Thursday, 31 May 2012

Final Project - Puppet - Dave

Midnight Dave is the 'Trigger Man' of the group (He's good at shooting people) and the guy who gets the guns. His name is not a racial slur, it's an affectionate nickname given to him by a group of his peers, and as black people were not treated... very well back then this is my (half arsed) way of addressing it. In the film, Dave and the Narrator are the 'Hatchet Men', basically they do all the killing and the others handle the business.
His puppet, like Henri's, was made a long time ago, with the head being made months before the body. As I developed my new sculpting technique, I went back and re-did his head because I hated his old one.

 His original head was just far too horsey for my tastes.
 So I replaced his nose, fattened him up and ripped his bottom jaw off. As you do...

 He is one of only 4 characters to have teeth, although he is probably the only one who doesn't need them.
At one point I was going to have him holding a snake, the only reason for this is that I wanted to animate a snake slithering through his hands, but as my research developed the film became less comedic (it was originally going to be very 'silly') and more realistic, so the snake seemed pointless and a bit weird (I have since replaced the snake with a tommy gun). The film will still have comedic elements in it, but they'll be hidden and you'll have to look for them.
His body (and him is general) is actually based on Frozone from the Incredibles for some reason, I really have no idea why, he just is. Accept it and move on. I have.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Final Project - Puppet - Henri

Henri is the barman at the speakeasy, and aside from that, he doesn't really do much else. His puppet head was actually the first I made back in November, when I was trying out a new modeling style. I spent quite a lot of time experimenting with different sculpting techniques and he had about 6 different looks before I settled on the final one. His body was made about 6 months later than the head.

 No E.T. You can't phone home, in fact, I'm going to rip your face off and start again.

 At this point you can probably tell that he is violently French...
 His balsa torso was actually made for the Prohibition agent's armature, but was too wide.

 You can't tell from any of these shots, but he has a really long nose...
Test shot of Henri at the bar, he'll never be shown anywhere else and as such has no need for legs, he has a metal strip on the bottom of his puppet that is holding him to a tin can with a magnet. The tin can will always be kept out of shot and the same method will be used for all of the half puppets.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Final Project - Puppet - Giovanni

Giovanni is the proprietor of the speakeasy and mentor to the narrator. As the film progresses he becomes increasingly sadistic and violent, traits he has had to adapt to in order to remain at the top of the Chicago bootlegging racket. His head has two sets of teeth, top and bottom (something that no other character has) this is for his 'death' scene, when he is institutionalised, lobotomised and put in a padded cell, where he will scream manically at the camera.
 At this stage, I was still experimenting with different armature styles, and as a result, his head has a very large balsa core, I didn't take this technique forward, as it made his head too large (but very light).
 This was the point where I had to modify the shape of the balsa core, as it was too wide at the bottom, I also changed his nose

 At this stage, I was sculpting Giovanni (at the time named Anton for some reason) as his crazy self in order to get a feel of how his teeth and jaw would work in regards to his screaming motion.
 Giovanni's skin colour is somewhat experimental, at this point I was running out of flesh tone plasticine and had to make my own, and hadn't figured out the right mix of colours (i forgot the yellow) to create the right effect. From this (failed) experiment I managed to get the correct mix (40% white, 50% pink and 10% yellow) and used it from then on. As a result, Giovanni is the only character with this skin colour. I know the film is going to be in black and white, but if I haven't mentioned it already, the entire film is also a model-making portfolio, so the colours are very important. Even if you won't see them. I will so it's OK. Also i'll be splicing bits of this film into my showreel, they'll be in colour.

 His gloves have been glossed, and as a result may limit how much they can move, which was a slight oversight on my part.

 I have never sculpted bare feet before so this was an interesting challenge. I'm quite happy with the way they turned out, but they won't be in the film for very long.
 Giovanni's 'crazy legs', which will be re used as Paddy's 'execution legs' even though the skin colour is slightly different, it will be in black and white so this won't be a problem.
Test shot of Giovanni's crazy puppet on set. The padded cell is made out of canvas panels in order to give it an 'old timey' feel. The set is not properly aligned in this shot and will look better in the final ones. The straight jacket is glossed to make it shiny, and as it won't move, the gloss won't peel off.

Final Project - Puppet - Paddy

Paddy is an irish immigrant who works for Giovanni, and is effectively second in command of the bootlegging operations. For his puppet, I repurposed the puppet of the BAA farmer from the last project and gave him suspenders and a muttonstache, I also re-did his hair and flattened the base of the puppet.
His fate in the film involves him being executed via electric chair, for this scene, I will give him legs (I will use the ones from Giovanni's 'crazy' puppet) and paint stripes to make it look like he is wearing a prison uniform.
 He looks a bit miffed that I stole his legs, he's going to be even more annoyed when he finds out that he doesn't get them back until his death scene...

Paddy as he will appear on set, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself by posting this picture, I still have a lot of other stuff to post that will lead up to the test shots. I feel I should also mention at this point that the majority of the film will be in black and white, only the framing shots in the hospital will be in colour.

Final Project - Puppet - Narrator's Mother

The narrator's mother is a prostitute. A prostitute in an abusive relationship with a violent, drunken irish immigrant, they accidentally had a kid, who was lucky not to be born with syphilis, because she's probably rife with it. Her puppet was partly based on a combination of burlesque dancers that were common in bordellos at the time, and the victims of Jack the ripper (who were killed in 1888, and this portion of the film takes place in 1906, which is close enough.) Finding images of turn of the century hookers was surprisingly difficult, I had to disregard a lot of weird steampunk pornography (apparently people will masturbate to anything these days, including, but not limited to, clockwork genitalia.)
Her armature looks terrible, but it's sturdier than it appears. I will re-use her body for the Mae puppet, replacing the head and putting a dress on it (which throws up some bizarre Oedipal connotations for the narrator) as a result, Mae is the only puppet I haven't made yet, as I need to shoot the parent scene to make the puppet available for redesign.

 I was very tempted to leave her like this, would have been good for a laugh at least.

 I am fully aware that her hands are way too big, I will correct this when I get round to it. Her shoes are made of milliput, and were then painted and glossed, i've never made high heels before, so it was pretty much touch and go, but they are a lot better than I though they would be.
The narrator and his parents, the mother looks happier here than she will in the film.

Final Project - Puppet - Narrator's Father

The body of the narrator's father is repurposed from the old body of Frank the tramp, as I decided to change Frank's body and didn't want to waste his old one. His legs will be reused for numerous characters when a whole body shot is needed, as most of the puppets only have half a body and no legs, and his legs are relatively generic.
His head and bowler hat are partly based on Giuseppe Morello, the founder of the Morello crime family, which is now the Genovese crime family, and I decided to give him a sort of 'irish cowboy' look. For some reason I originally made his mustache look like it was coming out of his nose, I don't know why I did this (it wasn't an accident, I did it on purpose, apparently I had a reason to, I just can't remember what it was), but I have recently corrected it.

It looks like really long nose hair... Why. Did. I. Do. This?...
This is Giuseppe Morello by the way...
His torso is slightly elongated because he will be resting his arm on the narrator's mother's shoulder in his intro scene, and he needed to be taller than her. Also no more nose hair mustache, all is well.

Final Project - Puppet - Child Narrator

This is the narrator as a child, at around 8 years old, which will appear briefly at the beginning of the film. This is the smallest puppet in the film and weighs very little, due to balsa internal components. He was sculpted based off of photos of early 1900s 'newsboys' you know, the ones who sold papers on street corners and stereotypically shouted "EXTRA! EXTRA!" at everyone. He was originally going to be wearing one of those flat caps that newsboys often wore, but I spent a fair amount of time sculpting his hair, so sod putting a hat over it.

 Here are a couple of photos of all of the narrator's puppets, from age 8 to 78. I think he has aged quite well, for a tiny plasticine man.