Friday, May 22, 2015

What Exactly is a Mizzen Rope?

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Ruble isn't the brightest character in Zombie Pirate Tales. He learns everything the hard way...but that's what is so great about him. This is another completed shot that I managed to do tonight (actually 3AM this morning) in-between some sculpting jobs for other clients. The quality is probably very low here on Blogger since I didn't upload this on YouTube - and I didn't video it in HD either. You'll have to wait for the release to see it in the highest quality.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Little Things Add Up

There are only three main shots left to create for Zombie Pirate Tales, but a lot still needs to be done to begin animation. Lately I've been doing more sculpting jobs for Gary Garabedian but in-between I try to get these little tasks done since they don't take a lot of time. Here's a photo of one such job:

While it seems simple, what you see here is a result of some trial and error. Ruble has to hold this mug firmly in his hand in order to animate it. Originally I twisted a wire around the handle and sculpted the clay hand over that wire. It ended up being flimsy when I tested it on the puppet by plugging it into his wrist-tube.

The other thing that happened was the handle broke off, so I had a twisted wire and clay mess. To make things more secure I drilled a tiny 1/16" hole in the center of the mug and epoxied (and crazy glued) it all in place.

Shimbu the monk was also repaired and I made some special eye balls for Rubles shots where he is shocked to see the beautiful mermaid. A rig was also repaired that I made about 10 years ago and the solder came loose. I'll attach our zombie puppet to it where he will appear behind Ruble. Much of this isn't really worth getting into as these things aren't super entertaining to hear about. But as the title says, it's the  "Little Things Add Up".


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Resurrecting the Octo Zombie


Technically zombies are resurrected people who have died. I'm not sure what you call a zombie puppet that is dead because he was ruined while making a mold. This zombie is just that! You might recognize him, but in fact the original (seen to his left) was mangled when I made a mold of him.

I call him the "Octo" zombie because he was going to have an octopus arm as part of the original story. For the first episode, he will only be seen peeking over the back of the ship. He won't be seen from the neck down, so adding his octopus arm won't be necessary. It's kind of funny how he was the first zombie I made and will be part of the last shots in the 11 year journey it's taken to complete the project.

Some more things were completed, such as moving the set around for the next three scenes and roughly setting up Ruble and Shimbu the monk. I will need to set things up properly once the camera is in place.The lighting was also reversed since we're filming the other side of the ship....even though the camera is still in the same place in the garage.

Friday, January 23, 2015

One Giant Leap for.....Love?

Ruble has now lept for love that only he can truly feel deep inside his plasticine mind. That means that all shots are completed for the particular camera angle and side of the ship you see below. Just three  main shots remain where Ruble looks towards the camera.

I'll need to set up the lighting in reverse and slide the other side of the ship into place. The next shots will be the most expressive shots of Ruble. Facial animations and drinking his fish beer should bring fun challenges that will have to be over-come.

After that I will need to animate flying debris for the crash shots and a main replacement heart scene. The good news is I think I can complete all these shots before the end of this month.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ruble Unties the Last Rope


What happens when Ruble unties the last rope? The large zombie woman creeps slowly down from above. This shot was around 15 seconds long - one of the longest shots in the film.

Some of the problems I encountered were that the foam latex which is naturally rubbery wanted to bend the arms into their original positions. If you think of a rubber band stretching, it will always try to go back into shape. And yes - Rubles body is made of rubber and behaves similarly.

That isn't the case usually with foam latex puppets. The issue stemmed from Rubles armature which was epoxied together. The heat from the baking process (for some unknown reason) caused the epoxy to weaken and no longer attach the parts with any strength. The worst area is his left shoulder. Fixing it is not a simple task and I've already cut him opened and added fresh epoxy to several areas already.

The good news is I've got only one more shot left to do with this puppet. Ruble will jump into the air and fly above the zombie and land on her back. I won't need any precise movements to do that shot so the arm won't be too much of an issue.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Speeding Along

One of the problems with the orange screen was the outline around the puppets. This was solved by erasing the orange in Photoshop, creating a transparent background on each image. No chroma key necessary. The results are great, but the animation is slightly limited to plopping these images in without any motion (the mermaid). Or where I animated the fat zombie (with Ruble attached), the animation was only a few frames and some blinks. It is actually fine because there wasn't a lot of movement in the mermaid or zombie scenes. Animating the swing using key frames in Sony Vegas worked out great! Also the scene is in layers where Ruble will be animated and put in the shot later.



Here's the mermaid. She is seen for only a few seconds in the film as a drunken mirage by Ruble.


The audio is nearly complete as well as updated end title graphics. All the donators who helped finance the film were added. Newer sound effects of richer quality were plopped in too. Things are nearly done, just a few shots and I can reveal the full film.