Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Louisa - Maquette Armature

Making a maquette of your animation puppet is the next stage after the character design. This in normally sculpted in clay but without being painted or colour added and acts as a three-dimensional reference for the puppet sculpt. It is a good idea to use a character pose that will be a common pose for the final puppet and to try and both make the maquette to scale and to show the personality of the character. This means its important that you have a good understanding of the character's back story as this will come through when you sculpt. 

The first stage is to find reference pictures for not only your character but also in this case the human female body so that the proportions can be accurate. I have found a number of body and skeleton pictures that are useful for this. Don't just use a front view as you will not get the proper shape of the spine so its useful to use side views too.

If you work to these pictures it will mean that the final sculpt will be in proportion and the bones will be in the correct position inside the body. I have printed out both of these and overlaid the body picture over the skeleton on a lightbox so I can see where the bones fit inside the body. For example the leg bones are central in the calf they're at the front.

For tuition on this stage I've used Stan Winston's (SWSCA) online course in maquette sculpting and some very good videos on youtube by Amelia Rowcroft who has also been very helpful on answering questions on making armatures for maquettes. 

Armatures for maquettes aren't going to be under the same kind of stress that they would be from the constant movement of an animation puppet in a production so can be built in a similar way but making the area of the bones solid isn't strictly necessary, nor is making the head and hands removable but SWSCA suggest that it is easier to sculpt head and hands if you remove them to do so.

I created the skull first in apoxy sculpt (Aves) and included a jaw wire. This is because I want to use a copy of this skull in the animation puppet so wanted them to be as close as possible. The head and skull reference pictures are printed in 1:6 scale and at varying angles. 

The jaw is made of a twist of armature wire and glued in with Araldite (epoxy glue).

I made sure the skull still fitted inside the head reference picture of Louisa at both angles. 

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