Here is Gordon Ramsay presenting a feast to an uneasy schoolboy, he's right to be on edge, Gordon is naked from the waist down...
Did you know that 'defenestration' means to throw someone or something out of a window? I didn't. It's my new favourite word.
Ok, I lied, he isn't actually naked below the waist, but he easily could've been. Remember that...
I really need to get a better shade of blue for the eyes, I'm sick of this one.
I then decided to throw a load of characters together for a random shot. Because I can.
It's kind of like 'The Last Supper' if hardly anyone showed up, and those that did were really, really high on drugs.
So I finally got round to getting some new business cards, as I realised that the old ones were naff. These fancy new ones are portrait instead of landscape, shiny (everyone likes shiny things) have better pictures and font, and generally look a bit more professional.
I also stuck one of those QR code thingies on them, but don't scan the one on screen, as it will just bring you straight back to this site and break the internet. Probably.
Allow me, for a moment, to regale you with a colourful tale that will probably top your list of tales heard all this week (at the very least, top 5.)
So, I made this head, wasn't entirely sure what to do with it, what kind of body to give it ect. He had a beard, and kinda looked like a viking, so I was sort of leaning towards that angle...
Made the armature, decided at this point he was going to be a big bloke, so I made a styrofoam core to keep him relatively light and give him a basic shape...
Still wasn't entirely sure what clothes to give him, Then a haggard old witch we keep around the house suggested, as a joke, to put him in a Borat mankini, I considered it for the brieftest of moments...
I was indescribably proud of myself, top of the freakin' world even, until suddenly I realised something...
The poor chap looked lonely, he needed a companion, I tried pairing him with the chihuahua I made a while ago, but it was slightly too big for him, it either made him look too small, or the dog too large for your standard, run of the mill chihuahua that everybody hates...
I wracked my brain for almost eight of the Queen's english minutes, trying desperately to think up a friend for this magnificent beach faring titan, I thought of giving him a schoolchild companion, or a gimp, but those seemed inappropriate...
And then it hit me. It was so obvious, why didn't I see it?
Black afro chick.
And I gave them both some motherflippin' ice creams!
Here is a Rastafarian bust, the main reason I made this was to experiment with different tones in hair and beards, which I don't think I've actually ever done before, so here is the result. And dreadlocks, I've never done those before either.
I also tried pairing him up with the hippy, and used super clever camera angles to hide that the rasta has no body and is significantly larger.
Oh wait, I stand corrected, here is a rasta I made quite a few years ago now and.... It's hard to type when you're cringing this hard.
So 3 weeks after Aardman and Christmas/New Year, I got straight back on the horse with a 3 month internship at Animate and Create studios in Kent, followed by a couple of months of freelance work to finish what we started. It was very different working in a smaller studio with fewer people (At Aardman I worked with loads of different people every other day) for starters, I could remember everyones names. But it was no less enjoyable, and it was actually quite interesting to make what I was told to, instead of my own stuff, even though I got to work in my own style, and I enjoyed the challenge. I was there for about 5 months or so, spent most of that time model making, but I got to squeeze in a few weeks of animating as well. To top it all off there was also a basically limitless amount of plasticine to work with, one of the sculpts I made was the size of a fat toddler, and was made out of 17 bars of plasticine over a styrofoam core, he was my child.
Sculpts of Charlie and James, a pair of Heart FM breakfast DJs, mounted to a wooden base, it's in black and white because the fluorescent lighting washed everything out and made it look all 70s, and this is the only picture I took of them finished. Initially Charlie was in a dress but really looked like a transvestite, mostly because her stance made her look like she was packing a big pair of 'nads, a minor oversight as she was sculpted onto rods protruding from the base so that couldn't be helped, (I didn't place the rods myself, but I was the one who marked out where they should go, so it's totally my fault) It took almost a total re-sculpt to rectify that little kerfuffle (she still has big ol' tranny man-shoulders though, due to her armature, but I hid them with her hair so let's just keep that between us...)
Of the following photos below: All the puppets and props were made by myself, but not any of the sets, credit for that goes to a Mr. Alex Searle, fellow intern. I think he did a very good job considering our budget, and they do go very well with the puppets...
Professor Brian Cox drunk on a space hopper. Indeed. This was just one of 7 space hoppers, we had different shaped ones for the replacement animation bounce sequence, we needed two rigs to support both puppet and hopper, and the studio lights kept melting Brian's hands and face. It was a bloody nightmare, but I did then get to animate him projectile vomiting everywhere. Silver linings and all that.
LOOKIN' GOOD TREV!
Sir Trevor Mcdonald at his breakfast table. In his pants, of course, classic Trevor (OBE).
I can't take credit for the shoes unfortunately, they were both salvaged off of novelty keyrings, I just packed them with plasticine and stuck them on her lovely, lovely legs.
Adele doing (presumably) Adele stuff. She actually wasn't meant to be this fat, but it was deemed funnier if she was. Very heavy puppet, but she's sat down the whole time so it doesn't matter (I didn't even need to use the rigging point I put up her bum!). And yes, she eats all this food. Including the Oscar. Yum.
A nice bit of Boris, complete with slingshot and vanilla mop top. An indescribably sexy man.
Also seen here playing conkers with a dog, which later violates him, because we're anything if not original.
Ant and Dec outside the job centre, the heads each have two ping pong balls inside for all that extra Geordie foreheady goodness. The pantomime horse head next to them was later used as a murder weapon by one of the puppets, so it had to be as light as possible, it is also stuffed with ping pong balls, they're very handy really. The head still needed two rigs to support it though, plasticine is too bloody heavy sometimes...
Barbara Windsor in her Jackpot Joy 'Queen of Bingo' get up (I am fully aware that her tits should be much bigger, but I was trying to please a potential client, not myself...)
Gollum (or Smeagol, depends what kind of mood you're in I guess), this was for a 6 second Vine animation and I was only supposed to spend about 5 minutes on this puppet, but I finished Ant's head early so I spent the best part of a day on this. All for 6 seconds, and to top it off most of his body was hidden behind a sign. Totally worth it though. Precious.
Hey look it's Metro Man! (What? Who?) Some American banking mascot apparently, and surprisingly difficult to convert into a 3D sculpt for such an inspirationally simplistic yet creative design, I mean seriously? An anthropomorphic letter M in a baseball cap and sneakers?...
*Raucous, unending applause*
I'm just kidding, it was actually a very interesting sculpt to work on, I had to map out the basic shape with balsa wood first to make him as light and symmetrical as possible, and then layer the blue and red accordingly, which was a bitch to do because of that blue strip on the left side which disrupted the symmetry on the corner, and his cap in the design seemed to be defying the laws of physics by being both in and on his head at the same time, which is a technique I had yet to learn (I can totally do it now though.)
Back in November/December, I was lucky enough to be offered some work with Aardman Animations, and it was every bit as cool as I thought it would be. I worked a little on the Ad below, though my contributions weren't particularly game changing (I made all of the sheep's purple eyelids seen at around the 30 second mark, and cleaned up some of Wallace's mouth pieces) I enjoyed myself immensely though, and it was a pretty big step up from filming in the basement of a student house at 3 in the morning...
I also had a crack at making my own Wallace and Gromit, (just the heads, Wallace's body was pre-made) which was a hell of a lot harder than it looks, the most difficult thing was getting the heads perfectly clean and smooth, and keeping them that way. Still, I learned a hell of a lot in a short time, and picked up a few sexy new model making techniques.
Unfortunately there weren't any spare Gromit noses lying around, so I had to improvise by making a plasticine one of equal size and polishing the crap out of it, it's not quite the same, but it did the trick.
My next endeavour was to spent about a week doing some test animations with Morph, making him was relatively easy, having made him several times before (though this time I was shown the exact amount of plasticine needed to make him the right size) animating him was quite tricky, as he has no armature and falls apart at least once every 15 frames, so I ended up making about 12 different Morphs and decided to have three of them interacting with one another. Not exactly Oscar winning stuff, but it was great and invaluable experience nonetheless.
My last task was two weeks of test animations with one of the background characters from 'The Pirates', and even though it was a background character, the puppet was no less advanced and was by far the best puppet I have ever worked with. It was the first time I have ever worked with a puppet that wasn't made out of plasticine (except the forehead, the rest of the head was 3D printed) and the foam latex body didn't require re-sculpting every 8 bloody seconds. The puppet was also far more articulate than I'm used to, as it weighed a lot less and had a proper professional armature inside it, so I was able to make it do a lot of things far easier (and MUCH faster) than I could with a plasticine character with a wire armature.
All in all, I enjoyed every second I spent with Aardman, I learned a lot of new tricks and techniques, met some great people (including Nick Park and Peter Lord, with whom I shared an impromptu Christmas dinner) and it left me very hungry for more work with professional studios.
Oh, and I drank an obscene amount of free tea, which is always nice...
I decided to 'upgrade' the flower companion of the hippy by giving him a new more detailed happy face, I also made various small changes to the hippy, but this was a while ago now and I can't remember what they were...
I wanted to work a bit more on heads, and was nearly out of armature wire, so I made a couple of Busts instead of full body puppets, although both of these are just made out of plasticine so are technically sculptures rather than puppets... Still I had fun.
This gentleman looks a bit like a less stylised version of Thurgood Stubbs from 'The PJs' (why the hell doesn't anyone make stuff like that anymore...) and according to the name of the file, this is 'black man No. 6', where the other 5 are I do not know...
This is your typical smarmy aviator type who's probably called 'Walter' or 'Billings' or something, looking at it now, his tache' is just.... And his shoulders are far too square.
And his goggles are naff.
Here are some random puppets I made for no particular reason, I have no intention of animating them any time soon, so I have made them more 'pretty' than functional.
A teenage zombie, complete with greasy face, pimples and braces. Theres probably room for an excessive masturbation joke in here somewhere, but...... No.
A circus ringmaster, I was a lot more pleased with this right after I had finished it than I am now, I should have made his whole body skinnier, his hands are just awful and what the hell did I do to his arms?
I'm happy with his hat mind, all taken into account for next time.
I said the goat would return, and well... lets not beat around the bush here, this man has sex with goats. There I said it, am I proud of myself?....