Ok, its been a while, life throwing too many tomatoes my way, but lots of good things happening too, and more to tell you about. We are very close to moving into the Skatedog studio now, in fact we should be in there next week with a little luck- the build will begin in earnest then, setting up intelligent responses to lighting rigs and staging- so we're very excited about that. It's going to revolutionise what we can accomplish...
But mostly I have to begin telling you about the robots...this is what I've been sitting on for a while, trying to get the ideas and design together enough to feel it is worth sharing- We have been working on and off on the robots for about a year now, when other projects subsided- and we're getting fairly close now....We wanted to experiment with new joints we had discovered, and it seemed obvious after a little while that it would be useful to start experimenting with these kinds of puppets without immediately having to 'skin' them with Latex or Silicone- so, doubtlessly inspired by equal parts of the 'Terminator' puppet and Preston, the robot dog puppet from Aardman's 'A Close Shave'- in that exposed joints could be used as detailing. They were built from scratch using mostly found resources, coupled with a variety of ball and socket joints. We have tried many different aspects to the design as different resources have been found. There are three of them- they are all different, and have particular personalities...In this 'reveal', I'm going to be very elusive about plot details- You'll have to wait and see what they get up to, but I'll go so far as to say it is black comedy...I wanted there to be a 'found' aesthetic to them, and also pay homage slightly to the robot designs in classic British sci-fi comic 2000AD- particularly the ABC Warriors strip. I guess there's a bit of Star Wars running through this too.
There is a link to the video test sequences over on vimeo here:
if you want to get straight on to seeing them come to life...
I reckon these hands can be improved on significantly once we get into the studio and start being able to machine metal properly- these were very much built on a kitchen bench, but they are holding up nicely...but we can improve them loads more yet.
Rod also has replacement eyes so he can appear to blink, and toe sections built from a furniture catch that include a threaded tie down cavity.
We'll let him enjoy a little lie down and move on to his companion, who for now is called RIG.
RIG started life as a spotlight lamp body, and was likewise built from scratch from mostly found materials, his head was the starting point, and then the lamp waist added as a torso. His head was built from similar parts as ROD, but he has a very different character.
I've been running tests with RIG lately, and he has had issues with both his shoulders and his arms- so I've removed the current arms and I am looking at redeveloping these to a superior design- they need superior joints and a better design concept- He also needs fully armatured shoulders like ROD has- so he can shrug, and get in more expressive poitions. RIG's hand is not as reliable as ROD's, so we are going to build him a better hand in the immediate future. We also want to develop thigh detailing for this puppet, as we feel he is too thin in the leg area presently.
One area of RIG that has worked well so far has been his rigging point- he walked quite well in the early tests.
Right, that will have to do us for now- I'll come back to SPARK in more detail in future...very shortly. But I hope you like the robots! Go and see the test footage, if you haven't already.