Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sculpting Time and Planning

I cast and modified a Ruble head for a future shot. Shimbu the Monk also got an updated head and pair of praying hands. He will be in shots standing behind Ruble as he has his close-up shots. I'll re-pose him and most likely put a newly sculpted expression where his mouth replacement pops off in one or two other shots.

I'll need to sculpt a few more things, including some bodies that will be flying in the air as Ruble jumps up in a fit of passionate love.

One of my former friends never did return an armature I created so I've also had to buy some steel components for two other flying shots. Plans have changed but there are always new solutions. I'll have to work on that before animation begins as well. At least creating things is fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Happened?

Zombie Pirate Tales was put on hold once again in the past few months which is why this blog was silent once again. Our biggest supporter passed away last week from cancer. Yes, my mom is gone as many of my Facebook friends know already.

She allowed me to use the garage in their house to set up my studio space and constantly wanted to give more. Sometimes to a fault to where I'd have to explain how much I have already. When we moved from our previous home in Pennsylvania she chose the next based on the fact it had a garage for my animation work. If I hadn't worked on the film for this or that reason - she would remind me "So how is Zombie Pirates coming along"? She always tried to be a motivator so I could realize my dream of making a short film in the media I loved to work in. Thanks for everything mom!

The good part in all this was that I was here every day with her to care for her in her darkest times. We did all we could and because of that my father, sister, wife and I have no regrets. I was with her right until her last breath. So with her memory in mind, Zombie Pirate Tales will continue. Not that it wasn't going to, but it gives me more motivation to make the film the best I possibly can.

It will be a while before things are back to normal emotionally for our family. Christmas season approaches and so I need to manage work and play carefully. Once normality ensues you will see new posts here regularly as the film is completed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Replacing the BIG Rig

After thinking it through, I decided a new rig needed to be made for the latest Ruble puppet. My family and I were driving around and we saw a new Hobby Town USA store close to where we live. Looking inside I saw these nice, large telescoping brass tube stocks. Originally I wanted large square stock, but the largest square tubes were only about 1/4" or so.

What's the problem with round stock? When moving a puppet up and down they tend to twist slightly. This causes a wobbly and uneven rising of the puppets body. This means when I use this rig I will need to use either a surface gage - or just tweak the body using the capture program I'm using. So it's not really a big issue thanks to modern technology.

Why did I make this instead of what I had? Well for one thing, it's simple. The other rig I had went up and down and the entire body was on a large ball joint. It gave me maximum motion but isn't accurate to move around. This requires very little to move, just slightly loosen and tighten the hex head cap screw and the puppet stays solidly in place.

The other reason is because this allows me to put it on the set more easily. Just clamp the flat stock on the bottom to the set floor and he can be easily moved and removed.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ruble Puppet #4 Completed

The fourth Ruble puppet is now completed. He is made using brass tubing and lead wire for the armature. The body is Van Aken clay and his scarf tie (I'll add the loop around it before I animate) is made of Premo clay. This way when his replacement faces are taken on and off, it won't get squished. That was an issue I had with the former puppet for a few scenes and decided Premo would be a good solution.

This puppet will be for the close-up shots where he has to drink his Fish Beer. He will also react to certain things happening before him. The only bad issue I can tell is where the mug connects to his hand. It has a loop of solder wire around the handle which is epoxied to a small piece of brass tubing. That in turn connects into the wrist tube. The weak point might need to be fixed by using epoxy on the wire loop around the handle which is hidden. We'll just have to test it out before animation.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crash! Pheewwww.........

Making progress comes only after hard work. There's still a lot left, but our crash scenes can almost be animated now.

Rubles close-up shots also need to be done, so we're going to make sure he gets the most mobility and expression. A rig was constructed in the past that I plan to use for those shots by attaching him to the rig and making a new (and cleanly sculpted) puppet.

A down shooting rig is also taking shape which is simple (and hopefully will be effective) for our wood flying and heart throbbing scenes. Stay tuned for more updates in a couple of weeks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Anatomy of Crash Scenes

The next two shots are going to be very difficult to pull off. I will need to create a couple of rigs and a down shooting system as well.

Last November or so - I tried to figure out how to animate flying wood through the air. I opted for gluing wire to wooden parts and moving them vertically. It worked, but I don't like the way it turned out. I also used my old Olympus camera and don't think the composite will work nicely.

The solution is to make a down shooter where the camera can aim down and the wooden pieces slid where they need to be in space. It gives me a lot more flexibility to move things over a larger area without the need to remove lots of wires.

Next, a rig from above needs to hold the canon and barrel as they fall. Finally, Ruble will need a rig off to the side and out of view of the camera for him to fly into the air.

Wire replacement pieces will be added into the shots to emulate a falling motion until smaller replacements get shorter and shorter. These segments will be hidden by the debris pieces that make it look as though the ship beams have split outward.

Since I finished my latest sculpture for my client I'll have a few days to work on all this. Hopefully by then we'll have one more shot completed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shot 24 Completed!

After sculpting for my current client and wrapping up my work, I managed to get some free time tonight. Shot 24 is where Ruble unties rope #2, confident that he's loosening the mizzen mast rope. But is he really untying the right one? Nope!

I checked to see how many more shots were left. It looks like there's only 10 more to go until the first episode can be called "done". Some shots will be simple, some will be more complex. I do want to try and get them all done before September. That's when I'll be getting my new computer, however it might not be compatible with my current editing software. So if I don't complete it in time, I'll just need to keep the old one until I get the job done.