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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Mar 31, 2008

Clay and Eucalyptus

Well it didn't turn out exactly as I'd planned, but I think it's good enough for my first foray into stop motion animation. Using an Andreas Deja model sheet is great for reference, but aspiring to sculpt a character in the exact likeness of Scar is not easy; therefore I abandoned the notion of such an attempt early in the production of this character.

Instead I merely reveled in studying his drawings and using them for anatomical reference. Besides an exquisite 2D design like this doesn't transfer easily into a stop motion character. There are subtle differences in their functionality which would require much more experience on my part to understand and overcome. Anyway, here's the final lion character that I'll be using in further animation assignments for Experimental Animation.

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of animation I can get out of this. We did a quick two second test, which I'll spare you, so I can see it's going to be a real challenge. I have so many ideas, and it will be interesting to see which one I'll finally go with, but I really want to knock something good out. Something that is at least good enough to post up here. I do try and post at least semi-aesthetically pleasing student work.

You can check out my production process below.

I wasn't long into building up my armature with clay when my spine snapped. I thought I tested the epoxy seals on the wire thoroughly, but I guess I didn't test every joint well enough. I'm glad this happened early on, because I was able to fix it quite quickly and further simplify the design of my armature to one length of wire instead of the four joints in the original planning.

New spine glued, waxed, and ready for clay:

I had a lot of trouble early on deciding on the design of the face. I knew it wouldn't look like Scar, but this still didn't really resemble a lion.

I decided this was a close enough likeness, and it was time to move on as time was running out.

Final sculpt before adding Eucalyptus oil:

I had no idea what was involved in the construction of one of these, and I certainly learned a lot. I never would have guess Eucalyptus oil was so useful in the creation of these puppets. Needless to say my sinuses and very clear. I got word that Tim Hittle used it in his Jay Clay shorts, so I thought I'd give it a whirl, and it works like magic.

Final after the application of Eucalyptus for smoothing:

View of the underside and tie down holes:

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