Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Casting Layla part 1

 I think I mentioned earlier in my blog about why I chose to cast Lorelei first but just in case I didn't, it was because Layla has much more screen time so i wanted to cast Lorelei an learn from my mistakes for Layla. 

For example I chose to put padding in Layla's tail as I had learned from Lorelei that not doing this makes the tail a lot stiffer.
 I also properly sealed the mold for the tail this time round o it wasn't as messy as before.
 I did the same process for Layla's stripes again which involved painting them into the mold. Once set I then filled in with light blue Silicone.
The tail I had cast I feel was a lot more neater than Lorelei's which will be good for the animation as Lorelei has much less screen time than Layla, therefore I can get away with less neatness on Lorelei.

Casting Lorelei part 2

 The body was rather tricky as I not only had to figure out how to cast it so that the shoulders could still move but also so that I could still access the joints in order to adjust them. To get over the problem of having too much Silicone in the cast, I padded it out around the chest area to make it easier and more movable.
Once padded i then painted in the black stripes for Lorelei. Since she is based on a Koi I didn't have to make her stripes near and tidy. After they were painted in and dried I filled in the cast with purple Silicone and left that to set.
 A few days later i had the body all ready. Now comes the tricky part... PUTTING IT TOGETHER. I'm afraid this part will take some time and patience but allow me to express how this part of the process made me feel.

 I got there in the end however!! So here is the final result. A fully pieced together Mermaid.

 The only issues I had were that in some places I had to paint over with Silicone. The tail was a big issue as the K&S showed through.
 In the end I painted over the entire surface of the tail fin in order to help blend in the painted sections. 

That however was not the biggest issue I had concerning the Mermaids. That part involved the seams between the different body parts that were cast.
 I came up with the idea of filling the waist lines with K&S and then using no more nails to secure it in place. I then carefully wrapped the waist and shoulder seams with water sealant tape before gently painting over in purple Silicone. This seemed to do the trick but I will have to later on make holes for the rigs to slot into.
 Well that's Lorelei done... now I have to repeat this whole process for Layla now!!! OH JOY! Sty tuned though for more details.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Eye Spy a Starfish

 The starfish was rather simple as the only part of it that moved was its eyeball. But I still wanted to look interesting for the audience when it creeps onto camera. I found a cardboard mould that would be ideal for making th plaster cast piece for it.

I added my own details to it before layering the piece in Vaseline to help it pop out of the plaster more easily.

 The plaster cast was a one piece mold. I made a quick armature for it in order to help it maintain its shape when it came out the mold also.
 After that I made a fresh batch of slime green silicone which i gently painted into the mold. I set the armature in gradually so that it didn't sink and then show through on the front of the Starfish.
 After that I carefully popped it out of the mold and was left with this masterpiece.
 The eye socket was just right for the eye size that I had in mind. This was made using a polystyrene ball that was painted gradually to make it look nasty and bulbous.
 Green acrylic was used before I put a layer of lime green on the front half. I cut a notch out for the pupil which I then painted black.
 The last few steps were to add details such as the black streaks around the eye along with the white iris around the pupil. I then had it inserted into the eye socket. it fit just snug and just like that, i now have a Starfish ready for animating.
In the center of the eye pupil is a small hole where i can manipulate it using a needle so it can look around the set... Spooky!

Anchor Squid casting part 2

 Back for more Squid related work!! This time we're focusing on the body cast and the whole thing coming together. For the head of the Squid I only sculpted one half of the head as it is symmetrical on both sides of the body. Once these were casted I had a hole drilled in for the K&S brass bar that will attach it to the rig.
After a bit of sanding I got the two halves to fit together snug.
 Then came the messy part which involved a lot of Red Silicone. I had to line the rim with plasticine to stop it from leaking out of the sides but I got there in the end.
 A day later and I had a lovely looking Anchor head for Squiddy.
 Thanks to the K&S brass ends of the tentacles I was able to attach the tentacles to the body relatively quickly and easily.
 The trickiest part was the silicone painting that I had to do for the section between the tentacles and the body. This process took a few hours to do as i had to wait for the Silicone to be tacky otherwise it would just drip off.
 Once done though I had the anchors attached and the Anchor Squid was complete. I had to make some eyes out of washers but unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this bit so you'll have to imagine it.
HEY PRESTO!!! One puppet down and four more to go.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Anchor Squid casting part 1

For the wibbly wobbly tentacles  had to make a two part mold for them as my original idea for a one part mold sadly was a flop of an idea. I began as seen here by sculpting a plasticine version of what I wanted my tentacle to look like. 

 One done I had it half set in sculpy, added in a few keys and set to work on the casting process.

A day later and I had to halves of a tentacle ready for casting. The next thing to do was to remove the wires for the tentacles from the armature and set them in the mold. 
 Next came the messy part of actually casting the tentacles. Each one took about 7-9 hours to set. I had a wire positioned in the top to help hold the armature in the center of the tentacle.
The tentacle was cast and it took dashing!

Now to repeat this stage three... more... times.
 After 4 days of waiting I eventually had all four  tentacles ready for paint detail.
For the anchors themselves i was originally planning on casting them from wood models i had made but they broke very easily. I then found these Bionicle weapons when I went home that weekend. They seemed to work perfectly for the anchors... so I stole I MEAN borrowed them for my Squid. 
They had mulliput places over the holes in their centers so that I could give them a smooth finish.

Not much more to do now for the Squid. STAY TUNED!!

Anchor Squid armature

 The Squids armature will be made from scratch as it is a much more basic armature than the Mermaids. I began firstly by cutting out the pieces I would need to make the anchor itself.
 I made a basic anchor shape as the Squids head is meant to resemble an anchor. I then constructed a little doohickey for the end where the tentacles will attach.
 The idea is that when the Squids tentacles are cast they will slot into place on the end of the head and then be painted in.
 This is the standard layout for the armature so far. After a lot of time, patience, sweat and tears I had the anchor head finally made. 

Here it is below.
 And combine that with the tentacle arms and this is what you get! The tentacles will be just coiled wire as they will be one simple mold.
Stay tuned for the next part of the Squid. We'll be back to Lorelei and Layla very soon though... PINKY SWEAR!!!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Casting Lorelei part 1

Now that the Mermaid moulds are out the way lets get down to some good old Silicone mold making!!

As you saw in my earlier post, I had already laid in the black stripes for Lorelei so I decided to next do the purple skin on the outside. I layered this in as well as the pink Silicone for the tail would be also used to fill in the tail section
This was a messy messy process but is all worth it in the name of puppet making!!

I had a few spills here and there though.

The Silicone was poured into the top of the mould as I had pre made a hole in the top for the armature to poke through. I think though i may have used a tad too much Silicone.

24 hours later and this is the result! The stripes came out fine and dandy so I did a little dance to celebrate. I reckon a small amount of Silicone is needed for the tail end to help hide the armature but that is a job I can manage another time. 
After some patience and trimming down we have a lovely looking tail fin. It still needs some tidying up but this is the over all look of it.


The arms were an easier process as i only needed purple Silicone. I made the first cast and set that aside for a day to set.

At first there were a few air pockets but I had it re-casted and that seemed to get the job done.
The seam lines shall be cut back and then sanded down using vaseline and my sanding tool. The body is up next but I think what's needed right now is a well deserved tea break.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Fishy fins

 The tail was the most difficult part of the molding process as it was the biggest mold I have had to make so far.I started by making the fin and the tail separately out of super sculpy

However i found out shortly afterwards that it would be an easier process to just mold the tail and the fin together as one. In the end I attached the two.

The next step was to set the mold in plasticine for the casting process.
 After a lot of plaster and a lot of patience I finally had the first half of my tail fin done and dusted.
 I needed to tidy the edges slightly so that the next casting part will be easier and less messy.

 The end has a small section of K&S brass so that there is room for the silicone to be poured in once i start the silicone filling process.

After that I had it boxed back up and ready for the next plaster cast process. HERE WE GO AGAIN!!
Finally I have two plaster molds ready for silicone casting. I have already started the silicone process for Lorelei and have started with the stripes and marks on the tail and the body but will soon be moving onto the skin part soon.