Cool Banana

Lebombo! This dancing banana stop motion short was made for Episode 19 of Animation Wild Card. They feature animation shorts from new artists in each of episodes. The optional theme for this episode was “Break”, so I went with “Break dancing”!

Making a banana dance!

This animation took about 12 days to make. 6 days for preparation (planning, making disco lights, making the characters, setting up and doing some testing), 3 days to animate, 3 days to mask out the rig and add music. It is animated at 15 frames per second.

I chose to animate a banana because it is very recognisable, and has a great shape with natural peel arms. His arms are also flexible so they could do challenging breakdance moves. And breakdancing is cool.

The banana body is made with wire, plastic mesh, foil, and quickset putty and then covered with modelling clay. In this animation, I tested out using a nut and bolt system to attach the banana puppet to the rig. I added a nut into the hard putty core on each side and then attached a bolt to the rig with wire and hot glue. It worked okay, but sometimes it would loosen when the banana was doing all his rotating dance moves.

The crowd are all real fruit with modelling clay eyes and mouth, as well as one imposter kitchen timer trying to blend in. I used fruit and veg that are less affected by temperature. This animation took a lot longer because of the crowd. I wanted them to look alive but not be a distraction. I had to move each fruit every 2 or 3 frames, so that they looked alive. I also had to take many double shots (with banana and without banana) for masking afterwards, so that the crowd behind the rig could move every few frames.

The lights are single LED bulbs, covered with black cardboard and frosted plastic. I connected 4 coloured LED bulbs to 9V battery. This is not a good long term plan because they dim slowly as the battery depletes, but I thought it would make slight sparkling light for a disco effect. I rotated three 9V batteries every few hours so it wasn’t too distracting. 

If you enjoyed this claymation, then check out this colourful animation promo that I made for M.A Welti to promote her new children’s book