Creating clothes

After building the body structure of my character earlier, I started to spend time crafting his clothes to cover the foam silhouette. The character I had designed had quite a set outfit style with a pair of stitched pleated kaki trousers and an orange jumper (which where the intended colour palette  choice) as well as a small blue rucksack which also played a part in the story. 

Making all of these was an individual task in itself as they all had  different fabric types to work with. For example making the trousers had to be done twice as I initially picked a fabric that was more suited to a structured cut, but given the small size of the puppet the trousers ended up looking baggy and stiff on the model. 
So changing to using a stretch cotton in a similar a tone meant, the garment could fit closer to the model, as well as bending for the required movements.

The jumper fabric was a bit different, it was a fleece texture so in some ways suited to not being too tight which worked well with the roundness of the body of my model. Adding little edges like the cuffs and collar gives room for the changing of posses with the hands and head.

His shoes where made of an imitation suede fabric, that I stitched into little panels to give the appearance of a moccasin shoe or loafer. I didn't want it to be too formal in it's appearance and a style and also  that  they would be able to cope with being pinned into position. 

Even the backpack was something that I had to custom make, spending time to make it both the right size, but also with the finishing details like the outer pocket and the handle which were quite fiddly to construct.  

Building paint on top of the rucksack and shoes for finishing details gave them an effect of tone and texture as if they had been worn in. Adding to the life feel and overall effect of the puppet

Dog development

Creating the dog character 

Similar to the boy puppet,  I created the dog using repeated methods in the feet and legs for the basic 4 legs. These I trimmed down to create a more paw based shape the body. I supported with a thicker wire that was twisted in 8 strands so stronger for suport but still dextrous in allowing the frame to bend.

The wire was threaded through two wood doweling i made so it would have a strong shoulder and hip structure guidelines so the puppet would not become to contorted and snake like in the spine.
This I then coated in glue gun, as it would give support to the wire as well as stretch for the poses I required.Pushing it in to the wood doweling was initially a little difficult as the glue was thick and dries quickly. 
After giving this a bit of time to set,  gave me a initial support structure to build on the neck and tail and attach the legs.
I started adding foam for making the character form and trimmed it best i could with scissors and a scalpel to give a shape similar to my dog design.

Then continued to covering it with stretch cotton towelling fabric. placing it in panels over the model and stitching it together and into the foam to anchor it.     

As the fabric I used didn't match what I had designed I repainted it with acrylic paint in a mixture of brown based tones.


Carving the head shape

In my animation I had decided to do all of the facial expressions  digitally, placed onto the character face in on-top of the stop frame character animation. 
For this reason I sculpted the faces like blanks with no visible eyes or mouth details except marking out where these would be applied digitally.

Initially, I made a scruffy mockup carving out of foam to get a idea of the size of my characters features but it wasn't rigid enough to work as a supporting head for the actual sculpture, 
(as i wasn't able to get the right materials at the time) 

I recreated the base of the head shape with a block of balsa wood as it is light and was about the right size I needed to create the head shape.

Even though it was easy to sculpt as a material, it is also very soft to leave pressure marks in, as even a finger nail should scratch it and could be quite difficult to cut out a solid shape, in a more dense block of balsa being to brittle for a saw but too strenious at points for a scalpel.
For this reason it  has taken me a few days of cutting it bit by bit before I could form it into a ideal head shape.
Using the styrofoam for the dogs head was a bit easier as it was litter to cut with a scalpel.

I then sanded back the remains of the head shape to appear more rounded a swell as cutting off sides to add ears of the character an facial depth.

after smoothing down as much of the face shape as i could i added acrylic paint to create a skin tone over the wood grain i liked the concept of keeping its tone similar to the balsa wood colour.
As i wasn't going to add eyes detail in paint I placed to black pins as guidance as where the eye markers would be on the face. 
I later added a yarn as hair glueing individually little small wrapped circles shapes that gave the appearance of curly hair.


Bits an pieces

Been a little while since my last update since, I have been a bit delayed in starting the sculpting side of my project due to poor health. 

Anyway this last week I stared building the structure to the stop frame side of my animation and making the wire armature for the boy character, 
To start with this was a bit daunting as I was not used to this style of animation and although I had done a bit of sculpture in my past the structure within the puppet had to be both sturdy and strong as well as flexible for allowance each of the puppets movements.

Making the feet out of a particular type of foam meant the character could easily be pinned down onto a board in animation as well as the wire structure could be easily added in for support.
The wire density also varied on parts on the body that would be used or parts that may have needed more bend to those that needed more support also by twisting the wire over itself made it more Endurant for supporting some of the characters positions.

Redrawing out the character quickly in scale, meant I could outline a supporting wire structure to build the characters body from.  
(example of wire dog legs an outline the position of the dogs back)

Drawings like this would help get a good idea of building the wire for the body base as well before adding on the balsa wood to stiffen the structure 

I researched into armatures and was slightly scared at how costly a pre made armature could be an was unsure on how to make the structure myself. 
So I was able to get help from the contacts at the animation and film workshop who where able to get Kevin to advice me.
(contact details here)> Kevin the Puppetician 
The workshop was useful in how to make about making the animated characters structure as well as finding ways of creating it on a tight budget.
Some examples of different materials that could be used in sculpting characters.

Earlier attempt at sculpting in foam characters head details as ruff prototype.
remaking these in balsa wood and Styrofoam as there a bit more rigid than foam