Monday, September 19, 2011

Video Project with Little Tybee - Phase 5 - Anglerfish

This is one of those projects that sounds simple when you first approach it and turns out to be way more work than you thought. Sure most projects, or pieces, are like that but this one kicked my butt.

I dove right into making the fish, based on my full-scale drawings. I cut and bent a section of hardware cloth and tried to create the fish's shape on the fly. After a few hours of frustration, I decided I would never get the shape I was after.
I thought it would help to sculpt a small model out of foam and create a pattern from it's form. This made more sense. After creating a shape I was happy with, I made a small paper pattern, doubled it, and then blew it up on an opaque projector. I spray-mounted the full-sized pattern to the hardware cloth and proceeded to cut it out.
Cutting out the hardware cloth and stitching it back together proved to be very challenging - and painful. The sharp ends seemed to be constantly scratching and cutting my hands as I wrestled it into shape. Once that was done, I figured it would be simple to hot-glue on all the little bits of plastic paraphernalia. I underestimated the amount of stuff I needed to cover the surface and was constantly searching for more stuff to glue on. I thought it would take one day to glue all the pieces on and it ended up taking 2 and a half. I was so looking forward to painting it all one color and aging it down. Maybe I was impatient with the gluing, but it seemed to be an endless job.

Here are my in-progress pics, click them for a larger view........

The form of the anglerfish starts to take shape. I added a couple of pieces of wood to help hold the shape.

The top and bottom part of the mouth. You can also see the pink foam model I used to create the pattern.

The small paper pattern I got off the model.

Starting to cover the fish with plastic pieces, which I used to add texture.

Almost done. There's a hinge for the mouth, and the eyes will move, and the fin will flap.

All covered. I couldn't wait to cover all of this mess with one color. I figured out I used at least 500 buttons and I have no idea how many other pieces.

A close up of some of the pieces.

A small test piece I made so I could play with the color and aging.

The top piece painted. Here I'm adding the teeth which are made from a plastic milk bottle.

The bottom, with the teeth added.

The tongue, covered in a generic variety of Cheerios.

Front view of the anglerfish.

This is probably the view we'll see the anglerfish in the video.

Another view. I still have to finish the eyes and add a light out front - it is an anglerfish after all.

A close up of the pieces after painting and aging.

Now on to the tents and props for the Fortune Teller's scene.......

Friday, September 16, 2011

Video Project - Kickstarter Page.

More info about our video puppet production here --- Check it out, and pass it on.

Images of the anglerfish coming real soon..............

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Dreamtime" - 2011

I actually built this piece earlier this year - it's taken me a while to post it here. It was featured this Spring at the Boston Cyberarts Festival in Boston, Mass. After completing "Return to Dreamland", I wanted to explore further the idea of a kinetic figure interacting with sand. I wanted to make a figure combing through the sand, so I decided to have her sitting on a rotating platform. This piece is sold. I didn't take as many in-progress pictures this time, but here are the ones I have....... Her rake-like hand.   

 Her arm carved and ready for paint.

 Her body in-progress. I think this is the first time I've done a figure in this position. I've done a few figure sitting before, but not sitting on the ground like this.

Her head.
Her body right before I assemble and dress her.
The background for the piece is actually a couple of 'paint-by-numbers' landscape paintings that I tore up and decoupaged back together. I then painted over the whole thing with washes of color.

Photo by Gregory Campbell.
The movie.... watch full screen. 

A close-up of her hand moving through the sand.

Thanks for looking!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Video Project with Little Tybee - Phase IV

The next figure is the High-Diver.

There are actually 2 marionettes needed for this, one a diver and one a swimmer. I wanted to create the diver to do just that, dive and nothing else, very rigid and exacting. The swimming version is much more fluid and loosely jointed, she'll be "underwater". The high-diver will dive into a small pool and as the camera follows her down, we end up in a magical underwater world. We will switch to the swimmer puppet down below.

The Diver's body cut out. She raises her arms over her head and pivots at her waist as she starts her dive. The controller for her is going to be a little unusual as she goes from a standing position to a full dive.

Her body again, showing her legs and feet. I'll put opposing magnets in her feet, and at the end of her legs, so she points her toes automatically when she dives off the platform.

This is the swimming version. I made ball and socket joints at her shoulders to make it easy to move her arms in all directions.

Hands in-progress.

The two versions. You can see the magnets in the feet here.

The original head (diver) on the right and the copy, which cracked in the oven, on the left. It took a while to patch her back together, but she is fine now.

Parts ready to be painted.

Four hands.

Ready to be assembled. With 2 marionettes I could be specific when making the bodies. The diver version only pivots at the shoulders, waist and ankles and the swimmer pivots at all her joints except the ankles and wrists.

Dressed and ready for strings. You can see the diver's feet automatically point when she is not standing.

The two heads - the one on the left is the diver and the other is the swimming version, who is looking towards the angler fish (next puppet to be made).

On to making the controllers and stringing them up.

The angler fish is next on the list.