Friday, 27 January 2012

Padding Out

The next stage in the puppet building process is padding out. The puppet needs to have volume and mass so that it looks realistic and so that there is something for the clothes to cover.

Due to the design of The Mechanic Character and the way I have built him he now does not need much more padding out. But he needs some foam to fill in some gaps and some more foam to give him as smooth surface.

I began with the arms. I first got some wadding and rolled it up. I Then wrapped it in a thin white foam to give it a uniform shape.

I then cut out blocks of foam to fill in the middle section of the puppet.

I added more balsa wood onto the front to give me more to hold to while I animate the character.

And then added more foam to the front of that. 

 To smooth out the top of the body I cut out a template from paper and then tested it with some felt.
 I then use the template to cut out some thin foam to cover the foam and balsa wood.

I also added some thin foam to the legs to smooth them out even more.

I used the same process for The Man but I did not need to use any balsa wood as the design is so thin.

I was about to use some of the yellow foam to pad out the arms but I had to use the white foam for the body. I thought the white foam would have been to thick on the arms. However if I had have used both foams the yellow colour would have shown through the clothes fabric which would have stood out against the body.

 I then cut holes in the foam where the rigging points are to that they are easily accessible.

I am now currently sculpting hands for both The Man and The Mechanic. I will then use these to make moulds and cast the hands and feet using latex and silicone.

Armature for The Mechanic

The armature for The Mechanic is slightly odd. The character is not a regular shape and I do not have to show his feet so it took me a lot of thinking to try and work out how I would build him. I hope what I have made will stay intact while animating and will allow me to move the puppet how I want to. Here is what I did...

As I did with The Man's Armature I cut the K and S and wire I needed to the correct sizes. 

The structure for the armature will come from these three washers which the arms and one set of leg wires will be joined to. This will give the puppet a solid foundation that I can build around.

I then began to bulk out this section so that I could attach the K and S for the second set of leg wires.

Here are all the limbs, the beginnings of the bulking out and the feet blocks. I have made the feet/legs out of a heavy wood so that they will be solid.

I drilled holes in the bottom of the leg/feet wood blocks and glued in some more nuts so that I can tie them down the same way as The Man.

I drilled holes in the top of the wood blocks so I could put K and S in so that they would also be replaceable.

I made the second set of leg wires bendy so they they would support the first set as they will move in a different way. Hopefully having the two sets of wires there is less chance of the wire snapping.

Armature For The Man

I started building my Characters last week. First they both need an armature. (a wire skeleton to keep them in position while I animate them)

This was how I built the Armature for The Man...

I started by cutting out the K and S Brass Tubing I needed to make the joins and 'bones' for the armature. I made the hands, arm,s body, head and feet replaceable so that if some of the wire snaps on either of these parts I can quickly mend it without having to take the whole armature apart. I also made a few rigging points so that when the character needs to be off the ground I can keep him in the air with a rig.

I then filed the edges of each to the pieces of K and S so that they would not scratch the wire when I put it through them or cause too much friction when I put the smaller pieces inside the bigger ones

I then twisted three strands of 1.6mm thick wire and cut the sizes I needed for each limb. I then covered the parts of the wire that will bend with heat shrink tubing. This helps keep the wire together and gives it extra support which helps reducing snapping.

I glued the wire to the K and S using an epoxy glue and made hands using twisted 0.5mm wire (two strands).

Then using a hammer and the top of a file I punched dents in the K and S that joined together. This is so that when they slot together they will have somewhere to connect with and they will stay in place once connected. This is important as you do not want the K and S slipping while animating the puppet. 

Here is the final armature without the feet...

I made the feet using metal plates and 4mm nuts for tie-downs. I drilled a hole in the toe of the feet and stuck the nuts to them so I and hold down the feet with threaded bar and a wing nut.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Pre-Production Selection

I have now just about completed all my planing and pre-production flat work for my film. I now will have to make a start on the build.

Here is a selection of my work to give you an idea of what to expect.

This is an idea of how I want the title card to be like to give a feeling for what the film will be like.

This is the model sheet for them main Man character.

This is the model sheet for The Mechanic character.

This is my design so far for the machine but I may have to change the size of the coin slot and number dial.

This is a quick mock up of the surface set a made to get an idea for the scale of the characters and the lighting of the set.

I did the same for the cave set. Making this helped me work out how big the cave would need to be and how I would build the cave.

This is one of my colour script pages to give you an idea of the contrast and flow the film will hopefully have.