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.


  1. Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble. Creating molds can be a really difficult process, which is why a lot of amateur and independent stop motion animators avoid it. If you end up needing to redo the sculpt, I'd usggest using an oil based clay or plasticine. Don't get discouraged, mold making and stop motion is all about fucking up, and learning. You can minimize your mistakes by doing tons of research, but there's nothing like learning from hands on experience. Even seasoned mold makers can end up with a foam latex that doesn't work because the chemicals decide not to cure properly.

    As for the sculpt, you gave Manny a narrow waist, and wide hips. In the game, his body is more of an oblong cylinder wich is a little wider in the shoulders.

    If you do need to re-sculpt, you should check out this sculpture's rendition of Manny. He added a tiny little flare to the botom of Manny's jacket, it looks great.

    If you contact him directly, I'm sure he'd be eager to give you some tips.

  2. Try using Super Sculpey of Green Stuff (form games workshop) - it worked for me.

  3. As Dead End noted I'm wondering if this version of Manny's body is looking a bit trim? Like he's been working out at the gym in his spare time.

    Anyway - Keep going! Pretty amazing progress so far. :-)

  4. Thanks all for the feed-backs... tips, and commiserations :)

    Dead-end... Thanks for the link... I had actually stumbled upon it in earlier research, and I agree that this rendition is closer to the spirit of the character. If I redo-it, I will certainly try to emulate this approach. As I said, this first version will be my crash-test dummy for my first plaster mold. Can't find Ultracal here... so will have to experiment with another kind of gypsum plaster, locally available.

    Marcin, yeah I can find super sulptey locally... and will be using it for the next stab at it.

    Tom, nice to see you back around.

  5. There is a FANTASTIC book about creating action figures and statues, a lot of that information will help with your endeavor, its covers mold making in depth. Check it out!