Sunday, 18 March 2012

Set Making: Manny's computer in the matter.

Here is another prop 3D-printed from a Google Sketchup rendition.
This is where 3D printing shine... those intricate little keys of the keyboard would have been almost very hard to render using any other modelling technique. If only 3D printing wasn't so expensive... this nice little prop did cost about 40 euros...

The 3D-print price are going down, but I guess that clay and talented traditional sculptors have still a bright future for their craft.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Puppet making: disaster in slow mo

This part of the project is NOT going well at all. Atually, puppet making seems to be my biggest drag at this point of the project.

I posted earlier about my first attempt to sculp a suit in Manny's clay. It looked great... when it was still wet!

The cracks appeared as the clay shrunk on the wire armature. So I made some repair with some putty epoxy, which is very hard to shape. Never mind, I thought, will just sandle everything back in shape, so I patched heavily over the cracks.

But the epoxy turns out to be much harder than the original clay, and sanding back 2 materials of very different hardness proves to be an impossible task.  So here am I... Actually, the picture does it a favor, it really looks worse in reality. So long for the smooth, doll-like, detailed sculpture that made me salivate in the tutorials I tried to emulate. If only I could... lacquer it to give it a smooth surface... or dip it in some sort of all-forgiving-and-viscous-elixir.

Well, since I will probably screw up my first plaster-mold-making attempt I might as well consider this as a crash-test-dummy candidate.

Now, I need to find some non-shrinking clay and some damn good sculpture 101 tutorial.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Prop making: Molding corners

Earlier in this blog, I posted my attempt to modeling the art-deco ceiling corners in Manny's office.

I sent the shape to my favorite 3D printer and received a scaled 3D print for that shape as shown below. I could have asked the print of 4 identical pieces and be done with it, but... 3D print is expensive, and this relatively simple geometrical shape was a good practice target to learn the craft of Silicon mold making.

I show below the original 3D print of the master shape. Then below a Silicon mold made of this shape. And last row the resin cast of 4 corners made in resin.

The result is good enough for a decorative prop of this kind. A little sanding, a little painting, and those four pieces should look OK in the set.

The whole process was made in a week-end, with locally available chemical products (RTV Silicon, Resin, and their respective hardener), and it was fun to do with my daughter. However the result would probably not be good enough for a more intricate design requiring a higher level of precision. I made all the beginner's mistakes, as usual, and I will probably do better next time. Which was the point of the whole exercise... I could have skipped this detail from the set with no much visible difference in the final movie. But this project is as much about learning techniques I am unfamiliar with as it is about the final product, the movie.

There are plenty of excellent tutorial around about this RTV Silicon mold making, so I will spare you with the details. However, always happy to answer any question, from layman to layman.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Mouth Sets fresh from 3D Print

I just received the Manny's head and mouth set from the 3D printer. This time the skull and the jaw fit perfectly... well, at least for 4 among 7 mouth pieces. I don't know exactly how I managed to mess with the dimensions of the 3 others, but these are being re-printed promptly.

I will soon be able to make a true, stop motion lips-sync test, just like the one I did virtually earlier.

On another front I am having the time of my life learning the ropes of silicon mold-making. Translate: disaster on first try.
But that's another story for another post, with some sticky pictures of the mess I ended up with.

I said a few month ago that I was expecting to start to shoot sometimes in march. Well... give me another 3 month, OK?