Monday, 26 August 2013

Puppets! in an adventure with amateurs

We're in the new house and we're underway! Sorry for the lack of production updates of late but life got in the way for a moment or two, but myself and my lovely lady, Amy; are finally in our new house and my little setup here is well underway.

This weekend is a bank holiday here in the UK and as always that means it's time for some serious work to get done! And that means puppets! I've taken the plunge, I've made the leap, Clara is finally underway!

Come on, I'll show you. Maybe I'll learn something :)

So I took another pushed casting of my last Clara mould and took to fixing it up, polishing and adjusting here and there, as this will become my actual puppet, I took my time and took the work a little more seriously. For ease of moulding I removed the ears and extraneous details such as eyelids (which will be added as separate pieces, making them easily animatable).

The lower face has been removed, and will be moulded as a separate piece, allowing for replacement animation to take place. For those of you who are unaware, replacement mouths are used extensively in stop motion animation, to facilitate a characters lip-sync, or talking, with a minimum of fuss. Essentially, the puppet's head is one large piece that remains the same for each frame, whereas the bottom area of the face is replaced in each frame with a different mouth shape.... an ooh mouth here, an aaaah mouth shape there; a smile, a frown, whatever.

I set about making a two-part mould of this head piece in much the same way that I did before. Learning from my initial go, I decided upon a more intricate seam line that would allow for easier removal of the piece and ensure no undercuts.
To both test the mould and begin production on the lower half of the face, I decided to take a casting of the mould with a much lighter plaster (as it was the only thing I had to hand) so that I could have a hard positive of the head, against which I could sculpt the lower face.
The first casting didn't go well. While the mould was nicely lubricated and removal of the plaster piece was fairly easy, the hole through which I filled the mould conjested and fooled me into thinking the mould was full when it was still half empty.

The second casting suffered the same issue, and although her nose was lost in the removal process, I did end up with a usable cavity on which to sculpt the lower face.

You can see her that I have left of any mouth details, as this blank face piece will be moulded and cast again and again in plasticine, on which I will sculpt the individual mouth shapes.

Getting excited, I quickly through together a mould box around the face piece and poured in plaster, straight over the sculpt to create a one piece mould.

A word of warning, sculpey will float in plaster if you do not glue it to the bottom of your mould box. I found out the hard way :)

A couple of quick casts later and I had something approaching completion, of the moulding process anyhow.

The final pieces will be cast in newplast plasticine and theres a lot more work to be done in designing and sculpting mouth shapes, but hey, we're building puppets and we're underway!!!

Thanks for dropping by


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Please stand by!

Sorry for the lack of progress this week guys, but we're moving house! It's all gone a bit hectic to say the least, busy packing up maquettes and prop pieces, ready for their new home.

We'll be right back. But for now, a picture to amuse you!