Saturday 8 June 2013

Erasing the Jaw sim-line in post production

If you had a look at my first puppet lips-sync attempt, you may have been bothered by the very apparent sim-line between the skull and the replaceable jaws.

This line will be erased in post production using a software like Adobe After Effect (and not Adobe Premiere as I wrongly stated in my earlier post). After a many tutorials watching and few attemps, it looks like it is possible. I have not yet master the craft, but as a proof of concept, here is the identical video to the earlier post, with some post-production trick on the sim-line.

Before post production (jaw-line visible):

After post production (jaw-line concealed):

Monday 3 June 2013

Manny's job interview

It's time for Casting Interview!

I could not wait to test my puppet in a bare-bone environment, for an extreme lips-sync close-up

I have made a very quick mouth replacement run on one of the famous line of Manny which I had already lips-synced in an earlier post with some digital image of the model. Now it's getting closer to the real thing, using (at last!) Dragon Frame.

The result, below, is, has, as expected, a lot of undesirable beginner's defects. The background light is flickering because my electricity is far from stable. I will fix this with a power stabilizer.

Manny's hood is "boiling" like crazy... as I replace the mouth piece, it is almost impossible not to touch/move the fabrics. I will need to reinforce this hood... I am thinking of strengthening its shape by putting some can metal in the inside. But I am overall happy with the ease of placing and replacing the magnetic jaws: It simply snap into place with little skills required on my part.

I am less concerned of the very visible sim line between the mouth piece and the skull... I think I should be able to erase this in post prod with something like Adobe Premiere (which I know nothing about!). If anyone is experienced in post prod of this type, please give me a shout in comments.

Sunday 2 June 2013

My first animation puppet

Last Post left Manny padded with moss and balsa wood and here he goes with his reaper cloth. After a bunch of trials and errors I finally settled for some black elastic fabric in order to minimize the "boiling": i.e. the undesirable move of the fabric from one shot to another. This elastic fabric is wrapping Manny's puppet and seem to be more or less stable.
I will probably need to pad it a little bit more with an additional thin layer of moss to stabilize some soft parts, such as the shoulders. The access to the replacement jaws is not as easy as I would like and I will need to loosen the hood to make it easier. But even with these last last trimming and adjustments, it feels like a big milestone has been reach: I have my first animation puppet (almost) ready for shots!

"But you're not alone! Every body here is just as dead as you!"

Sunday 28 April 2013

Manny Puppet: Balsa underwear

I noticed that when I started to work on something on the computer, doing a 3D model a a computer graphic, I gradually become shy of returning into the "real thing": working with my hands on concrete, material stuff becomes daunting. It's like walking into cold water... it takes time to get used to a less forgiving world without any "undo's", and also it takes time for the mind to settle for a more pragmatic (and somewhat less perfectionist) decision making process.

So let's put aside z-Brush and 3D modeling and return to what we came here for: playing with puppets. What goes below is largely inspired by the blog of Joshua Flynn.

The idea is to block out the volume of Manny around this mechanical metal armature. Most of his boddy will be blocked out with soft material, but in order to be able to grab and manipulate the puppet, it is important that some parts stay reasonably hard: The torso, and the pelvis.

Balsa wood is easy to shape and to adjust around the armature.

Then these wooden parts are glued around the armature and some soft moss are added to legs, and above the shoulder. I have left some wholes in place where I need to access the screw to tighten the ball-joint of the armature.

In order to provide a smooth support for the Reaper's tunic, I have cut one extra layer of foam from a flat sheet in order to do some sort of t-shirt.

Next we will have to learn so sew. I purchased some nice black fabric but have little idea on what to do with it.

Probably with have to enroll some help on the next part...

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Celso Mouth Set

Carrying on with the Celso Skull, I have reduced his eye size a bit, as advised by my followers' comments, added some "hairs", and started scultpting mouth shape that will be eventually 3D printed just like for Manny.

As mentioned earlier I am using zBrush and I am still at the beginning of the learning curve. Lessons learned: it is much easier with a Wacom tablet, and Layers are an awesome way to store and mix shapes in zBrush. Challenges still unresolved: When starting from a rest-open shape (like the upper left skull in the strip below), remodeling the mouth to a narrow "O" is really a pain as the geometry gets really stretched.

(For those experts in zBrush out there, I am sculpting in Dynamesh, but the Layer feature prevents me from re-meshing... leaving me in a quandary... either not using layer or not re-meshing)

Celso Mouth Set strip

Sunday 14 April 2013

I am back!

My exam and few other annoying things now well behind me, I have no more excuse and need to get back at this project. Thanks for all of you who have sent me emails and comments to encourage me to pursue a project which has been sleeping for about a year.

To re-enter gently into the GF atmosphere I have decided to review Celso's head. Chay did a great design, but once 3D printed, its upper skull turned out to be too spherical for a character who is meant to have a long sad, somehow frightened face.

It was also the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about zBrush by revisiting an existing and relatively easy concept.
 Here is the result: on the right, Chay's original design and on the left my revisit. Tell me what you think...

Monday 7 January 2013

My Slum Dog Stop Mo Studio

Hello all,

Sorry I have not posted in a long time, but as I explained in a few comments threads below, (i) I have run out of space, because some personal financial crunch led me to give up my beloved apartment which was just large enough to house my stopmo set and, (ii) I have run out of time, because I have an important exam which requires me to study hard during my non-working time until March 11th.

Cambodia's first Stop Mo studio
But Manny will be back. Actually, I am already preparing his vengeance...

<Glottis Voice> "Look at that this litl' beauty, isn't she beautiful?"

This is my dedicated Stop Motion Studio... in all its shiny splendor for a monthly rent of 30 USD.

I will not have to share my bedroom with the gear anymore, just do a one minute walk from home behind a snooker shack within this adorable little pitoresc, mostly ethnic Vietnamese suburb of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Just need to make the place mosquitoe proof and then we are in business again. There are some basic sanitaries in the back which are big enough to do the dirty job (plaster mold and other silicons casts).

So now that the space problem is fixed, I have to solve the time problem and this won't happen before I pass this dreaded exam. After that... we should be back in business.