Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm going for an opening and closing mouth, at least, and moving eyeballs. I'm attempting to make animatable eyebrows, but I might have to go back to plan B, which is adhesive backed eyebrows that I can move around on the forehead. I'm also going to feel out the possibility of more movements around the mouth area, but not sure how successful that's going to be.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Mask turned out okay. No catastrophic suckage going on. The mask looks rough; partly due to the original sculpting job. It's also quite glossy, which shows up all the suckiness. Should look better when it's matte, and painted. This is also going to be an expirement to see how fixable it is. We'll see if i'll be able to fill in lines, trim off bits, etc.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
If anyone reading this attempts the same thing, I recommend gloss lacquer, so it's easier to tell where you have and haven't lacqered, and thin-ass coats. If it drips, it's all over.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
The fiberglass resin is good; very strong and hard, and it doesn't stick to cured latex.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Well, the rubber impression worked. It's nice and thick and holds its shape well. And it's good that it's flexible. Wouldn't have been able to peel it off the clay head otherwise. Which is why I did it with rubber.
A couple test casts. Lots of bubbles; it was an indifferent casting job. Just for fun. The one on the left is from my first failed rubber impression of the face. Not strong enough to hold its shape, and full of creases. I filled it with plaster and turned it upside down. Which is why its so squished. The one on the right is from back in the alginate days.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Which is to say that I need to stop thinking in terms of just putting in hours. Like 'I had a good day because I worked for 10 hours'. Instead of finishing things and getting the ball rolling.
I keep putting coats of latex on the clay bust, but I swear it ain't getting any thicker. At least not to the point where it's going to be adequately rigid.
Monday, December 01, 2008
I did a couple photoshop tests to see how big I would like the head to be, ideally. Not much bigger than what I have, actually. I've found that i'd like a tiny bit more bulk on the sides, and another 1/8" on the chin. These things can be fudged with the hair and beard. And the hat. So that means that i'm using the one I have. Which is nice, as I really wasn't looking forward to going back to square one.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So, i'm going to do liquid latex impression in two separate halves, and then try to marry the two resulting latex halves together by painting the seams with more liquid latex. Should work.
I'm also going to make the impression super-ass thick. I'm going to buy a big enough container of the stuff that I can just dip it in everytime I want to put a new coat on. Should be really fast to do.
I'm also fairly sure i'm going to redo the clay head. It's just not quite big enough, and it's bugging me. Should be fairly easy the third time around though. It's not too discouraging; it's always better once you've had a practice run. And I would have been bummed if the key piece of sculpure for the film, that's going to get the most screen time, wasn't as good as it could have been. After all, it's only about 10-16 hours of work in a project involving hundreds and hundreds of hours of work.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I've also solved another problem; up to now, i've been endeavoring to cast the heads in two separate halves - that means that i'll end up with a prominent line where the two halves meet on the finished thing. Not a problem for this head, as the beard covers it. But none of the other characters have beards.
I've found that I can cover the entire head with liquid latex (thereby taking the impression with one piece only), and then peel the whole thing off inside out.
The stuff has different working properties than I thought; I applied very thick poured-on coats, and dried them partially with a hair dryer. Then I put more on. That is to say, I was able to build up a very thick layer in one evening. When I was making the rubber mask for my previous failed attempt, I was putting on very thin coats and letting it dry for half a day. You can really go hard with the stuff, and it will still cure & dry evenly.
So now i've got a complete rubber mould of the head. I'm going to take a test cast of the face area with alginate to make sure the details transferred correctly. Then i'm going to make the rubber mask, by pouring latex inside the other one, swishing it around, and draining out the excess.
Boy, i'm getting pretty sick of this crap. I'd like to begin making a film already.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Doing the actual shooting doesn't seem intimidating at all by comparison. I feel like i'll be able to knock off shots very quickly.
I put the first coat of liquid latex on my alginate impression. The alginate is still sweating a bit. I hope it doesn't interfere with the drying of the latex. I did a test already to see if it would work, and it did. But these hunks of alginate contain alot more water than my test peices.
I bought a couple different brands of liquid latex - turns out they vary quite a bit. One is thick, one is very watery. They both have their uses.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Top picture is the head after the last pour. I found that using alginate on bare clay causes lifting of the clay, and can damage fine edges. Two very thin coats of lacquer fixed that.
The alginate is giving me grief. I did a whole bunch of expensive tests (alginate ain't cheap), to determine the working properties of this thing. Then I made a little box with the clay head inside, and poured off mould number one. The stuff didn't quite make it into a few crevices, and I haven't figured out how to get the air bubbles out of the stuff. So the surface of the resulting mould is pock marked with holes. I'm going to try again today; gonna try mixing the alginate powder into water, and not the other way around. I'm also going to try making it much thinner, so it won't hold the bubbles.
The other problem with the stuff; the thing won't stop 'sweating'; it's been overnight with the first mould, and it still feels wet and slimy. I expect that the sogginess will interfere with the liquid latex that I intend to pour in there.
This casting is also leaving the clay bust a little worse for wear. I'm going to coat it with lacquer today as well, to prevent re-wetting of the clay.
I hate casting stuff.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Otherwise, today is going to be making little liquid latex samples for tests. And hopefully casting the clay head with alginate, and starting the buildup for the finished product.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I intend to lay out all my steps with details; maybe somebody reading this someday will benefit from what i've learned.
Now that i've got an un-sucky head, i'm going to cast the whole thing in alginate (fast setting dentist's moulding material). I'm going to do a test first to see how it reacts with unsealed clay - whether or or not it damages or contaminated the surface. May have to use a mould release.
Having covered the whole thing, i'm going to cut the hardened alginate into two halves, making the cut on a line that will be covered with facial hair on the finished product.
Then i'm going to build my rubber mask with liquid latex. The test was successful; I wasn't impressed at first - the shit seemed to be about as strong as rubber cement and very delicate. After you get multiple coats on though, it becomes suprisingly tough and flexible.
The next hard part will come after that; i'm going to have to find a way to cast the inside of the resulting mask with hard resin. The hard resin will be my basis for the 'robotics', which i'll be hacking and sawing etc.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
I've been sanding the thing lots, with fine sandpaper. Ain't doing alot, but it's doing something. Cleaned up a few areas. There's a few shots where the camera gets really close into the face. Has to look good that close.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
There's a theory out there that the making of every film mirrors the film itself. I hope not. This shit ain't exactly Bambi.
Now that i've got a 90% suck-free head, i've got to turn it into a lightweight, articulated head that can make facial expressions, and junk. How? Not totally sure yet. I'm going to use science, and willpower.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
For the next couple of days, i'm doing wee tests with materials; liquid latex, resin, etc. To see how much flex they have, drying times, etc. It's pretty dull, so there's not much to look at.
I'm still waiting for Corn Dog's head to be dry enough to sand. Because i'm so smarty-pants, I know not to put it in the oven to make it dry. I discovered a while ago that that makes the object explode into a bunch of clay shrapnel.
Monday, November 03, 2008
That's it; no more wet clay working. I'm gonna let the sumbitch dry out now. I'll be doing some more detailing when it's dry - sanding and whatnot. I'm not finishing that sort of work now - everytime I touch the thing, it gets scratched, junk stuck in it, etc.
The thing fell over twice, and smashed the nose up. The first time it was fine, cause I had to rework the thing anyways. But the second time was a bit counter-productive.
The thing is improving slowly. Well, not slowly at all really; i'll work for 15 minutes and then find an excuse to stop. Working on it is like holding my breath. But it ain't too bad. It's looking more and more like the character I picture in my head. I extended the chin, and worked on the mouth a little.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I tossed a little photoshopping on one of the pics to see how Cornelisz would look with his beard, chops, and crazy-ass hat. I'm going to be able to hide alot of suckage with those things. He's looking a little piggish.
My end goal is to make him a little more vulture-like. My model is my friend Jim Laing.
I've finally got over the hurdle; i've managed to make something that I don't want to smash. The 'Kevin Nash' press mold worked pretty good - the press mold impression produced was far from perfect, but it gave me enough of a foundation to work around (proper human proportions) that I wasn't floundering around, not getting anywhere. It's still pretty rough, and I haven't devoted any attention to the mouth yet. But the light is at the end of the suck tunnel.
It became clear pretty quickly that I wasn't sucessfully making this thing look like Johannes, who is a young guy of around 16 - it was coming out a bit mean-looking. So I said to hell with plan 'A', and decided to make this character Cornelisz (the bad painter) instead. It may be a mistake - the idea was to make the first armature a character with minimal screen time, as a 'practice' armature to work out the kinks. So maybe i'm making a mistake. Screw it, i'm doing it.
I'm also intentionally going for a pretty realistic look - not terribly stylized in the facial proportions. I'm trying to make the overall appearance more eerie by it's closeness to reality, but neccessary degree of removal from it.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Not liking clay very much. I just don't have a great grasp of the anatomy of the human head. Spent about an hour fighting with a lump of clya, pushing and pulling the stuff back and forth. I could sense the whole time that I really didn't have much of a sense of what the goal was, or how to get there.
The next plan is to make a big push mold from a plastic head I bought. It's not the ideal face for my character, but I figure it'll get me a properly proportioned face right off the bat, which I can then edit to look like my character.
My plans for the head mechanism, casting etc. are a little vague, but i've got ideas. It's essentially going to be a rubber mask extending to the hairline that i'll put over top of a resin cast head containing the moving bits. Hopefully it works.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
I'm aiming for proper human proportions with this character - going to be steering for realism overall. I think there's a degree of removal with stop motion animation, likewise with puppeteering - the real within the unreal-looking. I also think there's an eeriness that increases in degree the closer you get to realism. The familiar, but with one degree of removal - like seeing your dad clean shaven after decades with a beard. For example.
Of course it's key that it still ring as unreal; don't want the puppets to ever be mistaken for real actors (not that there's much chance of that happening).
Now all I needs is hands and feets. Feets will be easy; hands are dependant on tests with liquid latex.
Head is going to be interesting.
Here's Johannes doing some slutty Vogue poses, each sluttier than the next. I gave him a smaller than average waist and chest. The result being he's a little girly. Which is fine, as he is supposed to be young.
The foam scultping may prove to be overkill; we'll see when I get some clothes on him.
I'm being suprised at how easy this is so far; everything is working on the first attempt, without any major backtrack-requiring glitches. It's also not taking very long at all. Which might be a first for me - always seems to take three times as long as I expect, and cost four times as much.
The pink stuff is 1" polyurethane insulating foam. I hated the stuff at first, but now i've got the hang of how to shape it without it crumbling and breaking. It's also very forgiving; if I don't like a part, I just shave it flat, epoxy on a new piece, and then shape that bit.
I don't intend to get too fancy with the body mass - it's just to fill out the costume.
Another quick armature test. Still working good. Though, wooden joints don't move smooth like - tends to be jerky - stopping and starting. Gonna put some powdered graphite lubricant on them. Should fix the problem.
Added some cheesy camera shake just for shits and giggles. I'm probably going to be doing that more than I initially planned. I'm not sure if my 'painterly' asthaetic is going to survive. Might end up just going for 'cinematic' and 'neat-o'.
I've also realized another major benefit to greenscreening armatures into scenes; motion blur. If you play back video frame by frame, you'll see that objects in rapid motion are actually very blurry. Stop motion animation, by contrast, is crystal clear in every frame. Therefore, motion blur is going to add realism, and also disguise sucky-ass animation. I intend to do a good job with the animation, but any opportunity to cheat i'm going to take.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Pretty much finished the first armature. Sure was easy. Though I can't wait for the glitches to become apparent later. That's okay though - that's what this first armature is for. Still need the hands and feets attachments; going to hold off on that for a while until I decide exactly how they're going to be.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I'm a bit leary about it - not using standard materials - mostly wood. Though this is for the least-used character (the first armature), so its okay if its a bit of a reject.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The only other notable addition today is a ladder; a real gnarly one. Its based on a spindly warped one I found on the internet while trolling for images a while ago. I added the ropes and whatnot. It was a bit of an afterthought, but i'm glad I made it.
It will sit in two places throughout the film; on the left, and right in the middle while in use. While on the left, it serves to balance out the composition. Note the diagonal rope; this is to continue the curve that starts on the floor. When the ladder is in the middle, it lets me make nicer compositions; I like having some dark lines on one side or the other. Still have a couple more chores to do today on the thing - tommorrow I start on the huge armature.