Monday, 10 June 2013

Final character animation

So here is the final animation with Rob. It took around four weeks to completely produce and edit. The brief consisted of producing a walk cycle, trait, lip sync and final performance with the characters we had constructed.

My walk cycle took around eight attempts to make as the first six, he kept falling over but I soldiered on and finally perfected it on the eighth take. 

The trait was probably the funnest to animate as I wanted to give it a comical look about it to show people that although Rob is a menacing character to look at, he is really just a thickle and weak man. 

The final performance took a whole week to animate. I would've liked the quality to have been much better but at least people can see what he looks like and what he is doing so that is fine to me over all.

I would just like to thank Harry Neal for lending his excellent voicing talent to this character. 

Presenting Lock Stock Rob

Well after all that hard work, here's the final result. I must say I'm pleased with the final result over all.
Although I'm glad that he looks alright, there were a few issues with the puppet construction. The first one I discovered was that the coat tail wire was too loose so i couldn't animate them as much as I had hoped.
Another issue was the gun wasn't stable enough so every time I tried animating the puppet, because of the hunched body he would just fall flat on his face. Eventually I had to drill through the gun to allow room for a much bigger bolt to be attached so that the gun would never tip over.

On the plus side though his legs, hands and arms were very pliable and his face very expressive. I used skin coloured plasticine for eyelids and along with the mouth pieces he looks rather pleasant if I say so myself.

Time to accessorise

 Nearly there now!!! The last few steps involved making the hat, neckerchief and belt. unfortunately i forgot to take photos of the hat being constructed so I'll simply say it was made from a combination of foam, wire mesh to allow movement and then a few layers of latex to give it a leathery look to it.

The neckerchief however I did photograph and as you can see here it is a small square of fabric. I used a ball of mulliput to make it look like it was tied up at the back... Moving on.

With the belt I found this ammo belt which I sto... I mean borrowed from my brothers action man set.

I quickly painted it to make them look a bit more detailed before adding a small buckle simply made from a square of painted bolster wood so that it would help hide the gap between the waistcoat and trousers.


Probably the longest part of the process as it took around two-three days just to get the clothes marked out, sown up and attached to the puppets body. To figure out how to do this I started by covering the puppet in cling film and masking tape. Once this was cut away from the puppet I then had a cocoon like exterior to work with in drawing out the patterns needed for making the puppets clothes.

Unfortunately I missed out a few photos so I apologies for that matter.

Once I had these all drawn out, I then had to select what materials to use before then marking out and cutting out the patterns needed to stitching later on.

The sleeves were the simplest part to make as the material simply needed to be sown into a cylindrical shape. The sleeves were the only part of the under shirt made as the puppets waist coat covers much of the body so there was no need to make the whole shirt.

Once pinned in place. I found out the sleeves were slightly shorter than expected. To solve this matter, I attached a pair of big, fancy cuffs to hide the K&S attaching the hands to the arms.

This did the trick... thank goodness for that.

Once this was all done and dusted, I could finally focus on the waist coat. When i had the patterns cut out for the waist coat I then had these handed to my dear mother who helped with the making of the waist coat... Thank you mother.

The coat was made from four parts which had to be stitched together with wire hidden within as the coat also has tails that would be animated at a later date. The plus side of having these meant that we knew which part of coat attached to what part.

The coat covered up the rest of the body so we could focus on the trousers at last.

The trousers were made from two pieces of fabric which were stitched together but then had to be turned inside out to help hide the seems where they had been stitched. I also realised that with the shoes on, I wouldn't be able to attach the trousers in the first place.

The shoes were removed and then came the long process of pulling the trousers on the puppet. After a lot of cursing and tugging, The puppet was pretty much fully clothed and the shoes could be attached once again.

Yeah... Blunderbuss!

The Gun shown above was the original model I was going to use to make my puppets gun, but this was cheating so I decided to use it as a reference for my puppet's gun prop.

 The idea was that this gun would also serve as a walking stick so I looked into walking stick designs as well and came up with a design that was a cross between the barrel of a gun and the crook of a walking stick.

After cleaning it up a bit and sanding it down. The other half of the gun was made with an old pen that I had thrown away.

I planned on having a bolt screwed through the canter which would also be bolted through the floor that I would be working on so that gun would serve as a tie down for the puppet.

The pen was perfect for this as it was hollow for the bolt to go through but also thin enough to work as the front half of the gun.

I then set about texturing the gun and adding details such as the trigger, the carved markings on the side and make the gun more blunderbuss like by making the end more cone shaped.

I placed a washer inside the end of the gun to help with keeping the bolt inside the gun once it was attached to the floor.

The last step simply involved painting the gun a suitable colour that would go with the puppet.

Legs and feet casting

Like the arms, the legs were constructed with wire that had been coiled to make it stronger for animation. I added heat shrink tubing which strengthened the lower half of the legs (Just in case they decided to turn against me and break). Mulliput was then placed around the upper and lower legs, leaving the waist, knees and ankles free for movement. 
Foam was added to the knees and waist so that the whole leg would be the same width. 

That was the easy part for the lower half. The most difficult part was casting the feet as my character has heeled boots. To do this i started by making a plasticine mould of the feet and how I wanted them to look. before then casting them in a mould so that I could begin work on making the actual moulds that the puppet would use. 

The negative mould turned out rather nicely but left me with a problem. There was a huge gap where the heel was supposed to be. So work around this I started by filling the moulds with latex which I had made brown by adding pigment and paint. 

I placed a wire and two washers that had been cut so that they would make the feet magnetic for when it came to actually animating the puppet. 

Once this was done I had to wait... again... until the feet were properly dry and then just like the hands, I had to trim and tidy the feet before having to cut out the back end of the foot for the heel to go in. 

The final steps involved making the heel which was actually constructed by sandwiching two halves of a washer between two small pieces of bolster wood. I did this for both feet before latexing and gluing them to the base of the feet so that they were extra secure.

By having the washer pieces inside the heel, it would mean the foot would be able to stick to the magnet so when I'm animating, the puppet will stand up right. 

Body building

With the body I wanted to try and have the neck coming out of the front so that it gave my puppet the look of a hunched over body. To do this I used a polystyrene ball which i hollowed out and split in two so that the rest of the armature could fit inside it easily.
On this was done I then made the basic shapes for the arms so that I could mark out where about the arms would actually fit onto the body. The interior was again made with bolster wood which meant it would be both lightweight and strong so that whilst animating, the puppet was much less likely to break.
The lower half of the body was made from foam and mulliput which I sculpted and shaped so that the legs could be hooked in and out with no problem.
K&S was put into the socket where the head would fit so like the hands, the head could easily be attached and detached.

When i had the basic shape for the body completed I then went back to finishing the arms off. These were simply constructed from wire which has been coiled to give it more strength for animating. I then placed mulliput around the upper arm and forearm areas, leaving the elbow, shoulder and wrist join free to allow movement. K&S was added to the wrist area as well so that the hands could be attached and detached with minimal effort. 
The last step was to simply glue these onto the body I had constructed...
Pretty much a third of the way there with the build now. Still a lot to do though.

The hands

For the hands I began by creating a negative mould which involved the process of sculpting the hands first out of plasticine so that they can be moulded in order to create the actual latex hands.

Once these were shaped I then had to cast them in plaster. I made the base first before removing the hands and applying a load of vaseline to prevent it from sticking, before making the top half of the mould for the hands.
I also made sure to include details such as wrinkles and other small markings on the hand just to help give the final moulds a much neater look about them.
The hands also had K&S brass attached to the wrist areas so that if they became damaged then they would be easily removable to help with repair.

Once the final moulds were casted I then set them aside for about 4-5 hours to make sure they had thoroughly set. like the head, I added paint to the latex to give it a skin colour.

However one thing i noticed was that upon removing the hands, the plaster had cracked slightly, meaning the latex had a number of hair line grooves on the back of them. At first I was concerned but then realised that these added to the look of the hands, making them seem like old man hands which was what I was going for.

The last few steps involved trimming off the parts of the latex I didn't need and adding paint textures such as liver spots, applying the K&S brass to the ends of each hand and highlighting the grooves of the hand to make them seem a tad more realistic.

Puppet build 1: The head

The head was fairly tricky to work on as it had a fairly solid centre which was constructed using bolster wood which  on the plus side is both sturdy and light so i didn't have to worry too much about the head coming off.

The ears, nose, chin and neck were made from three different thicknesses of wire. While the ears, nose and chin were simple covered in mulliput and latex, the neck was covered in heat shrink tubing to prevent it from breaking as that would be very upsetting and would probably make me cry... a lot.

The moustache and eye brows were made of just simple wire which was then wrapped in white wool like fabric to give the appearance of old, white hair. I then had these drilled into the head after the latexing process which was probably the fiddliest process.

In the end I used around 4-5 layers of latex for the head, the last two were mixed with cream coloured paint to give it a skin like colouring. I painted out a thin sheet of latex on the table as well which when dry, I cut into two little squares and stuck on either side of the chin to make the cheeks.

 His mouth was filled with plasticine which allowed the chin to move up and down but at the same time for me to stick on the mouth pieces really easily.

The build plan

The final plans for my puppet. As you can see it will consist of a great deal of materials ranging from K&S brass, foam, sculpy, mulliput, clay, latex, wood etc etc.

The materials I needed have taken around 1-2 weeks to gather together but I'll be able to start building before long.

I will be working on the head and hands first before moving onto the body, arms, legs and finally working on the clothing for the character as well as his trusty prop, the Blunderbuss.

Much of the head and hands will be latex whilst the rest will be covered by clothing so I won't have to worry too much about that... I hope.

First year character exploration

Although I've pretty much finished my first year at uni, I thought i might as well bring everyone up to date with what I have been working on there. These are some of the final designs for our last brief known as Character exploration.
The brief involved design, constructing and animating a character of our own creation, so i decided to create this rather charming chap I've come to call 'Lock Stock Rob'.

After coming up with the designs for the character, we were then instructed with actually building the character as an animatable puppet, using whatever materials we have to our advantage.

This could go either rather well or rather bad but I'll keep you all posted.