Friday, December 19, 2008

Work continues on my 'robot head', but a little slowly during the Christmas season. It's not really 'work' per se. Alot of staring into space, rummaging through boxes of dodads and hardware, making little sketches, staring at the thing, scratching my head, and wondering what i'm going to do next.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In case anybody was wondering, the expressiveness of my animated heads is going to be pretty low. A bit of a weak spot in the film. But there ain't that much I can do about it; replacement heads isn't much of an option (probably using HDR photography, which shows up every little texture variation that isn't even visible to the naked eye). And what i'm doing already is ambitious enough for the time I have. Almost too ambitious; seems a little naive in retrospect that I thought I could whip up an animatable head in a short period of time. And none of it is turning out to be easy.

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.
Resin head is okay too. Going to need some reinforcement - it's very brittle and pronse to snapping as is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've finished latexin' up the impression, and just swished around coat #2 of fiberglass resin. The stuff smells. Like boats. Once it's thick enough to hold its shape, i'll be able to take the whole thing out, and see if it worked. I'm a bit concerned that I  missed parts with the lacquer, and the latex mask has bonded to the latex impression. We'll see.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I figgered it. After trying two different mold relsease materials (2 parts methyl hydrate to 1 part dish soap and 'mold lube') which failed completely, I finally figured out a way to make liquid latex not stick to itself; I sprayed the latex mold with lacquer. In my test sample, it didn't stick at all, not even the teeniest bit. The above picture shows the mold with lacquer, and with the first 'latex pour' after brushing the first coat. Just like it says; pour the latex in, brush out the edges, then drain the excess. Makes it nice and even-like.

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 liquid latex is giving me a hard time. It sticks to nothing at all; 2 part 5 minute epoxy glue won't bond it to itself. The only thing it sticks to is itself (even when applying over well-cured latex). And I need to make it not stick to itself. I'm trying version 2 of a mold release - the first one got beat. Once I get over this hurdle (hopefully), that'll be it. Shouldn't be anymore little problems preventing me from getting on with it.

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.
The pink thing is an alginate test cast of the inside of the rubber impression. It's full of bubbles (another indifferent casting job), but it tells me what it needs to, that the rubber impression came off without any glitches.
Aside from the more glamorous stuff, i've been doing inumerable little tests. The plan is to make two halves of a full-head liquid latex mask, which i'll then attach (in certain points) to a resin shell. I was thinking that I had to account for the thickness of the rubber mask when making the resin shell, and somehow cast the inside of the rubber mask. But a previous attempt with the mask told me that I might not have to; can just stretch the mask a little bit over a resin shell of the exact same size. It'll increase the size of the head slightly, which would be good.
But I have to figure out;
Will liquid latex bond to itself, and if so, what kind of mold release will work
Will epoxy glue bond the latex to cured fiberglass resin
Will fiberglass resin bond to the rubber impression; if so, mold release.
Can I make the shell out of pure resin, or do I need to embed reinforcement in it
Is the resin going to be brittle enough to saw and cut
Is the resin going to be so brittle that bolts will crack it
What colour and how much do I have to tint the rubber mask
Is the rubber mask going to be opaque enough so that the whole thing won't be see-through in strong light
There's lots more I can't think of of the top of my head. Point is, there's all sorts of ways for it to not work. And i'd like to forstall all those potential screw ups to make this thing work.
Made a plaster cradle for the rubber impression to sit in, to help it hold its shape when i'm layering latex in it.

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

Sometimes I forget that you only get points for finishing things. And for what it looks like in the final film. If it's made of chicken wire and newspapers, it's just as good as titanium and fiberglass. If it looks the same.

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

Here's the clay bust with the first half of the two-part latex impression, in progress. It feels like it's taking forever, but I only started with the latex yesterday afternoon. I tinted the stuff green because I was having a hard time seeing the edge with the latex drying clear. Plus, bright green is fun. Hooray!

Hands in progress. I'm making two pairs of hands; i'm always a bit iffy about making more than one of something before I know if the prototype works or not. But i'm feeling lucky with this one. The metal bits are:
5/32" hollow aluminum tubing, with a piece of 1/8" aluminum armature wire epoxied inside.
Designed me up some hands today. Needed something else productive to do while coats of latex were drying on the Cornelisz bust. I took a photo of my hand, made it into a sihouette in photoshop, then printed off a bunch of various sizes.

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.
Here's that failed mask I was talking about. Top right is the mask in the alginate impression. Note white appearance of drying alginate. You can also see the mask wrinkling from the shrinkage. The mask looks pretty good, aside from the blotchy colour. Bottom picture is the mask next to the original clay head. It's too small.
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