Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Viewer- work in progress

 These images show the continued work on the project we are calling 'The Viewer'- which will be about a rather unappealing old man, and his thoughts upon existance- this project is essentially an excuse to bite the bullet of lip sync in stop motion, and so we decided to go with replacement mouth shapes for this character, made in Milliput, attached magnetically to the face. The Head, I hope you will recall, was built using Universal Jointed eyes, inside a 'ping pong ball' modified skull- check the earlier blog 'Having it away with Coraline here for the earlier stages of this project:

So this was the head with neck joint fixed and a first layer of paint.
Initially, I made some Milliput mouths in a variety of shapes, and epoxy glued a strand of Florists wire to the rear of the mouth
This did not work so well- the mouths tended to drift around on the magnetic mouth plane to where they preferred to sit- and not where I wanted them to sit exactly- also the shapes were not specific and varied enough to cover all phoneme needs- I used the Aardman 'Creating 3D Animation' book as a guide, it has great images of replacement mouths for Wallace, that we used as a guide. Penny took over mouth duties from me, as we both know she is better at sculpting than me...
The head was also enhanced with better cheek bones and chin, and the gaps closed around the Universal Joint eyes- you can see the magnet plane for holding mouths in place clearly here...
And once painted he looked like this- which was ok, except the mouth magnetic plane looks unnaturally flat and is a bit of a give away...
Especially here! But you can at least see he has now got most of a body- this was built using plate and balls- the middle of the torso is from a 'Pozem' plastic animation armature, refitted with threaded rod across the torso- The Hip Block was built from Allen Key Ball socket joints, which I believe are Carbon Fibre, and which I adapted using Milliput to this shape- the 'thigh sections were also adapted from Helping Hands components, using liberal amounts of JB weld and Milliput again...He has K and S wrists ready to take silicone hands.

Here he is looking a little worried with a replacement mouth- I do like the eye glints these glastil eyes produce...
And with a first pair of silicone hands-these are too thick and heavy for the character, so we sculpted some more that were thinner and showed more signs of age.
We also resulpted around the mouth plate to camouflage the magnetic plate a little more.
Penny took over making the mouth shapes from me, and I was glad of it- her sculpting work is definitely superior to mine, and she lovingly created all these phonemes and dramatic shapes, which looked massively better than my versions. We also discovered that Ice cube trays were the perfect
container for such phonemes- you could also keep things like eyebrows, tongues, etc all in the same place for each character.
Shocked! with gritted teeth...
A Happy Bunny...
Oh no! Or a 'Th' kinda phoneme...
My face exactly when trying to concentrate. Notice some of the flesh shading that Penny has done too. He is really starting to come alive...

Now, finally, let me apologise for the gap in the Blog progress lately, everything seems to be happening at once, in a very good way for Skatedog Films, and we also lost the Internet for about 3 weeks- but please stay tuned- many projects are coming together at once, the studio is nearly operational, we are earning a living successfully suddenly, and it is ALL animation, in various guises! We are over the moon with where we are now...I will try and get a few more posts up shortly of our personal stuff- 3!! projects all reaching a shootable stage pretty much simultaneously, and the studio sitting waiting for them to be shot in, which is going to be a game changer for us.

Very shortly we will be posting footage of the viewer being tested with some lip sync phrases.
More news as it comes!
Ps not sure how many people caught the next stage of the ROBOTS Test Footage, so if you missed it, here it is again- considering it is only test sequences and test foley, we are very pleased with how it is shaping up- and wait till THIS gets into the studio!

ps: thanks to Strider, Dean and Nick H for pointing out the embedding code previously used was not working- replaced now with the link above- cheers!


  1. Woot ! Woot ! Woot !
    Very inspiring post man.
    Like the ice cubes tray as mouths container.

  2. Really cool stuff! I love the look of this puppet!