I have had the pleasure this past week to return to Aardman Animations for animation testing, wherein I was able to produce some short animations with an existing Aardman puppet (one of the scientists from 'The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!')! Following some very helpful advice, feedback and constructive criticism, I produced this short animation focusing on character performance over a 3 day period:
What a difference it makes to animate with a professional puppet! The puppet functioned exactly as you would expect, with finely tuned joints and an excellent facial structure for creating characterful expressions- making the animating process far more natural, intuitive, and most importantly fun! It was liberating to be able to animate without the restrictions that arise from the confines of student projects and budgets.
All in all, I feel this is my best stop-motion character animation to date! The experience was incredibly valuable, and even over the course of just a few days, I definitely feel my animation has improved markedly.