Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Set props

Usually in a barn, the object you would find are mainly quite basic and crude, however I wanted to have somewhat interesting props, so I decided to create a series of sacks to dress the background. Above are some examples of various sacks which I had made for my set. On the left is a sack which I filled with corn erasers from a shop, while on the right I just decided to use basic straw.
 While ordering some contact lenses, I received these two little glass bottles which I thought were quite sweet, so I decided to place them in my set. I found some labels online that would go well. If you're a true Legend of Zelda fan then you'll know what these are then!

One problem I had was that my set was rather large, so I decided to fill in much of the space with some of these large hay stacks which I had created out of plant pot lining which was wrapped around a block of insulation foam. In the end i had about seven of these and they really helped to dress the set and hid certain set giveaways like screws and wood seams.

My characters line at one point is "I ate nine cans of whipped cream" so I thought it would be rather good to actually have those cans in the set somewhere. To do this I created a small logo which I printed off and had made into ten tiny whipped cream cans. below is the logo which i had designed, along with a little Easter egg towards my Deviantart page.

 The set props over all came together rather nicely. The walls were made from thin sheets of wood that I painted brown before taping off areas that would become support beams. I then went over in light grey and sketched in a block pattern to make it resemble a barn wall interior.
 When the walls were up I felt that they seemed rather bland. As i continued my research I found some barn designs with animal skins hung up. I decided to make two skins, one of a small fox and one of a large deer.
The last prop i mad was a simple ladder cut from bolser wood and then coloured using wood dye to give it an old and rotting look.

On the left is the ladder pieces cut out and below is the finished ladder slowly drying off.

Head sculpting

The head was fairly straight forward but was somewhat time consuming and involved a lot of trial and error, especially the mouth section.
For the head I wanted to use replacements for the animating side of the project. I designed the head but without the whole lower jaw section as I wanted Rags to have a rather stretchy looking mouth piece, almost like jack Skellingtons mouth.

Once the head was sculpted into shape, i then had the eyebrow piece removed in order to allow space for the plasticine which would be used for the eyelids and animatable eyebrows.

Each jaw replacement would be sculpted around a small piece of wire that is shaped like the piece below and would have two washers stuck inside in order to make them magnetic.

In the end I sculpted around thirteen mouth pieces. One issue i had though was that many of the mouth pieces became partly deformed during the baking process and so they required additional sanding and sculpting over with mulliput to fix these issues. But sadly... 'sniff' not all the pieces made it :'( in the end I had around eleven or twelve mouth pieces. 

Back to the head part, I had the main parts of the head painted using grey acrylic and slightly textured so that the head resembles a greyish sack. The red square was added to represent a stitched on patch and a small piece of grey fabric to act as the tie off for the sack part.
I also had some plasticine made for the eyebrow piece which fitted quite nicely but sadly was a bit off in terms of colour. 

The eyes were painted black but with no pupils as the original design didn't have actual eyeballs. So all the emotion will come out of the eyebrow itself.

Monday, 25 November 2013

stitching legs

For the trousers I wanted them to have a slight crudity to them so that it would go with the scarecorw look. I started off by wrapping the legs I had made with kling film and then covering that with masking tape. This was eventually cut and left a templatye for me to work with.
I then took a sheet of brown fabric and draw out the outlines for where I would cut to make the trousers. Once cut, I swewd the two halves of the trousers together. These were then turned inside out and attached to the puppet. I then tied up the trousers near the hips and knees to make it look like they were stuffed with straw and then stitched up.

 The trousers are meant to look as though they are aged and old so I had them teabag dyed to give them a duller brownish colour. I also cut a smal slit at the top so that the belly would poke out the front more. Over all I was rather pleased with the general look of the trosuers except the fabric was quite weak so they were a little bit loose in some places.

Poncho build

In the design, the character has a large brown top which I took to be a poncho of some sorts. I began by taking a sheet of brown fabric and measuring out how big the size of the Poncho would be by firstly measuring the puppet from the neck down to the belly, doubling that length and then cutting a circle of fabric with a diameter of that length.

I then took the fabric and had wire laid out along the lines which I drew. This would hold the poncho in place while animating.

My friend Steph suggested the idea of adding a washer to the collar area so that it would give the neck area shape. I then created a spiders web of wire to allow for full animation. This meant that when I animated the puppet moving his hand and arms, I can give the Poncho the right form of movement.

Finally the poncho was covered with an identical piece of fabric and stitched up around the rim to make it seem like one thick piece of material. I then decided for added detail, to give it a series of patchwork spots so that when I attached it to my scarecrow, it would suit the crudness of it.

Hand casting

For the hand casting I began by sculpting the hand shape that I wanted for my puppet out of plasticene. I had K&S attached to the back of this model so that when I casted it, it would leave space for the K&S on the actual armature hand to sit in.

The hand was then set in clay before being boxed in so that the plaster would form a nice square shape when it dried. The hand was set halfway into the clay. I also built up four small squares of clay in the corners which are called 'keys'. These allow for the two moulds to lock in place once casted.
The plaster was added, and then left to set for about two hours. Once the plaster was removed, the clay was pealed away but the hand was left in place. After a layer of vaseline was applied, the second leyer of plaster was added and left to dry. The vaseline allowed for the two halves to seperate once dry.
After the plaster was removed, the hand was taken out and cleaned up, leaving a negative mould for me to work with.
Above is the armature that I constructed that would eventually go inside the hands. It consists of a strand of wire that was bent and shaped so that it would fit in the mould. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Feet sculpting

For casting the moulds for the feet I had to start off by producing a mould which I would cast in the plaster in order to get the right shape and design.
I began by creating out of plasticine a design for the feet, making them resemble the shoes which I wanted my character to have. These would have to have every detail added to them so that when casted, the latex moulds will have the exact look necessary.

One sculpted I then set about creating an outer casing for the mould which would allow for the plaster to sit and set in a box shape.
Vaseline was used in order to cover the inside of the box and the feet so that the plaster didn't stick when it had set.
I then set about pouring the plaster into the mould which took around 24-30 hours to set (I didn't time it so not sure exactly) but once it was set I then removed the plasticine moulds from the cast which left me with a negative mould of the shoes.

I had the cast made so that the K&S would slide into the base of it to keep it secure as the latex casting took place. The latex had black thickener added to it so that it came out the right colour.
I began by painting a layer on the interior of the cast and then letting that set so that the armature would sit quite securely inside.
I finally drizzled in the rest of the black latex so that it would fill up the mould. I let that set overnight and when I came to remove the shoes from mould... I shed a tear of joy as they came out perfectly.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Puppet padding part 2

 For the shoulder pads I chose to make them fairly thick as they would be supporting the shape for the upper part of the poncho. I also made the decision to attach two pieces of K&S into the shoulder which in turn would be attached to the Poncho.

By doing this it would allow for the poncho to remain in place and therefore would not move about as I animated.

The upper part of the body will be coloured slightly but not covered too much as it will be concealed by the poncho, however in case part of the body bacomes on show while a certain movement takes place, I feel this is necessary.

The last bit I chose to work on in terms of padding was the belly lie sack which would hang out the front. To help crate the look that it is moving while being animated, I first attached a piece of wire to the front of the pupper before then taking a square of foam and shaping it so that it would fit perfectly on the front of the puppets waist.

Now that the padding is all sorted I can finally move onto the casting process!..... WHOOP!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Puppet padding part 1

Once I had the armature sorted out I then set about padding in order to bulk out the body.
I chose to start working on the lower torso area as this would most likely be on show due to the fact my character wears a Poncho.

The foam located around the waist line was intended to be soft foam to allow movement still, however the pelvic area I wanted to be solid to prevent the wire from falling out of place.

One the left here I made two hollow shapes that would be glued together around the pelvic area in order to conceal the K&S holding the legs in place but also to make this part of the puppet more secure. While gluing the K&S together as well, I chose to attach a washer to the back of the puppet to act as a surface area for the K&S to sit on while it set and to give the foam more rigidity in case it cracked.

I then clamped the waist line down using a spring clamp to ensure that the foam would remain on the wire as it set. While this dried I moved onto the padding for the legs as I intend for these to resemble stuffed straw legs.
I began by cutting the foam into thin cuboid slices before trimming the edges. I made four in total, two for each leg.
Once these were cut I then sliced down the middle of each piece before hollowing out the insides slightly so that they would fit around the legs easier.
Once this was done I then decided to pad out the feet so that the feet casting would be much easier and require less latex. I stuck two seperate slices of cardboard to the bottom, one on the heel and sole before sticking two pieces of foam over the top. The heel piece was cut into a cube while the front sole and toe piece was cut into a rounded cuboid shape to help resemble the shape of the foot.

Rags puppet armature part 1

Now is the time to start blogging like there is no tomorrow! 

I shall start by showing the armature construction that I have been working on over the last week or so.

The main boday of it is made up of standard aluminium wire and K&S which helps to create a sturdy but movable armature.

I had the K&S cut to shape using a hack saw before sanding down each piece so that it would all slide together it very little difficulty.

The puppet currently stands around 9-10 inches tall which I feel is a reasonable size for an armature. Too big would be too clumsy to work with but too small would be immensly fiddly to work with.

Once the puppet pieces were all cut out I then set about attaching heat shrink tubing to the wire to ensure that they would be even stronger and far less likely to break.

For the chest area I decided to make a three piece K&S chest plate which would allow the arms to slot in and out with very little effort, in case during animation the arms needed to be replaced.

The hands are designed to slot in and out so that I can cast them more easily but like the arm pieces, it would mean they would be replacable if part of the hand broke off.

On the right is the armature I have built for the hand which I will strengthen with Mulliput. On the left is a casted hand that someone else did which I have been using for reference.

The arm pieces I have made plyable in three areas. The shoulder, elbow and upper arm area. The reason for doing both a shoulder and movable upper arm area is so that I had room for the shoulder padding which can be seen on the right here, but it would also allow a lot more free arm movement such as making the shoulders roll forward and backward slightly as well as move up and down a bit for shrugging movements.

These parts would be slotted into the chest piece (as mentioned earlier).

Minor project pre-production

The following images are just a handful of my pre-production pieces for my minor animation project. The task involved taking a childs drawing and transforming the character into a more detailed and finer character for animation. I chose to make my chosen drawing into a scarecrow like character who I have named 'Rags'.