stop motion

Building A Better Hedge Knight: Part 1

I created my last stop-motion puppet with an armature of pencils and tape and while it was somewhat successful, it now seems to be pretty brittle. I really wanted to refine some of those ideas… so I built another one. Using a modeling compound called Super Sculpey I sculpted the top part of the head on an aluminum wire and the bottom jaw on another. Hypothetically I can then move the mouth around a bit and make this guy talk on camera.

Sculpey is a really great product that I have used for years. It has a great feel as you model it into shape and then you just toss it into your household oven for about 30 minutes and it comes out rock hard. It can then be painted with acrylic paint.

HKhead

This time around I wanted to build a sturdier armature, so I bought a medium sized wooden dowel rod, cut it to the correct sizes and drilled holes into the end of each piece. I insert a fairly thick piece of aluminum wire into the holes to connect the dowels together and create a moveable frame. I cover all the aluminum wire joints with hot glue, which will accomplish several things. It will keep the wire from eventually breaking from heavy use, makes the wire joints a bit more rigid and permanently connects the wires and the wooden dowel together.

HK1

This guy is big, so in order to keep the weight down I cut up chunks of foam to create the body mass. I also add some really soft foam to the knee and elbow joints.

HK2

Finally I wrap the arms and legs with some scrap material (old socks) and then sew some more scrap material (a really fine green sweater I rocked during the 90’s) over the entire thing to keep all that other stuff in place. This gives me a solid base to start creating on.

HK3

Tomorrow we build some feet…

It’s Alive… And Eating Popcorn!

Jones brothers, sisters, inlaws, outlaws,┬ánieces, nephews, kids and miscellaneous others traveled from all over the country to my Mother’s house last week for the 4th of July. With over 30 people in Mom’s house a bunch of us had to find other places to sleep when evening rolled around. As my family was leaving for the hotel the first night, my nephew Kyle said, “Hey Uncle Dennis, can I play around with that puppet of yours tonight?” I said sure and left it with him. When I showed up the next morning he had created this test clip with his MacBook. I love the way my goofy little sock puppet snaps to life in it. I think it’s fabulous!

The Mighty Ducks

Back when I was building my foam stop-motion puppet, I wondered if there might be another way to create a moving character. I decided to throw a couple of things together that I’ve toyed around with for years… an aluminum armature and socks. I haven’t named him yet and don’t really know what he is, but he looks kinda like a duck…