Saturday, 21 January 2012

Puppet Making : Mouth replacement set (trial 2)

A few weeks ago, I have presented on this blog a mouth replacement set for Manny made by hand in Sculpey clay. But I was still not very happy with the outcome: the match between the lower jaw and the upper skull was approximate, leaving big gaps which will prove to be hard to conceal.

At the same time, I was intrigued by Celso's skull made by Chay in a 3D software that he recommended to me: zBrush.

Unlike a conventional 3D authoring software, zBrush lets you sculpt intuitively shapes without worrying about meshes of polygon : it's a bit like using some digital clay.

I decided to give a try on a trial version, starting from Tom Beg's original 3D model skull for Manny.

As you can see, I had a lot of fun with it. It took a little while to get through the beginner's learning curve, but once you get used to a few (among many) brushes it gets really intuitive.

The advantage of this method, would be to be able to make a very clean, precise, and consistent cut between the skull and the mouth set, and get the pieces sent to a 3D printer. The fit will be almost perfect, and the remaining contact line will be more easy to conceal in post-production.

Now it gets really tempting to have a set of upper skull (i.e. with different position of eyebrows), to de-multiply the possibilities facial expression. But I am getting ahead of myself... as my father always taught me: "le mieux est l'enemi du bien".


  1. Brilliant. You seem to have quite a knack for picking up different skills quickly. With the red colour of the "clay" it also looks like some kind of Manny totem pole :)

  2. Hey cpl...

    Yeah, it's a funny line-up... In this brown color It made me think of african masks. I just mounted those pics in my Lips-Sync software... Now I can watch Manny talking to me. spooky!

  3. If you don't end up buying zbrush, you can try Sculptris, Pixologic's free version of zBrush.

    1. Thanks... good to know... zBrush is a very expensive piece of software.