Thursday, February 26, 2009

Last week of building and making

By Monday I should begin filming! I have finished all the puppets(only small details and cleanup left), and have a few sets to build. So far I have built this table and 3 chairs out of wood bought at salvation army, and some foamcore...

I stained it with some acrylic paint, then sanded it back to get some of the original wood color.

here is the dining room drawers(originally a bright colored jewelery box I painted and sanded and aged) with some of the plates and props on top

a plate on the table

two lovely ebay and thrift store finds. A small kerosene lamp and a teapot that was once a saltn pepper shaker.

the back wall to the farm house, made using fabric and print outs of wood. The wood planks are paper print outs that I bent and folded to look 3d- since I don't get close up on it to need it to be real wood. I made the molding out of foamcore board painted to match the wood printout. On this wall will hang a crucifix and a portrait. the drawers will be up against it with the lamp, and a grandfather clock on the other end.

the farm house for the wide shot of the prairie/farm. You don't get to close to it, it's a background prop

since you don't get close to it, I just printed out some textures of brick and shingles and then wrinkled them up and pasted them onto the foamcore model.

beginnings of a hill

plaster and paper towels to form the hill

looks like snow, but it will get brown tall grass

the beginnings of the wall background for the time clock pig man

it still needs clock faces

o look! a finished octopus!

and a rolling pig man!

the bee lady got some hair

the girl got new eyes(made using paper print out of irises, which I glued onto the old hardened clay eyes, then covered with clear nail polish), and some hair. The hair is made of thin sheets of latex which I embedded with armature wire and got glued to her head then painted black.they naturally became wavy when the latex stuck to itself.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Characters almost done!

While none of the puppets have hair yet, I have almost finished the puppets, which is wonderful because it is the most time consuming part of building(though, admittedly, the most fun). On to the good stuff...

Oh Victorian Bee lady ... here is her skeleton and mask. I glue all the parts into balsa wood blocks using my favorite adhesive, gorilla glue. Gorilla glue has been many a savior. It expands to fill in all the gaps in my pre-drilled holes, and dries as hard as a rock. Very important since I don't want these limbs jiggling out of place after I sew clothes on.

See that string wrapped around her lower body? I was a dumbnut and didn't use enough wrapped wires to support her upper body weight. This string doesn't work well either, which you will see I had to reinforce in a moment. The build up on all hands is Mold builder latex over plumbers epoxy and wire.

Oh, the heads proved to be particularly troublesome.... I detest the idea of using foam latex(time? money? machinery? I dunno), so in the plaster molds I created masks by building up the latex layer by layer. Many a time I was impatient and globbed it in the mold, only to be punished by it never drying underneath the top layer. Blowdriers are my new best friends.

After they all dried, I pulled out the masks and tried to figure out the best way to attach them to the body... I tried something new and bought this foam insulation spray from Home depot called "Great stuff" that is meant to be used in closing up gaps in your windows and walls etc... It expands and hardens into a hard styrafoam texture. I sprayed this in with the masks face down and the neck wires propped up into the empty head cavity.

Actually, at first I bought the "flexible" kind which ended up being as soft as packing peanuts. I had to carve it out of the heads and spray in the "rigid" stuff. It hardens in 8 hour, but after about 4, I was able to shave away the excess around the craniums to be some sort of skull shape. It was perfect and not heavy. I can move the heads around with ease without the heads coming loose.

I love me some knobbly fingers. This 3nd layer of skin. I mixed acrylic paint with latex and started first with a white layer, then a translucent brown, then a pale greeney blue, which is what you see here, there is another light brown layer I add next for the shadows and dirtying up. but the hands here need more pale color to soften the hands.

this is the reinforcement I was talking about. My mom kept calling her the bobbleheaded bee lady, so I went wild with the wire wrapping and now she is secure and animates more easilly.

aha! the eyes I made out of sculpy (an eggshell color), and posed holes in them before baking with a toothpick. They need some shine so later today I will put a gloss on them. Around the eyes I placed some purplish sculpy I mixed and then painted a layer of clear latex over it to keep it in place and glue it to the face. the eyelids will be in the same color clay when I need them.

fixed the hands

hellooo. She needs hair badly. and her wings have not formed yet. I didnt get a good pick of the outfit yet but it has oodles of black lace and looks quite swell.

here is our farmgirl. The mask with these temporary wooden eyes I tried out. Many a corpse in the background after I put the heads on with that foam insulation stuff.

this is during one of the MANY failed attempts to fix her eye socket area. I did some plastic surgry here and gave her eyebrow implants with some clay and latex. It was bad. looked swollen. But her outfit is done!

these swollen eyes! Ever seen Rainman? "It's bad... it's bad..."

I know you may not be able to tell a difference here, but I can, I punched the sockets in so they go deeper.

now they still look "blackeye"ish, but not swollen. I am considering buying some realistic doll eyes today to separate her from the other world figures. we'll see. the black isn't working for me. I want an unsetling realistic eye.

the praying mother. needs gray hair in a low bun I think.

the father. no eyelids yet. You never see them with their eyes open anyway.

the farmgirl's future legs. The first 3 coats(a pale blue, then a purple, then a white). It already has the next 2 layers, not pictured here(a red/orange, and a translucent layer of yellow latex)

octopus. he needs to be paled down and a layer of transcluent yellow latex to make him look slimy

So, in the middle of all this working, sometimes I need to eat. And on this particular day I wanted pancakes(the crepish kind, but of the swedish persuasion where they are a little thicker and eggier, but with german toppings- lemon and powdered sugar). This is ENTIRELY on accident... but after pouring I noticed they look like two heads back to back. Don't they? see the silhouette?

Pig time man. I made a mask for him, but wanted it elongated, so I ended up adding foam and cotton on top to make it a longer face. no ears or mustache or top hat yet. he will have cogs and wheels on his lower body and will be a bit of a steampunk character.

string fate man- you can see here how I cut holes out in the sockets and have a layer of van aken clay behind the eyes. I put this in before the foam insulation. I like a bed of clay for the eyeballs to have some traction .

dude only has half an upper eyelid, but that's ok for now

I am gonna start updating more often so these aren't in such big bunches.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

And so it begins...

This crazy wonderful music video project has begun. I have been working on it for weeks, prop hunting and scavenging through thrift stores and online collecting cogs and gears and wire and rubber. I love the hunt. It's something I don't get to do when I do other computer animations.

If the San Fernando Valley is good for anything(and really, there's only a couple things it's good for), thrift shopping is one of them. After weeks of searching through every single thrift store in the Thousand oaks area, I was left disappointed and pessimistic because everything here is overpriced and hoity toity. even a piece of scrap tin is considered "antique" and worthy of shelling over 100 bucks. Not so in antique row in the Valley. I scored oodles of items for under 20 bucks. Clocks and flowers and odd metal thingies. I also went to the Santa Fe salvage in downtown los angeles, which turned out to be too damn expensive, but eventually led me to finding this wonderful magnificent place...

a prop shop liquidation center in the middle of the warehouse district. I love garage sales, so when I saw a "HUGE GARAGE SALE" sign on the main road, I had to make a quick stop. I had no idea it was a huge prop shop until I turned the corner. HUGE I tell you. currently it is full of old props from Disney films. They are adding a bunch more studios soon.. I guess they recently opened. This is what it looks like inside...

and here are some of the clocks I found, some from the valley thrift stores, and the rest from the prop shop.

and this I did not buy, but I found in the 99 cent store. I was mildly disturbed.

And now, a somewhat chronological barrage of what I have been doing.

Storyboards. I never like doing them, I am bad at doing them, so take these as you will. They mostly make sense only to me, I don't like to waste time on doing beautifully drawn storyboards, so they are a bit hazardous. These are only for the first half of the film, the rest are written out since the image is too complicated to draw and be useful.

some small props made out of clay

Very rough sketches of the characters in real scale

the main farmgirl

and her head in clay ready for plaster

one of the antifates, a victorian gothic queenbee lady

and her clay head waiting to be made into a plaster mold

a sad rendition of the clock/time man, he now has a pig head(still with a mustache and top hat though)

his piggy head made in clay

the string man

and his clay head, ready for plaster mold making, and eventual latex mask

the farm parents

their clay heads

The farmgirl's head covered in plaster

after a horrendous scare, in which I was trying to make plaster in the kitchen, with my 3 and 6 year old cousins crawling over my back to see what I was doing, I am rather surprised this first mold came out perfectly! The plaster was hardening at a stupendous rate, and I thought I had a clumpy first brush on... but here it is! At the present time, I have already layed in the latex.

For some reason I thought I should share this, on my way thrift shopping, a very dumb man thought this would be a good idea. This mattres was going to take flight.

the farmgirl armature- aluminum wire wrapped twice, epoxy putty, wood, and a temporary styrofoam head(eventually to be made of wood and foam and latex)

latex build-up. I use Mold Builder rubber latex by the way. A wonderful, ammonia scented bundle of gooey goodness. Perfect consistency.

The beginnings of the girls future octopus legs for the second half of the movie

a forest of latex hands and tentacles. The hands now have knobbly knuckles and plump fingertips. But I have no pics yet.

the bottom half of the big octopus character that takes the girl into the strange world. this is wire, foam and pantyhose so far.

the octopus head clay scultpure with the foam and wire body

the girl's tentacles with suction cups. I dolloped blobs of latex, waitied for them to partially dry, and then poked the end tip of a paintbrushinto them to make cups.

The underside of the big octopus with cotton and it's suction cups. Hard to see, but trust me.

the foam octopus head with cotton and pantyhose and 1 layer of latex

that's all for now. All of the plaster heads have latex drying in them. Any questions and I am happy to answer!