Character and pop-up book design and production

Production is well underway for the animation. Whilst some aspects are going well, others need further work. I’ve previously tested a small-scale projection mapped pop-up, so after completion of the script and storyboarding, I’ve been working on creating the backgrounds (pop-up book) and character designs for the final projection.

It’s been a long time since I’ve created anything like this before and it’s taken a lot longer than I thought to complete the physical book and characters. I read a few different books on the topic; namely Pop-up: Design and paper mechanics by Duncan Birmingham, Karakuri by Keisuke Saka and We are paper toys! by Louis Bou. All excellent books on the art form. These books were all sources of reference and inspiration when it came to design the actual folding mechanics. A surprisingly difficult process. Through research and trial and error the final designs are now complete.

Rough background mechanism designs

Rough background mechanism designs

I gathered all the tools I needed: a scalpel, decent metal ruler, PVA glue, a sharp pencil and card and got to work on the designs. Each of the backgrounds were designed from scratch with the storyboard in mind. Due to the mechanics and mechanisms of each, I had to design and plan each one in advance of making. All designs were designed and made by hand.

Rabbit Hutch Design

Rabbit hutch pop-up design

In total I have created:

  • 8x pop-up pages
  • Schrödinger (Large)
  • Schrödinger (Small)
  • Dog (Large)
  • Dog (Small)
  • Fred
  • Rabbit x3
  • Car
  • Lawnmower (Large)
  • Lawnmower (Small)

Each has taken a minimum of 1/2 hour to design and build some like the rabbit hutch up to 2 hours! Hopefully it will be worth it with the final results. Below are some images of the work in progress.

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So far this has been a huge learning curve, and I haven’t even started to properly film yet. I did not realise how complex the art of pop-up design was!

I started some test projections and got some initially okay results. I aim to shoot the project with a DSLR with Macro lens, but whilst waiting to access the equipment early next week, I shot some initial footage with my iPhone. The animation was looking pretty good to the eye, but poor on camera with the image flickering. Hopefully a better quality camera with more control will help mitigate this problem when I shoot some of the footage properly next week and put the final piece together.

Early still

Early still from filming – shot on iPhone

In the meantime I have a few other things to think about, such as how to present the physical book. The soundtrack also needs producing. Lots to do!

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