Tag Archives: castlegardener

behind the scenes stuff

here are some more photos from the behind the scenes of my latest film. The film is completed and is currently with the music guy getting a musical score composed for it. Soon very soon it will be ready for release. Hang in there a little bit longer. Thanks for following along this past year as we put this film together. It means a lot to us and you adoring fans are the reason we make these films.

go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

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goblin film update

the goblin film has been shot now, all the animation is complete and most of the editing has been done. I will have behind the scenes photos shortly. I just sent the film off to the music guy today. So, stay tuned.

Beginning of the underwater film

So, the throne room film is complete and is now on my youtube channel. It is called “Shear Fear”.

So, now it is time to begin a new film. This one takes place underwater on a tiny little reef. The main characters will be seahorses, hermit crabs, fish and shrimp.

This is how I began to form the reef set. I took some styrofoam and began to add some shape to the set. I cut some small pieces of foam on the bandsaw and glued together around a semi-circle to form this red coral.

I brushed several layers of paint on until I was happy with the color.

Add some more foam for the reef walls.

Fill the gaps in with some foam insulation.

Wrap some wires together and make some branches.

Wrap the branches with some thin foam.

Keep wrapping to form the coral branches.

I used thread to hold the foam in place until it could be covered later. I also hot melt glued some edges down.

This is bandage wrap. Athletes use it under their boxing gloves.

Almost finished wrapped.

Dap liquid latex (Mold Builder Latex) that has been tinted green on to the foam wrap.

Apply many coats until you reach the desired finish. Two corals done, maybe 15 more to do.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Some set building

I have just begun the basic set building for the flying ship film. I bought 4×8′ sheet of 1″ thick styrofoam insulation from the home store for about $20 US. I cut it with a razor knife, bandsaw, handsaw, and a file. I cut the basic hills and rocks and landscape items, glued them on with liquid nails in a caulking gun, and then paper mached over them. The next step is to apply a layer of flat black paint with a brush since spray paint will melt the foam.

The pepsi can is there for scale.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

My new film

I have started working on my next short. Here is the basic storyline.

A serious hardworking captain of an airship and his young deck hand are piloting an airship to their delivery site. The deck hand quickly gets bored and plays a prank on the captain. The captain is not impressed.  The airship continues to travel across a very detailed landscape. Eventually the captain gets the chance to prank the young deck hand and justice is served.

The airship will travel across a set I am going to set up in my wood shop. I am planning a 10-12 foot long set so the airship can travel over a varied and detailed landscape. Most of the action will be interior shots of the cabin as the captain and the deck hand interact.  The airship will be about 12 inches long and will look like something Leonardo Da Vinci would have invented.

I started with a piece of styrofoam and cut it to rough shape using the bandsaw and a file.

I used a paper cutter to cut some strips of paper that would look like long boards.

I applied the paper strips to the form.

Add some balsa wood parts like the keel and some fins.

Add a hot air balloon on top.

This flying air ship will have plenty more details.

A failed puppet

Well, I tried to make a new puppet and failed. The challenge was to sculpt something in clay, then make a plaster mold of it the clay, then cast it in brush on latex to make a skin for the puppet.

Everything started out great. I found some professional plastilina oil based clay and some softer water based clay and completed my sculpt. Here is the side of the clay sculpt. It stands about 5″ tall.

Now you can see the head and arm and leg sculpted in plastilina clay.

white clay is soft water based clay, grey is plastilina

The plaster mold process went great and all the molds were completed. I used two part molds for the body, arms, and legs, and a one part mold for the head. Once the plaster was dry, and the clay removed, I brushed in vaseline for a mold release.

I pulled the skins out and tried to attach them to my wire armature. This is where the problems started. I didn’t have enough foam on the body to fill everything out.

The seams on the back spines and the front chest looked really bad.

And the details seemed all mushed together. The brown belt though that you can see is another experiment using rubber cement, thinner, and paint all mixed together to make a paint medium that will stick to the latex and still flex. It seems to really have worked well.

Above is a close up of the detail. Below is the head. I may leave this part.

I am removing the red skin from the puppet and starting over but the head seems ok. Below is a wrinkle in the side of the puppet.

I removed all the red skin and bulked up the body mass with more foam and will see what happens from there.

My own interview answers

Ok, I will answer my own questions.

1 What hand tools and power tools do you have access to?

A: I have any hand tool you can probably imagine since I use them everyday for my job as a handyman. I also am lucky to have some big power tools. I have drills, a drill press, a wood lathe, a power miter saw, a table saw, a jigsaw, a bandsaw, and a scroll saw to name a few. Tools are definately not an issue for me. About the only thing I am really missing is big professional metal machining tools.

2 Where do you buy your supplies locally?

A: I shop at every big box home store like Lowe’s and Home Depot several times a week. I also have local access to 3 or 4 half decent local craft stores that carry brush on latex, clay, brushes, paint, and stuff like that. I also cruise the local fabric stores for small swatches. One of the hardest things for me to find off the shelf is good annealed aluminum wire.

3 Have you ever bought any supplies online and what?

A: I bought my micro butane torch and soldering supplies from some jewelry site, and I did buy recently some delrin plastic balls for eyes from smallparts.com

4 What is your favorite/standard puppet construction?

A: I like my ball and socket armatures with cushion foam and brush on latex, but I have great sucess also with wire armatures and latex.

5 What camera and software setup do you use?

A: I use a fairly cheap digital camera fuji finepix 3800 that I had already for snapshots. I use the panasonic webcam snc900 with stopmopro v5 and quicktime pro. I also use photoshop for editing. I use a PC not a mac.

6 What is one of your biggest weaknesses in animating or studio setup? How do you deal with this?

A: My biggest weakness is my character acting skills. After studying body language for years, I now hide my body language so I cannot be read by others and also have been in work situations that have forced me to focus on energy efficient movements so my body does not now naturally move in a way that shows up easily read in animation. I am not overly animated in my movements, but instead very subtle, and efficient with my movements so my puppets film the same way. I practice a move but it comes across as very fast and does not show up really well in animation. I am still dealing with this with every frame I shoot.

7 What is one of your biggest strengths or assets, and how do you utilize this?

A: Hand tools and skills and a working knowledge of how things work really make it easy for me to create stages, puppets, props, and sets. I could be a great prop maker. Now just to bring my animation upto the same level.

8 What about this process do you enjoy the most?

A: I really like being on my own schedule and not relying on actors, directors etc. I also love the fact that with some styrofoam and some glue I can create any world I can imagine and make it come to life.

9 Name some goals you have in this field.

A:Improving my character acting, and figuring out how to slow my movements. Also improving my storytelling, which is not as good as it could be. My goal is to make a ton of great short films that you guys all love.

10 Write and answer your own final question.

A: Okay,

10: What do you think our role as animators are in relation to the new up and comer animators?

A: I think this craft was held so secret for so long that it almost went extinct with the old masters. I think they finally realized that and started sharing secrets. I think we all need to share what we know with the new generation and help every step of the way if we ever hope to see future animations or animators. I really try to go out of my way to help new animators learn and grow. Anything I know I try to share with others.