster is finally done. The creature is going to be used in the short film "The Earth Died Screaming" which is a working title I believe and not final. The Short film is directed by Anthony Flores and should be sent to festivals starting this summer.

 The Monster is made from Foam Latex with a wire armature inside. He's airbrushed with PAX Paint and has Fimo claws and teeth. Good fun old school monster making.

 Animation starts today and it involves compositing the creature into some live action footage. There's about 5 or 6 shoots and the Camera Operator went crazy with movement when shooting the live elements. So it's going to be a hard bumpy road to get the creature to match. Luckily I forced them to shoot with a monster stand in who is wearing a pink full body suit that's very similar to a spiderman outfit. This should make it possible to align the monster and the footage.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sculpting a Monster

This sculpture has been a long time coming. I originally took this project on back in October to animate a monster for a short film. The basis of the film is that a group of 20 somethings go camping and get picked off by some creature from with in the woods. 

The pictures don't really show the detail since the clay is dark. There's a lot more detail that needs to be added in paint along with claws and teeth. Today I begin the mold making process and tomorrow should be ready for foam latex baking. There's a lot to do still and should hopefully have the production done by Sunday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

G.I. Joe Festival and the bloodiest StopMo in the World!

Yesterday I attended the GI Joe Festival in Echo Park. The event had many sponsors with the magazine being one of them. What I wasn't aware of and I'm sure many others that attended the festival were unprepared for was the total carnage, blood, and guts marathon that ensued. Originally I thought the festival would have a standard for over the top violence and assault. But after attending the festival I see that I was completely wrong. There were short films that completely would not have been allowed to be broadcast or shown without an NC17 rating even though they were cartoons. 

So with that I've requested from the festival director to place a warning on the advertisement of the festival. Especially since I had brought 3 kids under the age of 10 and saw many other children attend the festival as well. I'm sorry to say that since this wasn't advertised properly I am completely disappointed in the promotion of such an event and may pull the ads from the magazine if they aren't adjusted.

The truth is that this event could be very popular if it's advertisments are catered to the extreme gore audience or vise versa with it being catered to the kid factor. I definitely have a higher standard set for the Magazines Stop Motion Film Festival scheduled for August in Los Angeles and any animation that cannot be shown to children because of gore, violence, of sex will be rejected. Foul language would have to be under a review before a decision is made. 

Other then that I thought the Festival was fun with the music videos and some of the clips but the three episode "Evil Race" could have been completely taken out of the festival. 80 minutes with about 30minutes of Stop Motion without violence.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Total Puppet Failure!!!!

Yes it happens even to the best of us. That single moment of joy when pulling open a mold and it's instantly turned to terror and pain. Yep, you got it..... Total Puppet Failure!!!

To be honest this was the first time I had ever attempted a silicone casting in a gypsum mold. I've done silicone with in silicone molds. But I wanted to puppet blank cast in silicone for future molding purposes. So I like a complete idiot poured my first batch of DragonSkin into the mold, open the mold and found bubbles. Then I poured another one. But this time I completely failed and destroyed the UltraCal 30 mold. Let me tell you that sometimes professional advice is sometimes poor advice. I had gone the route of listening to an experienced puppet maker. Obviously they weren't experienced in DragonSkin Medium 10.

First off, Silicone Does Not Stick to Silicone once fully cures. I've often heard this from everyone but I have proof sitting in the workshop right now!!! I've also noticed this using GI-1000 that over spill in a mold will often not stick. The Dragon Skins first layer that was poured into the mold and left to cure completely does not stick to the second pour. Wow!!! glad I learned that one.

Second, Mold release in a spray can sucks on UltraCal30. Once again I've used this stuff on silicone molds but it's completely useless in the gypsum mold. The Silicone was fully cured for 6 hours and basically glues the mold together!!! Nooooooooooo.................

Third, My new mold making technique rocks. But using screwdrivers, pri-bars, and metal of any kind has once again proven to be a dumb idea. Chipping, cracking, and braking your mold that you've spent 12 hours making is so sad. I would post a picture of the mold and I could glue the cracks shut. But it's just not worth it. Thank god I love to sculpt and mold.

So, Zorg is temporarily destroyed.... Which is actually a good thing cause I was beginning to think he was too big. I mean 12inches tall is great for a GI Joe action figure. But not for the Zorg Character. The good news is also that I can recycle the silicone in future mold making. WooHoo.... Recycle.....

Now I'm off to make a monster which should take one day to sculpt, one day to mold, and one day to cast. That is if I can fit that into the other crazy stuff going on....... WoooHooo Sculpting!!!!!

Stop Motion Magic's Live Chat Interview John Ikuma

So yesterday I had the privilage of being interview by Marc Spess on Stop Motion Magics Live Chat. What was supposed to be an interview about the magazine ended up being a blabber fest from myself talking about my career, special techniques for compositing, and overall blah blah blah...... LOL...... But it definitely made for a fun interview and a great time. I believe its only up for about a week. You can check it out at:

-John Ikuma

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Issue #4 of Stop Motion Magazine - Now Available

Stop Motion Magazine Issue #4 is now available for free download at
This issue is a special tribute to Gumby and his creator Art Clokey. So many people provided interviews for this issue and we would like to thank all of them for contributing.
So don't wait, Download the issue and have fun reading.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Alien Blog - The Zorg Blog!!! First stages of Build

As we mentioned in a prior post we've been scheduling a build for an upcoming Video Blog with a Stop Motion Puppet as the host. The "Zed Vlog" was actually the wrong name, ooops! The real name of the Video Blog is the "Zorg Vlog". The puppet will be a Foam latex puppet with an Aluminum Wire Armature with replacement heads. The body will be painted with PAX paint and the heads will be painted with Acrylics.

Here's the Body Sculpted Maquette:

Also, he will have his own dedicated animation stage which will stay standard for the Video Blog. This will greatly reduce the amount of time for animation in the hopes of turning out many videos fast.

Here's the Table:


Got to get back to the Magazine it's self for the February Release. Stay Tuned!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rained Out in Los Angeles

If you haven't heard it's been raining buckets and buckets here in Los Angeles California. This definitely puts a damper on any build that is in progress. But the upside is we can hopefully finish the magazine early. Our release date for the issue is set for February 10th 2010.

Also, we have recently been testing out a free download section for giving the community some extra tools for making Stop Motion Animation. Currently we have a Beta file in this section which has some muzzle flashes and some backdrops for compositing into your shots. We hope in the future to upload some puppet templates, a free library of professionally made sound effects, and some explosions for comping into production shots, all completely FREE!!!

Check out whats currently available at our website:

The interviews for the Gumby issue have been going very well. We want to send out a big thanks to everyone we've interviewed and will be interviewing.

So for now I'm personally going to stay dry and out of the rain and the cold and keep the production flowing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fun with Plastic!!!

Super Mega Busy here at the Studio and we've been making all sorts of crazy chaos. One of the things that we've been working on heavily is a series of free how-to videos for the Stop Mo beginner and intermediate builder/animator. One of the reasons for this is that there just is this massive void that separates a beginner builder from an expert. Unless you know someone or interned for a studio, you just end up missing a lot of this information. Hopefully we can bridge the expanse and get more people animating. It would be a shame if the next Leonardo Da Vinci never had a chance to try their hands at Stop Mo.

So here's a video of how to cast plastic puppet heads and custom toys:

We Also had our friend Steve Weintz from Famous Monsters Magazine stop by and pour some plastic "Zombie Dad" puppet heads. We filmed him working and posted it up on YouTube for all to see.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chairs At Play

Chairs at Play was the result of a morning after a recent rain and the overwhelming drive to animate something. It took 5 hours and was a lot of fun. Check it out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gumby Issue of Stop Motion Magazine

If you haven't heard already, the Great Iconic Father of Clay Animation Art Clokey passed away this month. We were very sad to hear this news and we offer our deepest condolences to the Clokey family. Art was more then just a man he was the father of a character that has brought joy and happiness to so many.

We have been planning the February Issue of SMM for sometime now. Infact far before the first issue was released. It's a bazaar irony that the issue is being released right after his passing. Many well known animators have stepped forward to contribute interviews and content in tribute to Art and his legendary character Gumby and we hope that this will make for a wonderful tribute to the man we call the "Father of Clay Animation".

On an the upside, we just made a large Van Aken clay purchase for the children's book we have been planning for release in Summer 2010. We don't want to spoil the surprise. But I can say it will be very fun and full of clay.

Also, Victor Akuna (One of our Puppet builders/Animators) came by this week and poured a ton of plastic puppet heads for the "Zombie Dad" web series we are making. They came out great and we will be posting a tutorial on making them on our YouTube Channel soon.
We also have just finished a timelapse of the Female Puppet mold making process that we will be casting latex bodies for the series as well. Here it is!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stop Motion Film Festival - Los Angeles

We'll, it's official!!! Announcing as of today that Stop Motion Magazine is holding it's first annual Stop Motion Film Festival in Los Angeles. The festival will run sometime in August 2010 and will feature only stop motion related short films (Puppets, Clay, Cutout, Pixilation, Legomation, Dinomation, Sand, etc). There will be prizes and awards along with the Grand Prize of the "Purple Monkey" Trophy. Which will be given to the winner of "Best Film" and picked by the audience. Judges will be kept secret for now but a few of the Stop Motion Professional Animators are already on board for the judging panel.

So do you want to enter??? We'll it's easy. Go to our "Festival" page on and download the entry form, fill it out and send it to us with your DVD or BlueRay Disc, along with the entry fee. There will be a selection process by a group (Not me) who will pick the official entries. Those that are selected will go on to be shown at the festival and will be eligible for the trophy's and prizes. Those not selected (we're sorry).... But you can always submit again with a newer version or a different film.

Location and Official Festival Date will be announced in July. And the deadline for entering the festival is June 15th 2010. So what are you waiting for? Start Animating!!!