Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Armature We Can All Afford

Of course a ball-and-socket armature is ideal for a stop-motion puppet, and there are some nice kits out there.  But a wire armature is an effective low-budget alternative, and can be a good option for secondary characters as well.  This tutorial goes through every step of creating a wire armature.  It is a method I taught at the Academy of Art, and observed some common mistakes made by beginners.  So as a bonus, here are some additional tips:
  • Make your puppet as light-weight as possible.  Choose light-weight material.  If the puppet is going to walk, it needs to stand up on one foot.
  • Clay puppets must not be top-heavy.  Design must take this into account.  The head and chest can have a lighter material at the core.
  • Clay puppets will also stand better if they have big feet.
  • Shop for the right stuff.  Especially the armature wire.
  • Have wipes or a wash cloth standing by while working with epoxy putty.
  • The wire will eventually break.  Greater space between bones will spread out the bending point and reduce breakage.
  • Practice fitting the bolt into the bottom of the foot through the platform before animating.  It’s tricky.

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