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December 8, 2005

test: stop-motion puppet armature

by sven at 5:50 pm

Last night after I got back from Super8 class, Gretchin unpackaged her new computer, "Celeste". An important event! An addition to our computing family! Gretchin set the machine to upload all the files from her old laptop, "Eliot"... And suddenly we had an hour and a half to kill, waiting.

I thought to myself: "I wonder if I could build a stop-motion monster puppet in 90 minutes?" --And in a flash, off I ran to the studio.

Above, you see the results. I didn't have time to make arms or flesh the thing out -- but with some scrap wood, wire, and nails, I got a decent head, torso, legs, and feet.

How to attach the wire for joints to the wood? At first I tried wrapping the wire around and between little nails. That was a miserable failure, and actually wound up breaking the wood. So I tried drilling holes and threading the wire through. That worked pretty well -- except in the ankle joints, where the wire remained too loose.

The whole thing stands up pretty nicely if you leave it alone... But if you push it, it'll start to lean. Lesson learned: you need to have thicker joints in the legs, and your thickest joints in the ankles. The whole body is a lever, applying force at the point where the feet meet the floor...

There are holes in the feet so I could use screws to quickly fix them to the set's floor as the puppet walks forward. However, I don't think I'll be doing anything more with this armature. It's not bad -- but not good enough for extended use in animation. That's OK; the point was just to try, and to see what would happen.

This test convinced me that I need to do further research on armature construction. More on that to come...

posted by sven | December 8, 2005 5:50 PM | categories: movies, stopmo