Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Episode II ... the creation of George

I am so close to the animating stage I can almost taste it on the cusp of my tongue. It tastes like epoxy glue but then I have been going a little crazy recently; surely a bit of mild solvent abuse won't matter. I have completed the main character with his medieval garments and weaponry. The only thing George needs now is a pair of hands and some lovely fabric booties.

The progress from the last couple of weeks
I have made wire hands before but usually need some advice to get it spot on. Luckily, the 'microblogging' service known as Twitter has been of good fortune to me, where a fantastic stop motion animator and photographer known as Ben Whitehouse kindly sent me a link to his Blog. His recent entry went over in great detail one of the best ways to construct armature hands. So all I need now is some god damn wire!

After posting the cunning plan of the animation table (episode I of 2012) I have actually constructed it to the letter. I just love it when a plan comes together! It has enough room for George's test animations which I plan to incorporate into the first couple of animated episodes. You will see the storyboards for these in my next blog entry.

The image above shows the basic 'table making' process of which I carried out using a powerful tool known as the Jigsaw. Even with such a gaping hole in the table top, there was still enough frame to hold the legs in place for a sturdy and safe piece of furniture.

The steel sheet fitted over the table top and can be reached under the table for the magnets to hold the armature in place.

With the animation table all set to go, I am simply waiting for the magnets to be posted and can then download the 30 day free trial of Dragonframe. I will eventually purchase the software but with anything this expensive, you clearly need a trial run. Me and my colleague Ashley Lightfoot have already been over the pros and cons of the Dragonframe software and it seems a worthy piece of awesomeness to work with.

This is the basic set for the pilot episode of George the Knight. Simplicity is the key!

As I mentioned earlier, there are only two parts of George that need finishing: the hands (as leather gloves) and some boots. Both will be of a beige colour so as to stand out from the blues and greys of the costume because I really want to accentuate the hand movements due to the fact that George only has his eyes to communicate with (no lip synch just yet!).

The hands you see on the armature above were already made and only temporarily stuck on for show. The sword and belt combo was perhaps my favourite prop to make. The belt does actually undo via a button clasp behind the super sculpy 'buckle' and as you can see, the sword can be drawn from its leather scabbard.

I have made the sword as light as possible (with a cardboard blade) so George can hold it easily

There are a couple of extra details I need to go over before I can animate. The boots will be made with fabric and segments of super sculpey for a solid base, although the puppet can stand up quite easily already. Perhaps it only needs boot 'covers' of which I can sew into the puppet's trousers.

Regarding my pillaging 'hobby' I was presented with an old dolls house for £20. What actually happened was I overheard one of the dinner ladies mention it and I whipped up the opportunity to invest in such a prop.

It is simply magnificent! Although, I am not sure of its use just yet. It is clearly not a medieval dwelling, but for such a price you can't go wrong.

So for now, I shall bid you farewell and make a couple more adjustments to George and his very simple set. My next entry will indeed show you the storyboard and the final preparations for animating the pilot episode. Long live stop motion!

For updates on my other animation project follow

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