Puppet Cat, Making of – step by step.
Continued from Part 1.
Sculpting Head and Hands
Sculpted the head. The clay is 1:1 mix of Living Doll polymer clay and Cosclay polymer clay.
it is always an exciting moment when I take a first look into my puppet’s eyes. Even if the eyes are closed.
Cat, like all puppets for this film, will have composited human eyes added in post-production.
A few next steps before the fitting.
Testing after fitting the neck joint
Next – cut the head into 2 parts and install mini magnets in the back part. Smallest size 4×3 mm (M00880) for this puppet.
IMPORTANT: THE MAGNETS CANNOT BE HEATED! They lose the magnetism. So the way to use the magnets in polymer clay head:
– sculpt the back of the head,
– make indentations for the magnets,
– remove the magnets,
– install the magnets with threadlock epoxy.
Here is master head and face plate, ready for molding.
Clay hands are sculpted, baked and ready for molding. Same mix of clay over aluminum wire armature
– glass panels
– sulphur-free plasticine
– half-sphere key markers
– black plastic sticks – those are handles from my used disposable brushes, I save them for this purpose
– orange oil for plasticine smoothing and cleanup.
– Ultracal 30
– Ease Release, preferably, or petroleum jelly – for not allowing the clay to stick to plaster.
First half of the hard mold
133 gram water + 350 gram ultracal 30 (38:100)
And here is the hand mold.
Hopefully it will produce acceptable silicone hands, they are just so tiny… Well, we shall see.
Head mold is ready. The face part turned out perfect.
That is awesome, because I will need to make 25 faces and having a good mold is a good start for pain-free face-making experience.
The back of the head – I had to pry the master form out and chipped he edges of the mold, so the copies will be not so great. But I only need to make 3 back portions of the head, so I will just live with it. 2 heads for Cat – one with long hair, one with short. 1 head for Thomas (Cat’s twin brother).
Hardware for face plates
3D pen printing the hardware plates for Cat’s back of the head and for the replacement faces.
Why I am making them:
– when making the back of the head: the square neck tube tends to drift in the clay to some wrong place during sculpting the back of the head. To avoid that, embedding the square tube in the filament keeps it in its place.
– when making replacement faces: same problem with the hex nuts which will be attracted to magnets, they tend to drift and setting them in filament ensures that they stay in their right spots.
– when making replacement faces: when I press the clay into the hard mold to make a copy, it is hard to get it out without distorting. So the plate has an embedded nylon threaded standoff (black thing in the middle) that I can screw a threaded rod into and pull the face up quickly, neatly and smartly out of the mold. See the flesh colored plates below for the final design. The nylon standoff can be cut into smaller parts, I am cutting M3x10 standoff into 3 parts, 3mm long, with wire cutters. I also tried nylon acorn nuts, but standoffs are better and cheaper.
And here is the first batch of the faces.
Second, “happy” batch of Cat’s replacement faces. They took forever, 4ever, forevah
The clay is a 1:1 mix of Cosclay and Super Sculpey Living Doll (Fairy Light color).
I was hoping I can bake the faces, then add white clay on top of the teeth and rebake. Because sculpting the face and adding the different color teeth to a raw clay face is just too much of a headache in this mini scale. So here is the test – it works.
As we all can see, bad feelings are not attractive even on a pretty doll face.
What I have left to finish: these (except some extremes on the right) and then all the phoneme faces for lipsync (about 6-8). The extra bake for teeth created a clay color shift on some faces. Mercifully, the film will be in black and white. But lesson learned, there should be same number of bakes on all faces.
The filament finally arrived and I can continue with the rest of the face replacements.
And I was excited to find it in flesh color.
Continues on Part 3