28 May 2011

Puppet updates Part 1

It’s been a while since I have posted any updates on my work. As I have left uni for the summer, I now think it is time to give you guys some news and images from my new puppets and new animations over this week.  In this update I will be focusing on my steam punk styled puppet. 

Steam Punk Puppet:

In my last post I had only got to the final A4 design stage of the steam punk puppet. The puppet is now completed and I this post will show how I made it.

To make a basic armature I took 3 metre length pieces of wire and twisted then together, looping the ends of the wire for the hands and feet. I then twisted a thinner wire it around the arms and legs to keep them in place. To give the puppet the look of human joints, I took some wooden lollipop sticks, cut them to size and glued them to the right arm and legs. Metal plates were also added to the feet so I could use magnets to hold the puppet to the set.
As this puppet is wearing real fabric clothing, I had to wrap the armature in pillow stuffing so the clothes will bulk out in a realistic way. To give me a grabbing point on the puppet when animating, I cut away the stuffing from the chest area and placed a block of foam there, holding it in place with milliput and glue.

I then started working on the long frock coat. To make this I drew the shape and cut it out, making sure to leave a half inch gap around the outline. I left this so I will have room to stitch in the wire all around the outline, in order for me to animate it. I then repeated this process to add the red lining to the inside of the coat. To add the sleeve I took a strip of fabric, sewed it into a tube shape and then stitched the red fabric and wire into the inside of the tube. 

I then stitched the sleeve to the inside of the coat using little tabs I cut in the top. To make the shoulder pads and the remaining part of the ripped off sleeve, I made the shapes out of a light cardboard and glued them on with PVA glue. Once the glue had dried, I took small strips of the fabric dipping them in PVA glue to cover the cardboard so two fabrics blend in.To make the trousers, I drew out a flat outline of them onto the fabric. I cut this shape out and using this shape re-drew around them on more fabric. I then cut that piece out and stitched the two halves of fabric together. Once the trousers were all sewed together I then turned them inside out and put them on the puppet.
The head is sculpted out of super sculpey, using my tools to add and smooth the details into the face. The face of this puppet is half normal and half burnt and damaged. To get the scaled look and burnt texture to that side of the face, I used the rough grip handles of my tools to roll over the sculpey to create it. The hair is made out of same the stuffing I used to wrap around the armature, coloured with chalk pastels, cut and glued it to the head. To give it that half burnt look, I used more PVA glue on the burnt side then the not burnt side to flatten the hair so it looks singed. 

The top hat was made in the same way as the shoulder pads were, first making it out of cardboard, then covering it in PVA glue and fabric.  The biggest difference was that when it had dried I went over it in permanent marker to add more texture to it.

I then started on the paintwork for all the sculpey and milliput parts. To paint the burnt half of the face I did a number of dry brush cotes of  the first one was a light orange with  small highlights of purple, red and yellow around the face. I went over all that side of the face very softly with a light cream to highlight the textures.
I moved on to the robotic arm and foot. I painted this arm with two different shades of brown. I used a dark brown first to paint the entire arm. The second was a lighter brown highlighting the different details of the arm. I repeated the same painting process on the robotic foot. 

The props were all made out of milliput and painted the same way as the robotic arm, then added to the puppet using PVA glue. The first prop added was the mechanical eyepiece with it string to the face. I then added backpack by slipped it over the puppets shoulder and covered the entire backpack with PVA to keep it in place.

When looking at the puppet the mechanical pieces on it did not have the appearance of copper and were not they steam punk. To help with this I got hold of some copper paint and gave all the mechanical pieces a light dry brush coat of copper. This gave all the parts a good copper metallic shine that completed the puppet.
Now that the puppet was complete the only thing left to do was to start animating with it. And here are the first set of animation tasks I did with this puppet.

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