I have been having a lot of fun with the animation and now I have come to the part of the series where our hero finally comes face to face with the dragon. And that means I need a dragon! One that can be animated. Yikes! This is going to be a lot of work (and a lot of fun). And I want to come close to professional with this project so there are a few things that I have to do.
The Process of making a Stop Motion Character
There are plenty of different ways to do this and I will give you an overview of one of the common ways.
1. Designing the Figure (dragon) - You have to know what you are making so it is usually all started with a bunch of drawings. This way you get a real good feel for what you will be sculpting.
2. Sculpting the master model (this is called the Maquette) You do a full size sculpture of your model. This is usually out of some kind of firm clay like Chavant, Harbutts or even Plastiline. You do have a lot of flexibility in what you use but it does need to be pretty firm so it doesn't lose its shape or its detail in the upcoming molding process.
3. Making a mold of the model. - Next you make a mold of this model. Typically you will use some kind of plaster.
4. Making the Armature - The whole point to making an animation figure is to make it move! In order to do this you need some kind of a metal skeleton inside the model One that will easily move yet stay exactly in the poses you need. You do this by making an armature and putting it inside your model. The sketch on the right gives you an idea of what I mean. We have the dragon model with the armature and joints inside.
5. Casting the figure in the mold. - We have a two part mold that opens up. We cast some kind of a material inside this like a foam latex. And that creates our model. One big thing about this process is that you have to insert the metal armature into it during the casting process. Once this is dry you remove the figure from the mold and you have your model. Its ready for touch up, painting and detail work.
I just wanted to show you this drawing of the dragon. It shows an important point. You can't just go ahead and sculpt your clay figure any way you want. It can't be posed. It has to be very flat like shown in this drawing. This way you can create the mold of it.
The mold is two parts, a left side of the dragon and a right side of the dragon.
OKAY. This is a project that I am currently working on so you might want to check back to this section of my website so you can see how it develops. Should be a lot of interesting fun. And of course there will be an animation with this dragon.
A look at Ball and Socket Armatures They are a fantastic way to build a character in a stop motion animation. I show you what they are and how they work. A look at Ball and Socket Armatures for Animation
Stop-Motion Puppet Sculpting: A Manual of Foam Injection, Build-Up, and Finishing Techniques
This work explains research and design of puppets, and details the fabrication of stop-motion puppets around a metal armature skeleton using the build up and foam injection processes. The former technique uses pre-cut blocks of foam formed with a pair of scissors or other instrument into the shape desired and attaching them to the armature. In the latter technique, the character is sculpted in clay over the armature. This clay sculpture is then replaced with foam by using a plaster mold and injection gun techniques. Finishing techniques described include the making of hair, eyes, eyelids, teeth, horns, nails, and chitinous (insect-shell-like) surfaces. The manual also covers the process of creating replacement heads using rubber molds (such as RTV) and urethane castings. A glossary and bibliography complete the extensively illustrated work.
Creating a foam animated figure (dragon)
I build a foam dragon and show you the process of making foam figures step by step. How to make the wire armature and how to secure the feet. How to make a foam figure for animation
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