Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's alive!

Things keep moving along... I finally have some backgrounds done, which is a relief. I took dozens of photos of the basement set. These two are inside the "secret room" looking into the main basement.

I also completed that stop-motion shot. Right now the door appears to open on its own... but soon there will be a cut-out character opening it.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rolling Along

I feel that I might actually meet my goal of finishing pre production by the end of the winter break. I've made some nice progress on several things, including completing the basement set that I started building in October.

This is the door that grabs Keaton's attentions and lures him and Lloyd into the mysterious basement room where the bread machine is hidden. It's based on a real door I discovered in the basement of Steuben Hall here at Pratt. It's uber creepy looking and even opens onto a wall.

Here's the basement set. It's made out of foamcore and every brick was hand carved into the surface. It's a pain but I think it looks very nice. Keaton races down the steps in opening shot while Lloyd repairs a lightbulb in the ceiling. The lightbulb and the ladder will be added digitally. I'll also be adding the stack of boxes that intially cover the door. This set is a little rickity, which is okay because it won't be used for stop-motion - only as a background for cut-out animation. There is just once tiny instance of stop-motion which will be Keaton opening the door. I'll animate the door opening by itself then digitally add Keaton later.

Finally, here's the baby version of the bread monster. This is a progress stage I forgot to document for his bigger brother. In this photo I've just glued two large piece of foam together to make the "monster sandwich." From this block I can carve most of the monster. I only need to add foam for the tail and head.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

But It's Only Bread Dough...

The first puppet is done!

I added more detail to the face and used acrylic paint mixed with some latex to paint his skin. Latex is extremely easy and flexible to paint, and I think this more than anything else is my favorite thing about it. So... the reason I said that the first puppet is done is that I've realized that I need to make another one. The Bread Monster is a constantly evolving being who grows from a small lump of dough into a hulking dough beast. I'm using a lump of clay for his early form, and this puppet is his final incarnation... and really he needs a halfway point. I'm going to make another latex build-up puppet, only about half the size and far less detailed. Also, he will be fatter with less defined limbs. He should be adorable. One puppet will morph into the other during a shadowmation shot.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Skinning the Beast

I finished foaming and skinning my monster. The skinning took about 1 quarter the amount of time the foam did, which was a nice surprise.

The skin is made from cotton batting soaked in liquid latex. Applying it is like making a skin tight body suit, only precision is not extremely important. I began by making sleaves. It's very easy to hide the seams by rubbing the cotton/latex mix into itself. The more jagged the seam, the better it blends. I really like how this skin looks. It wouldn't be good for every sort of creature, but it sure makes for a nice Dough Monster.

All done! He is now fully skinned and drying ackwardly. I just need to patch up a few thin areas and then I can begin the fun part - detailing his face. Cotton balls dipped in latex make a sort of clay which can be sculpted with some patience. I'll be giving him eyebrows, nostrils, lips, and other stuff. After that's all done I can begin the even more fun part - painting!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sorta Cute

I'm putting off completing the cut-out characters until I'm on winter break next week. I want to concentrate on finishing the stop-motion monster puppet by the end of this semester. I've been experimenting with different techniques since the summer, but didn't begin building the final pppet until this past weekend. I really got stuck on trying to make a very cheap yet professional armature. Originally, I had my heart set on ball and socket but I had some trouble modifying cheap parts and got frustrated. So I switched to wire and brass tubing and tried a few thing out but wasn't satisfied. I've decided to meet in thy middle and make a half ball and socket and half wire armature. So far it is working out swell.

The ball and socket joints can be found in his jaw, neck, and stomach. His arms, legs, tail and tongue are wire. Because he's a dough blob he has no fingers or toes. Of course I am planning on the ball and socket joints needing to be tightened and the wires needing to be replaced, and I think this design is simple enough to allow this to happen without much fuss. I've already replaced the two "toe" wires because they were too weak.

The next step is to make his flesh out of foam. I cut it with a long razor and carefully glued it onto the armaturet with stinky contact cement. After glueing the foam block seen in this photo, I decided to start over and make a sort of "monster sandwich" by sticking the armature between two blocks and cutting out the silhoette. I forgot to take a picture of this.

I then proceeded to make a huge mess as I carved the monster out of the foam block. I'm going to be finding foam for months.

Finally, the monster is taking shape. I used these handy green clips to keep everything in place while the glue dried.

Roar!!! He really is sorta cute. I still have some foam clipping to do, but I'm almost there. The next step is to apply his skin.