Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Stop-Motion Puppet - "Schnug-He"

Meet Schnug-He. He's a stop-motion puppet I'm going to be using for section breaks in the film. He'll be a part of short 10 or 15 second animations with his nemesis Rhumbah. There will be more about these animations later but right now I wanted to take you through the steps of creating him.

First some sketches. This is where I was trying to find out how I wanted the character to look.
As you can see I had a rabbit in mind from the beginning, but I needed to bring a bit more into the mix. Finally I settled on the general design below.

Here is a simple turn around I would use for the design and armature layout.
The sketch is messed up a bit because when making the armature I actually lay the materials out on the sketch for measurements and my hands were usually wet or messy. Below is the same sketch but with the armature sketched out on top.

From here I made the armature. This technique I learned from Becky Wible-Searles in my Stop-Mo classes at SCAD. It's simple 16-gauge armature wire twisted for durability and a plumber's repair epoxy to form the stiff welds. This works to create a skeleton or armature that I can pose.

Next came the masses of the body created around the armature.
I made this using foam rubber and contact cement. It is a technique I learned making hand puppets. You cut the flat foam rubber in shapes that, when glued together create the forms you see. 

Now I covered it with a material called antron fleece or Muppet fleece. It comes in white but was dyed to this color.
I didn't have to cover the entire puppet because it would be wearing a robe over most of its body. Many times when I use the antron fleece I use a sewing machine but this time I was able to do this with only a hot glue gun. 

Here's the robe. Made with regular material and a sewing machine.

A lot happened after this step. The details came with a few mistakes followed by creative problem solving. Here's what came out.
What came out was kind of a rabbit/insect/dinosaur/cyborg/Jedi alien.

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