Saturday, October 29, 2011

Replacement Heads

I decided to go with replacement heads for the characters. The characters in tomato Soup were made this way and I've found that its the quickest and easiest method when there isn't alot of different expressions needed. Replacement heads also cancel out the need to smooth out any joins in post production if using replacement face pieces like in Coraline.
The first step is to sculpt the two characters heads, for this I used a dark grey Super Sculpey. Sculpey is a modelling clay which can be baked in the oven to harden it.

Here is Gary's head sculpt started, I sculpt with grey sculpey as I find it is the easiest colour to work with. Any imperfections show up easier than with black or white sculpey. From this picture I noticed the right eye was bulging out alot more than the left, I fint that taking pictures as I go along gives a different perspective and you'll see things you never would if you were just looking at the sculpt.
Here is both the character sculpts just before the final baking, Mollie will be baked without the hair as she will have 3 replacement silicone wigs.
After baking I gave both heads a coat of white primer, a light sand and they were ready to be cast.
Looks like this will be a picture heavy post!
Each head was then hot glued to a stick on a base.
Then I hot glued a cardboard tube around the heads. These are now ready to be cast in silicone.
I mixed up a batch of silicone and poured it to fill both tubes, its not shown in the picture but poring is best done from a height  so you get a very thin flow and its also best not to pour directly onto the face, these tips help prevent air bubbles forming in the silicone which may cause extra work later on.
Here is both molds filled with silicone, I left these overnight to ensure they fully cured.
The next night I pulled the silicone out of the cardboard tubes. The next step is to pull the original heads out of the molds. to ensure the mold sits back together nicely I cut it in a zig-zag and made sure I didnt cut into where the face will be. Eventually I got the original heads out and the insides of the mold looked like it had picked up the detail perfectly.
The next step is to pour two part bi-resin into the silicone molds. The resin cures within about 20 minutes so I could do all the heads over one night. Im at the stage now that I have six heads for each character. This should be enough but I always have the option of casting more if needed. The next step will be to alter the expressions on each replacement face, this hopefully will be my next post.

Phew, anyway Ill try get the next post up soon, thanks for reading!!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

It'sa Tree!!

I was going to post about the making of the hands but since I've started work on a tree I thought I'd post up some pics of that first. The film will be set in a park in Dublin on a bright afternoon in the Autumn so I need a big Autumnal tree to set the scene.
I began to create the tree by wrapping wire around a piece of dowel which was glued to a base.
I continued building wire up along the dowel and out to form the branches of the tree. After a lengthy process and a couple of nearly poked out eye incidents the tree looked like this.

I built up the thickness of the trunk by hot gluing balsa wood to the dowel. I then needed to flesh out the tree. For this I cut strips of fabric and wrapped them around the trunk and up to the tips of the branches. I hot glued these in certain places to stop them from unravelling. Here is a picture showing the tree completely covered with fabric.
Once covered I wanted to make the fabric stiff as the wire wasn't stiff enough and would wobble for ages if I was to knock off a branch during animation. To stiffen the tree I mixed up a batch of epoxy resin and painted it onto the tree, drenching the fabric. I left this to dry overnight and by the morning the tree had gone rock solid and was ready to be painted.

I haven't finalized the paint job but I will post up a picture of the finished tree soon.

I'll finish this post with a picture of the leaves for the tree which my lovely girlfriend Lorraine has been busy painting and punching, they really turned out amzing. I cant wait to get these stuck onto the tree and see it in all its glory!!
That's all for now, thanks again for reading!!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Padding out the bodies

The next step was to flesh out the armatures with upholstery foam. Before I did this I wrapped the armature in plumbers teflon tape like this...

I didn't stop to take pictures of this but its basically just a case of completely covering the armature so the foam can't clog the ball and socket joints. This tape is extremely flexible and shouldn't restrict any movements in the joints.

When the armatures were completely covered in the tape I could go ahead and flesh it out with upholstery foam. I got two sheets of foam about 20mm thick, sprayed one side of each with Adhesive Spray ( I use 3M's PhotoMount, its alot stronger than SprayMount) then lay my armature in between the sheets and stuck the sheets together. It was like an armature sandwich with foamy bread and armature filling! :-)
Then it was just a case of trimming the foam to the shape I wanted using a small nail clipping scissors.
Here is a picture with the female character roughly trimmed to size.

I went through the exact same process with the other armature.

To finish off the shaping i wrapped them with thin foam sports wrap, this is the kind of stuff you might put under an adhesive bandage to stop it sticking to skin. A layer af this stuff, again held on with spray adhesive, really smooths off the roughly cut foam.

So thats the bodies shaped, next step will more than likely be moving onto the hands.

Thanks for reading,