7.21.2006

Nola 2, Ready to Rumble

I do believe that she is done, chaps. Considering the coming animation tests go well, I think its safe to say this is Nola as she will appear in the final film. Probably not this very puppet, but one like it. She should be very easy to replicate, I'd say 2-3 days of solid work at first. As promised, here's a better rundown of the fabrication.
This time for tie-downs, I used T-nuts. I looked around the hardware store and chose these because of their little teeth, good for gripping the armature wire foot loop and the epoxy clay. After making the armature, giving her bones, and attaching the scalp, I coated her in liquid latex, 2 coats, thicker in some areas like the knees. Then I started padding her with foam. I used an old porous piece of upholstry foam, cut out a cylindrical shape for the torso, two arm tubes, and a few small pieces to use for the boots (the shin parts, the toe, and the heel) . I attached these to the puppet with small drops of superglue, to secure them in place (to areas where there is an epoxy putty bone, so as not to glue up the bendy bits), then trimmed the foam to the shapes I wanted, and coated them with thinned down latex, many coats that absorbed into the foam...for the boots I built the latex up on top until I could create texture, allowing the foamy parts to show through in some places, which when painted almost looks like canvas...once I had latexed the sleeves and torso foam (to give it a little bit more stiffness, and seal it in place), I found a material to use for the coat, an old pair of pajama pants, the thin flannel kind. I cut pieces to fit the puppet, sort of wrapping it around and trimming, and attaching it with dabs of superglue, sleeves first then torso. Then I painted on the little flap of the coat, where the buttons are, with liquid latex.
The paintjob. I decided to go with a bluish grey, gave the whole coat a coat, then highlighted the flap, and some shoulder areas, with a lighter grey, and added a thin wash of black to other areas. The stitches are painted on, the buttons are hardened little bits of clay glued onto the coat and painted to look threaded. The details on the boot are all painted also. I considered giving her boots some laces, or maybe straps at the top, but ultimately I dont think she really needs it.
We'll see how she animates when I take her for her first test run in the next few days...(hopefully)...I'm talkin' sets, spooky lighting, Nola 2, framegrabber, even the new mossy walky board for aimless wandering...

9 comments:

Darkstrider said...

Wooo! I'm gettin' chills here! Maybe that's why she's wearing a coat, huh? Smart girl. She must realize that even though she's given birth now, her real work will take place over the winter.

Great find on the T-nuts... never seen em before. Those might be better than the thumb nuts. I'd super-highly recommend JB Quickweld for bonding metal to metal like this... it's super-duper strong, great stuff.

I'm a little troubled at the latex-soaking though. The parts of her covered with clothes don't need any latex, do they? The clothes in effect are the puppet's skin in those areas. Latex soaked into foam is no picnic pal. I know, it happened to my blacksmith puppet, and he was extremely disgruntled about it. Nick uses a couple layers of spray adhesive first to seal the surface of the foam, then a light coat of latex (but again, only where latex is really needed). Or better yet, just a couple coats of spray adhesive followed by a bit of paint. Yesm paint right over the foam. It's how he did the wings for Marco Pollo, his chicken. I was flabbergasted!

I'm not sure I believe you about all the painted on details... come on! The stitches..... the button stitching! No way! It's real, right? Come clean man, you'll feel better!

sven said...

Yay! Thanks for the detailed run-down on fab, bro!

...I have to say, I had the same reaction about painting layers of latex onto the cushion foam. Hopefully your animation tests will prove the fears wrong, but I worry that Nola will be overly rubbery.

I did some tests painting latex directly onto foam a few months back, and hated my results. I asked Mike about it, and he passed on the tip about using spray glue to close up the foam's pores -- suddenly everything made sense.

(Granted, I haven't given the technique a solid test since then -- having been bent on doing cast puppets. So I probably oughtn't even be saying anything...)

...Hey -- if it works, right? Nola is gorgeous, man. Congratulations again, and thanks for giving a window in on her construction!

Ubatuber said...

I think she'll be OK, I thinned the latex down quite a bit, and trimmed excess foam inside the 'torso cone', so she's mostly hollow, except where the foam is attached to the skeleton....this way I can still reach up her coat and adjust the armature if I need to, almost all the way up to the shoulders...
Thanks for the tip about the spray glue, hadn't read that one before...seems like it would give you a nearly-foam-latex feel, I'll definitely try it out...

Darkstrider said...

I haven't tried it myself yet either, but I'm sure the coating of latex, even if it doesn't soak in to the foam, will still be thick and - as Nick puts it so aptly - "bend like a rubber boot". But I think it should work out the way Nola is made.... her joint areas look like they;re pretty skinny, basically just latex right over the wire? That will work. It's really only when you want to build up thikness with the foam that bending becomes an issue.

herself said...

Sensational! These shots look amazing, J.

Grant said...

I thought the stitches and buttons were real from the previous photos. It's like a magician revealing the secrets of an illusion. 8-) Nice behind the scenes info as usual. The puppet looks like it will be fun to animate.

Ubatuber said...

Thanks peoples :)

Ale said...

Lookin' great as usual Jeff!
Hey check this stopmo production out:
http://www.windmillboy.co.uk/

I'm sure you and Mike will dig it!

Darkstrider said...

Wow Alejo, that's incredible! What a fantastic site, and the clips rock totally! Can't wait for the DVD to come out.

I hope you don't mind, I made a post at SMA about this, giving you full credit for pointing it out to me.