2.23.2007

A Tiny Jenny Development


I created this Jenny avatar tonight, digitally added the hair to new foam Jenny from an old Jenny pic, and I realized....instead of spending potentially months trying to get a grip on animating Hydra heads, er, I mean strands of hair, I can do the hair digitally....I'm thinking oil paint animated on glass, similar to my approach for the water...then I can get seaweedy and flowy as I need to......worth testing out....

2.22.2007

Mardi Gras: Behind the Mask

Mardi Gras, for us, is about forgetting the daily struggle. Just blocks off of the parade route you'll find families living in trailers, and entire neighborhoods still wasteland. The Central Business District and the French Quarter have a nice facade going, trying to look clean and polished to attract tourism, because thats our bread and butter, but if you look close enough you'll find traces of Katrina everywhere. The video will focus on the happy, I'll post it once its edited, but its my duty to share a bit behind the mask...



This image is a perfect example: the Superdome with its new gleaming white roof, and hiding just behind, a highrise with its windows still blown out.



Here we have the Orpheum Theatre, some of the most beautiful architecture in the city, just amazing. The poster in the big lighted box outside advertises "a hilarious new stage play that touches your heart and soul"......opening on August 27, 2005 (Katrina hit on the 28th)......I can't help but wonder what happened to the production....


On St. Charles, on the parade route at Lee's Circle, a blue tarped roof and Mardi Gras banners....

2.21.2007

Mardi Gras 2007

Yesterday was beautiful and today its back to the grind. There's always a bit of sadness on Ash Wednesday, another Mardi Gras come and gone. I felt almost as if I were seeing the city through new eyes, thinking about the audience here on the blog and how best to share the holiday with everyone. My wife and I will be teaming up on this one, we've got a lot of pictures and footage to sort through, but I'll be posting soon, and then its back to Jenny G.

For now here's a pic of us...

2.17.2007

Frodo King of Bacchus



Frodo King of Bacchus on Vimeo


Mardi Gras season is officially peaking as I write this, parades rolling in several parts of the city. But tonight I rest :) Sunday is Bacchus, one of my favorite parades, with perhaps my favorite float ever (can you say Kong?) which rolls every year. Then Tuesday is Mardi Gras (don't worry, I'll have my camera in tow :P
I know a lot of the country doesn't understand how we can carry on with the yearly celebration while the city is in such disarray, while people are still living in trailers, fighting with insurance companies, and trying to rebuild, and all I can say is that Mardi Gras is a part of who we are, as individuals, as a people, as a culture...without it we're hollow...it'd be like autumn without Halloween...
So in honor of the long weekend, here's a clip from the vaults. Elijah Wood rode as King of Bacchus in 2004.....

2.14.2007

Foamy Jenny, Ready for Testing

I painted the eyelid, which is kind of scant but enough to hold the eye in, then painted the back half of the eyeball, both black, so when the eye rotates, looks left or right, it looks like the lid is stretching with it....she's all rigged and ready for a test, hopefully later on today....

Tornados

Night before last, at around 3:15 am, I was woken by an unusual and frightening sound. It lasted only long enough to jolt me awake, like a long rolling thunder. I knew we were in for some bad weather, but when I heard the ruckus, I decided to get up and unplug the computer, etc., before heading back to sleep. As I fumbled around in the dark, I waited for that sound again, which at the time I thought had sounded like someone loudly and clumsily moving furniture around on a wooden floor. Turns out thats a fairly accurate description of what was happening....
When I woke the next morning, yesterday, I found that a few areas of the city had been hit by tornados....one touched down minutes from our house, then headed east, away from us. It cut a swath miles long, turned into a water spout as it crossed the Mississippi River, then continued destroying homes on the other side. Many of these people are still heavily into repairs on their Katrina-damaged homes, and now have to start over again. Personally I don't think I would have the strength to persevere. My heart goes out to everyone in the affected neighborhoods.

CNN.com

2.12.2007

The Eye

Tonight I learned something......Jenny has eyelids :) I put a blob of liquid latex in the right socket, pressed the eye in, and shaped the latex with a tiny brush and a wooden sculpting tool.....should set up overnight...

Latex Patchwork

Heres the foamy Jenny with some latex patchwork....While I havent animated this yet, and I'm sure Nick H. will spot the patches from a mile away after the paintjob :), I really am loving the ease of repair. I feel like I can basically resculpt the areas of the face that are missing using the liquid rubber latex, and camouflage with the paintjob...we'll see....here she is all patched up, keep in mind that the only thing I would be using here would be the head....I'll cut away the foam at the top of the neck, remove the torso and neck, clip the armature wire to about 2.5" from the base of the head, and later insert that into a chest block in Jenny 2's body, when done....One concern I have now is the hair...if I go with wrapped wire like last time, I'll need some kind of plate in the top of the head, or holes in the epoxy putty at the top, to anchor the roots solidly without weighing down or bunching up the foam.....
Paintjob coming next, then tests :)


See two rubber latex heads to the left, one is cast as a sort of mask...

EDIT: Here are a couple of pics of the paintjob, she's a bit darker and scarier than the previous incarnation....I've got a couple of new eyes to paint up, then she should make a testy debut in the next couple of days...


2.09.2007

Foamy Pre-Jenny

I made my first Jenny mold almost a year ago after sculpting her head and torso. I knew virtually nothing about puppet construction back then and realized soon enough that this mold wouldnt cut it. So I started sculpting what I dubbed 'Jenny 2', still in-progress. My plan is to mold the Jenny 2 body, cast in foam latex, and use replaceable foam heads cast from the first Jenny mold. I thought I'd resculpt the head, so Jenny 2 would be all in one piece, but she wouldn't fit in my toaster oven, so I'll have to do the head separately.
Today I took the first mold and tried casting her in foam. The mold is just basic plaster of paris and I wasn't sure if it would hold up, so I made a few solid rubber latex heads first, just in case. The Jenny head you've been seeing was cast in solid rubber latex, very heavy but not completely unusable.
I followed the same GM Foam formula as last time, the 'textbook' measurements and times for mixing, and had a second successful foam run. It was warm today, and I did notice the foam getting thicker, faster. I was sure it was going to gel in the mixing bowl but it didn't. It was actually so thick by the end of the cycle that the bowl wouldn't turn on its own, I had to manually spin it.
The plaster mold suffered a few cracks, none interfering with the head, so I think I'll do some repairs and try a second foam casting of the head. This one didn't turn out so great....


I had so many air bubbles in the Tree Beast that I overcompensated when pouring the latex into the mold this time. I hardly pushed the foam around at all, just tapped on the bottom of the mold, and as a result she has big holes in her cheeks, and her lips & nose didn't cast. Fewer tiny air bubbles though :)


I am very excited by the way she feels and moves in foam latex, I think the Jenny 2 body will be perfect. Oh...did I mention that this foamy test Jenny has a test armature inside? Watch for test clips soon.....

2.07.2007

Small Steps with Jenny

Instead of waiting for my day off to get crackin' (again) on the Jenny sculpt, I took a small step and started working on the shape of the left hand before work this morning.....didn't get much done but its got me revved and ready to return.....