We came across Dina’s work on Instagram at the beginning of this year and we had to reach out to find out more! We know artists who have made amazing stop-motion short clips with the 3Doodler, but Dina is the first we’ve come across who is bold enough to make an entire short film with this technique! And, it is looking absolutely stunning.
3Doodler: Dina, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We’d love to get to know you better. Could you tell us a bit about your background?
Dina: Hello, my name is Dina Velikovskaya and I am an animation director. I was born in Russia in a small town near Moscow and I graduated from the University of Cinematography in 2011.
Upon graduation, I was very lucky that my first film did well in a festival, which helped my work gain some recognition. Since then, my films have been screened at Film festivals around the world, and have won many awards. This year I was super happy to be invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures.
Wow, congratulations! That must have been really exciting for you. So do you only make stop-motion animation?
Dina: I was always interested in experimenting with different animation techniques. During my studies, I mixed video and animation, paper cutouts, stop-motion animation and puppet animation.
Could you tell us more about ‘Ties’? What inspired the story?
Dina: I moved to Berlin recently, which inspired me to create my new film, ‘Ties’. The story is about moving away from your parents’ home. Since I moved to Germany, I have become very concerned about my parents. Me leaving was a big change for them. I imagine that there is a connection between a child and her parents. This connection can be ‘broken’ once it’s stretched out over many kilometers.
My main character is a young woman, who walks away from her parents’ house. Once she sits down in a car and drives away, the catastrophe unfolds in the house. A tree, a phone, and many more objects disappear, until finally, even the parents are in danger of disappearing.
I’m sure many people can relate to that story, especially at an emotional level. We can’t wait to see the final creation! How has the 3Doodler been adding value to your creation process?
Dina: Thank you! I can’t wait to finish it too, haha. What I like the most about this film is the possibility to experiment with a new technique for animation. I love that I can use the 3Doodler to combine the freedom of drawing with the physical 3D models that you need for stop-motion animation. Drawings that cast shadows and are in a real physical space create a very unusual effect that’s quite new in the stop-motion world.
We agree! You get the best of both worlds with this technique. And we love your drawing style! It works really well with the “strands” effect that you can get with drawing with the 3Doodler. Actually, how did you get the idea to use a 3D pen in your work?
Dina: Initially I wanted to do an unusual hand-drawn film, then my husband, who is a director as well, and co-producer of ‘Ties’, had the idea that the story might be better told if the characters and objects were made out of wire, which “disappear” frame by frame.
He suggested trying a new technology to draw each frame. “How about a 3D pen?” he said. I turned that idea down immediately. I’m not that crazy! Many questions popped into my head. How would I draw animation with a 3D pen when I’ve not used one before? How would I draw each frame so it does not look too different from the last? How would I fix frames in the same position?
But you know what? The idea stayed in the back of my mind. And I started to think about how to solve those problems. Not long after, I found myself making ‘Ties’ with the 3Doodler and some wires.
I’m not a film expert but your creation certainly caught my attention – I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up going viral! As you know there are a number of 3D pens in the market. Could you tell us why you chose the 3Doodler?
Dina: Sure. So after I decided to make ‘Ties’ with a 3D pen, my husband and I did some research and read many articles that compared 3D pens. As we understood, they are all different, and the decision was a hard one. The main factor that made us choose the 3Doodler was that you are the original creators of the first 3D pen. We had a feeling that it must be good, and we were glad to support the original.
Thanks for choosing to use our product. We are very proud knowing that professional artists like yourself use the 3Doodler as the tool behind such amazing work. How’s your experience so far? And how’s using the 3Doodler pen in animating compared to other tools you’ve used in the past?
Dina: What I like about the 3Doodler is that it’s very easy to work with. There is only one button, and I don’t have to fiddle around with speed and temperature settings. The pen is very comfortable to hold, and it doesn’t matter if you’re left or right handed (I’m a left hander so I appreciate this a lot). I animate with 12 frames in a second, so my film is 7 minutes long which sums up to 5040 frames in total. This means that comfort and pen ergonomics are extremely important to me because I have to work many hours in a row as an animator.
Compared to other tools, I like that the 3Doodler is left hand friendly. Also, I like that I can open the maintenance cover to clean the inside of the pen if necessary. One more thing – I’ve found that the 3Doodler filament runs thicker than other 3D pens I’ve tried, which makes it easier to draw in the air.
5,040 frames!? That sounds crazy! What’s your creation process like?
Dina: It’s fun to make 3D art or draw a 3D object, but creating an animation with a 3D pen is a lot more complicated…and very, very challenging.
First, the animation is drawn digitally on my computer. Once I’m happy with it, I will cover the computer screen with glass, fix a sheet of transparent paper to the glass, then outline with the 3Doodler. After I’ve outlined a sequence of drawings, I pin each of them onto a foam surface to take a photo of each frame. I also draw the setting with a 3D pen, like a tiny kitchen and all the objects inside it.
That sounds intense. It really requires a lot of hard work and dedication… We know you’re still working on the film. Where do you hope to take it once it’s done?
Dina: I hope to be done with shooting toward the end of the year, and aim for a premiere in the spring of 2019. I will probably enter about 200-300 festivals, covering the big ones but also smaller events. I am hopeful that the combination of a personal story with a unique animation technique will help the film get featured in film festivals, and maybe even garner some attention on the Internet too!
We wish you all the success, Dina. We hope to talk to you again when you’ve completed your film!