10.10.2006

Sequoia, the Armature

His name's Sequoia and he's a Native American god. A vengeful one at that :::) (spider smilies all month long :::P
Today I received my copy of Foam Latex Puppetmaking 101, a fantastic & essential DVD, thanks to Kathi and Zung Studios. Kathi goes through the entire process, molding, casting, seaming, in an awesome hour-long tutorial. I've read online toots many times, but to see it all live....I'm starting to get very excited....scared but excited :::)


I spent the day creating the armature for Quoy (easy nickname, yea? we're buddies...), which was difficult given the measurements of the tiny oven that I'm using. The arms being bent in like that will make the job challenging, I'm considering snipping them off at the tie-down/elbow, but I really want long arms...what to do, what to do....I wouldn't be worried, the sculpt will be thin at the outer extremities, like tapered tree branches, except in the dvd toot Kathi creates a sort of wall of clay around the sculpt that lets the excess foam bleed out into voids in the mold, which makes seaming easier, but I don't think I would be able to create said wall with the limbs being so close together at the bottom.......I did away with the idea of legs and went with more of a walking-root-system kind of thing, and I reluctantly nixed the neck in order to keep him two-part-mold friendly. With the head closer in, I can sculpt it right to the trunk, negating undercuts that would be created by neck-space...the lower jaw wil be sculpted straight out from the head, but will be armatured for posing later, fun stuff!!...the top of the head will be sculpted onto the 'upper-jaw' armature piece...he's got 6 tee-nut tie-downs, in his 4 'roots' and his two 'elbows'...I might slap on the first layer of clay tonight, maybe tomorrow morning, then sculpting heaven for the next week or so...

4 comments:

Darkstrider said...

How tall is that guy? The armature looks awfully wimpy to me... I think I'd twist another wire, maybe two into each section. And I'd probably put a few epoxy putty sections into the spine, so you have those all-important grab points. It's hard to animate a puppet when the armature is lost down inside lots of fluffy foam.

And make sure you wrap it up nice and securely before you slap any clay on it.... makes it much easier to clean off the clay residue later.

sven said...

I had the same thought as Mike about the armature looking a little skimpy... But I suspect you know what you're doing.

With regards to dealing with long limbs: On your first go, you probably want to stick to a simple two-part mold... But if you wind up doing a second version and the oven size remains a constraint, consider K&S plug-ins. Doing arms separately ought not be too big of a deal, since there'll probably be some good gnarly wood texture that can hide your connection points.

Ubatuber said...

Great to have you back Sven! I think the concept of plug-in limbs will be pivotal for me once I get the hang of the foam, seeing Kathi peel the puppets foamy shoe up to reveal the tie-down was just....beautiful :) Youre right, I'm trying to keep this guy simple...
Mike, thanks for the wrapping reminder, I'd completely forgotten :::o I actually decided to hold up and slap the clay tomorrow, so I could get some quickie feedback tonight, glad I did...
I'll also add the grabby spine points, I don't usually work with the thicker wire and didn't consider the slippage factor...he's about 6" tall....I think his limbs will be ok, they're constructed the same as my past puppets' arms....all four will be on the ground, the two smaller upper arms will be at the front and back, (so a tied-down limb at 12 oclock, 3, 6, and 9) and all four limbs will sort of drag him along, so it won't be like the two limbs at the bottom are supporting all the weight, as it kind of appears in the pic?...

Ubatuber said...

In retrospect, I shouldnt have joined the four lower limbs with one ball of putty, I should have the upper two and lower two separated by a bit of twisted wire so that the upper limbs could rotate to the 12 and 6 oclock positions....
I'll just have to deal....