Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Bloody Mary Ultimate image

Well here you go folks! I present to you my ultimate image for Bloody Mary. This took me a good few hours to finally put together and involved many photoshop works of magic. 

The puppets were built by myself while the sweet props were made by the lovely Sophie Lewis. The set was produced by the set design department and i must say they have done an amazing job!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mary head Assembly

Onto the final part of Bloody Marys construction. The head. I had already begun work on certain parts of the head such as the face and shape but needed to complete such aspects as the hair, hat and facial details. 

Lets start with her iconic large rimmed hat. I begun with a circular piece of foam which was supported with a similar sized sheet of aluminium for strength. This was then coated in the same Magenta fabric used for her coat.

To make the top of the hat I was a bit puzzled for a moment as I had to figure out how to have the hat be attachable and detachable to access other parts of the head and face. I chose to use sculpy which I sculpted into the crown of the hat. 

I then had this piece baked before painting it with a Magenta acrylic to help it match the rest of the hat. 

I chose to add some details such as a leather stand similar to what hats have normally and I also chose to had a small veil for extra detail.

Now that the hat is sorted lets get back to putting together rest of the head. 

I took the face that i had made earlier in the blog and decided to paint in additional details which included:

Sculpy eyebrows for expression

All these details immediately gave her much more personality and gave her a rather gothic look... which I like!

I mentioned earlier before that her eyes would be cut outs which would be moved about on her eyes, however this meant I needed to be able to access behind the face to do this. 

I added two small magnets to the back half of the head so that the face could pop out but whilst animating it would be securely stuck on. 

Her hair was probably the most complex thing I had tackled in my time at South Wales University as i wanted it to be animatable but also wanted it to actually look like proper hair. 

The technique I applied as inspired by a mixture of techniques used in Henry Selicks Coraline and in Tim Burtons Corpse Bride.
Both used the process of laying the head with real hair which had been streaked with glue and then had  tiny stands of wire (electric wire thin) in order to make certain clumps of hair animatable without ruining the look.

To lock the head in place I added a K&S slot to the head for easy access. This didn't end up working so over all I chose to stick the back of the head to the rest of the head.
So above you can see Marys head assembled with a few sections of hair already glued and wired for animation. In the concept she is depicted with a huge fringe piece similar to Jessica Rabbit where by the hair covers one eye.

The fringe was attached to the base of the hat so that while accessing the face and eyes I could detach the hat and wouldn't have the hair in the way.


Now to finish her head off by adding her eyes and mouths designed and then of course attaching her to her body.

SO here she iss all ready and looking rather... stoned. Well at least she is all together now and ready to go!!

 Well thats almost all puppet work out the way! Just one more thing to talk about and then we can move onto set and props.

See you next time!!!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Company Research number 5 - Makinnon and Saunders

Now for the final of my 5 companies, lets talk about Makinnon and Saunders!

The company was founded by Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunder roughly 30 years ago they have collaborated with a number of studios and film productions which I shall be discussing further on in this post.

Unlike my previous 4 companies Mackinnon and Saunders specialise in making puppets for a variety of projects spanning from television programs and adverts right up to major feature animations including but not limited to:

Corpse Bride
Fantastic Mr Fox
Mars Attacks
Bill and Ben
Bob the builder
Postman Pat

So many animations!!!!

What I admire and love most about this company is their passion for stop motion and for the amount of detail and work they put into their puppet creations. 

Their skills range from maquettes to concept building, sculpting and even working on costumes and hair to add that vibrant detail which is what stop motion is all about!

A number of techniques which I was most impressed that they produced were for animating Corpse Bride. The first of which was to help with animating the tiniest of details such as movements in the facial and making expressions. 
This was achieved using an allen key which was inserted into their ears which then accessed tiny gears and joints hidden beneath the silicone and allowed the animator to easily animate the face without the tedious mucking around with fiddly finger work. 

The second of which was for Emilys bride gown where by the builders utilised a number of wires (some of which were a fine as human hairs) in order to allow the tiniest of movements to be created by the animators to help sell the ghostly illusion of the Bride gown blowing in the wind.


In fact i found this trick so fascinating that I have attempted similar techniques for the hair of my puppet Layla from the previous year and for Bloody Marys hair and coat this year.

Thank you Makinnon and Saunders!!!

Well there you have it folks. 5 companies of amazing animation and skill all of which I would be honoured to work for.

Stay tuned where I will be back with more bloody Mary work. Until next time!!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Company research number 4 - Aardman

Straight into number 4 of my 5 companies and of course I'm here to talk about probably one of the most well known animation studios in the country
Based in Bristol, Aardman was founded by Peter Lord and David Sproxton who both shared a passion for producing animated feature films.
Indeed their wish has certainly come true with the release of a number of feature film hits including 'Chicken Run', 'Flushed away' and 'Pirates in an adventure with Scientists'. 

They certainly been busy busy bees recently with the release of their latest feature film 
"Shaun the Sheep Movie" which expands from their CBBC television series 'Shaun the Sheep. 

However as well as television and film they have worked on a number of much smaller projects especially in advertising where by they have had a helping hand in the production of such advertisements as 'National accident helpline' and 'Change for life'. 
But theres something missing... but i just can't quite put my finger on it...

Thats right you didn't think I could forget about these guys did you?... did you??

Wallace and Gromit are probably the most well known of Aardmans franchises, created by Nick Park who also gave use such characters as Morph from... 'Morph'.
Their first appearance in 'A grand day out' was nominated for the award 'Best animated short film' in 1990 and since then has given way to a number of equally successful shorts including 'The wrong trousers', 'Close Shave' and 'A matter of loaf and death'. 

Sadly however Nick has announced that there may not be another Wallace and Gromit film due to the declining health of Wallace dear voice actor Peter Sallis. 

Get well soon Peter!

Over all though Aardman have been a beacon of light in my opinion for stop motion animators across the country and i hope they go on to continue making more amazing pieces. 

That all for now I'm afraid. Just one more Company to talk about now.


Company research number 3 - BlinkInk

Coming up next on company research, all the way from Soho London we delve into the industry that is known as BlinkInk!

BlinkInk is an interesting company to me as they specialise in both live action work as well as animation, often combining the two.

Their latest piece which I didn't know that they worked on until recently is the YouTube series known as 'Don't hug me I'm scared"a 4 episode long web series using muppet styled puppets combined with a mixture of animation techniques including Stop motion, 2D animation and most recently CG. 

This was produced at BlinkInk also known as blink Industries by Baker Terry who worked on the music with long term collaborators Becky Sloan and Joe Pelling.

As well as 'Don't hug me i'm scared' they have worked on numerous and certainly more... toned down pieces such as 'Barry the biscuit Boy' which combined live puppetry and stop motion. 

Another fine example of their work which I adore is 'The Bear and the Hare' a John Lewis Christmas advert filmed in Stop motion but involved the characters being 2D cut outs made by using 3D printing techniques and then animated by replacing the characters each time but in different poses.

Thats enough cleverness to make the Computery guy crazy!!!...

 Well thats the end of another company research piece. 3 down 2 to go so STAY TUNED!!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Company research number 2 - Immortal Pictures

Number 2 of my company research and one which I have been excited about for a while now.

Immortal Pictures!

Immortal Pictures is an award winning animation company based in the UK that specialises in... yep you guessed it, Stop Motion! The studio is currently headed by Mike Mort, Director and producer who is currently working on his new upcoming, action packed, explosively thrilling animation titled 'Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires'. 

Immortal Picture specialise in not just animation but also puppet building, set design, concept art and post production. The whole package really. 

Immortal Pictures have worked on a number of animation projects such as advertisements for such products as 'Lynx' body spray and 'Canigou' a french dog food brand. however also worked on other productions such as the BBC television series 'Gogs'.

Now earlier on I mention about Mike morts latest animation 'Chuck Steel', but guess what!

Us 3rd year stop mo students have the privilege of attending work experience on one of their upcoming projects, 'Night of the Trampires'.

Chuck Steel is an independent animation studio based in Bridgend about 40 minutes outside of Cardiff (How convenient for us Stop mo students) which is also being directed by Mike Mort. His first animation titles 'Chuck Steel: Raging Balls of Steel Justice' was released 2013. The animation is based off of 1980 explosive action movies but I'd say takes action and indeed explosions to a whole new level. 

Chuck Steel is the name of the main character, who is a work alone loose cannon of a cop who is tasked with rescuing a wealthy Banker who claims to own a Gold house on the moon (Not jealous what so ever).

 He must work with the latest form of cop technology created by the Government, known as A55 Autocop (ASS) to rescue the hostage from twenty convicts who has taken him hostage.


Well thats all for now. Stay tuned people!! Much more to come!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Lets play Bloody Mary dress up

For making bloody Marys coat and hat I wanted a colour that would contrast and stand out with the cave environment and suit her energetic character. So Magenta was my first choice for this.

We began by making a template of the coat that would fit around Marys body and then trail off into the coat tails. We did this by making a mock up coat in paper and then using it as a template for the purpose of cutting the fabric for the coat. 

 So here is the fabric all cut out to scale. However to help with animating Marys coat we decided to fir the tails with Black foil, originally used for lights but is also a sturdy material and ideal for animating with.

 To help fit the foil into the tails we made two cut outs which we then stitched together along the very edge of the coat. This was then turned inside out before the foil was slowly (And i do mean slowly) inserted into the coat. 

Using Tweezers we managed to get inside the gap in the coat in order to flatten out the foil. 

We set that aside breifly and began working on the accessories for the coat which included the trims for the coat and the collar area. We cut out a small series of collars that would be glued around the collar area. 

 Once the collar and trims were cut we had them ironed to remove any creases and to help make the collar look much neater for gluing on.

For her sleeves we just measured from the elbow section of Marys arms to her shoulder. We then added an extra 2 cm and then cut out two squares of fabric which were then glued down onto the arms. 

We left the extra 2 cm at the end unglued as this was going to be stitched into the coat when we came to connect the arms to the rest of the puppet. 
the next step was to finally fit everything together starting with the main section of the coat. Once attached we then had to stitch on the sleeves around the shoulder joints. 

 The last thing to do was to finally assemble the coat to make sure that the pieces all fitted neatly together. 
We used black sequins to act as buttons for the cuffs and front of the coat as an added accessory. 

So here we are. Mary is now all suited up and so far so good. Somethings missing though... OF COURSE! HER HEAD!! Coming up next!