Monday, November 25, 2013

"After The Fact" and mold experimentation

We kept it short and simple this month!  The unicorn puppet from Sassy's Perfect Pet was really really fun for me to make and animate, so this story was written around his character.

The tree was made from bush clippings held together with hot glue.
The apples and worms were made from plasticine clay.

I wanted to try shifting the focus from the unicorn to the apple by turning the lens in small increments between frames.  I normally try my darndest to avoid touching or bumping my camera or tripod when animating.  A little nudge comes across as a huge earthquake.  So this felt weird to do, but I was pleased with the results!  I was quite close to the tree.
The worms are pretty sloppy, and the bouncing apple could've been cleaner.  But considering the shorter amount of time I invested, I am happy with this little animation!

Moving on...

Following a YouTube tutorial, I tried creating a plaster mold to use with my liquid latex.  It sort of worked.  I sculpted the character's head in plasticine clay, did some smoothing with rubbing alcohol, and covered it in petroleum jelly as a mold release.
Sculptors won't be impressed, but for my limited skill in this department, it's pretty good.

I made the walls and base out of foam core scrap, and placed the clay in upside-down.
 After the plaster dried, I heated the clay with a hair dryer and pulled it out.  Right away, I saw many many small air bubbles in my cast.  I had followed the package instructions, and added it in quarters, tapping it over and over to get rid of air bubbles.  The google tells me I probably mixed it too dry?  Grrrrr!

Since the clay sculpt was obviously destroyed anyway, I tried painting three coats of latex into the mold.

And  later, out came a little pimply rubber face!
Minus the air bubbles, it's pretty accurate to my original sculpt!  There's nothing supporting the inside, so it looks a little saggy in this photo.  Needless to say, I want to try this process again!

That's all for now, thank you for reading along!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sassy's Perfect Pet

I'm so very proud of this animation!  Rachel and I worked so hard on it.  I have a handful of behind-the-scenes photos I would like to share.

Believe it or not, our original story was more elaborate and complex.  After two weeks of intense set and prop building, we had to simplify things.  Sassy was originally a gingerbread man, but about halfway through production, I told Rachel I wanted to have the Sassy character instead.  Because Sassy WOULD live in a gingerbread house.  She just would. The existing Sassy puppet was too heavy and didn't fit the scale of the set.  Or the props.
Not gonna fit!  So, I made a new Sassy puppet that was smaller, much lighter, and able to be pinned to the set through the wooden blocks in her feet.  

The original Sassy is covered in fabric.  But on a whim, I bought some liquid latex mold builder from Hobby Lobby land.  The printing, or lack of, is hilarious and disturbing.  It's kind of fun figuring out what letters and words should be printed.  I colored it white with acrylic paints.  It would be translucent yellow by itself.
Anyway, this stuff smells terrible, but it was very easy to apply in a build-up fashion.  Here is Sassy when she was just foam and wire:

After one coat:
I believer I applied four coats of latex all together.
Almost done!
The original Sassy puppet has fake eyelashes attached to her clay eyelids.  Painted eyelids and eyes were much less frustrating to animate.  Before I made the executive decision to ditch the eyelashes, I bought some cheapos from the Dollar General:
Is anyone else REALLY super grossed-out at the thought of wearing someone else's hair on their eyes?  Nasty.  And no, they didn't have any plastic ones.  The scary checker made this transaction as awkward as possible,  OF COURSE she asked me if I intended to wear them?  I told her I was buying them for a puppet,  BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T SOUND CREEPY WEIRD?  Yes Jacob, it really does.  <sigh>


The unicorn's guts were made in a similar fashion.  And then sprayed with silver spray paint.
My original black velvet mane looked just a little too creepy.
I thought the tinsel would be too big and floofy, but it actually was totally perfect for this puppet.

I actually made a larger unicorn puppet out of foam and fabric.  I was still in denial regarding the use of tie-downs, and put magnets in hooves made of sugru.  Bad choices.  The sugru broke off and the magnets could not support the rather heavy puppet.  This puppet is cute but ENTIRELY dysfunctional to animate.  The second smaller puppet was sooooo much easier to work with, and I feel a far more original and expressive character.

Another failure was our over-ambitious attempt at a manual panning shot.  Rachel and I spent about 5 hours constructing a track with which to slide the SLR down in precise increments, at the perfect angle.  We were soooooo careful with our moves, but the camera rocked ever so slightly side-to-side.  If we wanted the perspective of a drunk clown descending in a broken hot air balloon, it would have been perfect.
On that dismal note, thanks for reading my first blog post!  I hope it was somewhat interesting!  This was a fun learning experience for us!