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November 6, 2006

Q&D - 2nd pup done

by sven at 11:59 pm

(Q&D = "quick and dirty")

Tonight I finished the second puppet for my "quick and dirty" animation project: "dad." The construction process was nearly identical to what I did for "son."


I made the armature out of annealed aluminum wire and plumber's epoxy putty. There are nuts in the feet for tie-downs. There's an extra loop of wire and epoxy that comes off of the "skull" so I can have a movable jaw.


I used 1" wide strips of 3/8" thick cushion foam to bulk out the armature. I fixed everything in place using athletic tape.


To help smooth out the shape and hold everything together, I used athletic underwrap (a thin foam bandage).


I used multiple coats of cheap acrylic paint to give "dad" a ghastly appearance. I sprayed him with a coat of gloss varnish, then two coats of matte varnish. The spray varnish seems to have eaten away the acrylics in places. Next time I'll only use matte varnish -- and thinner coats.


The clothing was improvised as I made it, using Fabri-Tac to glue fabric directly onto the foam. It's pretty rough looking, but I'm pleased with some of my detailing. I gave the shirt a pair of cuffs, a collar, and a strip of fabric where the buttons go. The buttons are made from blue paper that I punched using an extra-small hole punch. The belt is made from black card stock, and I glued little cloth belt loops over it. The belt buckle is a piece of scrap brass from when I was making brass armatures.

The son and dad look great standing next to each other... But they also look like two separate species. I think I should do more character sketches, to find a more consistent look.

The foam wrapping worked out better than what I did for Percy... But it'd sure be nice to have a puppet body that's been cast from foam latex or silicone, so the contours aren't so lumpy and lop-sided. (Of course, a lot of that is probably attributable to this being "Q&D.")

The clothes aren't bad, for having been glued together... But I find myself thinking about trying a needle and thread or a sewing machine on the next iteration. My main problem area right now is where the sleeves attach to the body of the shirt. The sleeves look OK in one position -- but when I move them around, the fabric pulls in unnatural ways. ...I'm also looking at where the shirt tucks into the pants, thinking that it doesn't look quite right.

I can tell now that I'm going to be pretty frustrated with how the wire armatures behave.

Criticisms aside... Yay! Another puppet done! Now I actually have TWO characters -- who can interact with one another!

posted by sven | November 6, 2006 11:59 PM | categories: stopmo