Posts Tagged ‘video’

My demo reel

I need to update it, since it has none of my Lazytown work on it, but, at least it’s online now.

Coraline Assembly Line

Coraline assemblyThere’s a certain euphonious delight happening with that title.

Anyway, we are now into the part of the build where I am creating the final dolls. Everything goes much, much faster once I’ve got the patterns created. At the moment I have a pile of body parts on my table waiting for me to assemble them.

You can imagine how long this would have taken if I were cutting out each individual piece with my exacto knife. All eternity. This is part of why I love my bandsaw. To show you how much faster the bandsaw makes this process go, here’s a quick video.

Though I’m using a watercolor block in the video, you don’t have to do that. You can cut out multiples like this by glueing or taping a stack of paper together. Just make sure that the glue is only in the areas that you are planning on discarding.

Coraline’s legs

Knee joint 1The legs start the same was as the arms did, so we’ll skip all that and go straight to the knee joint. I glue two pieces of fabric to the back of the leg, making sure that the joint is completely snug. It is important to have things tight, so that I don’t have slop in the movement.

Glueing front of Knee jointWith both sides, I need the glue to go right up the edge, without dropping into the space between the upper and lower leg.

Front of kneeWhen I glue the cloth to the front of the knee, I bend it. If I glued the cloth on with the knee straight, it would act as a stop and prevent the knee from bending.

Gap in the knee You’ll note that when the leg is assembled there is a tiny gap between the front part of the upper and lower legs. This gives me room to install the stop (which will be two pieces of paper) without the thickness of the stop becoming a wedge that would keep the leg from straightening all the way.

Stop installedYou can see how the stop fills that gap neatly in? We’ve got a smooth line from hip to ankle.

View of stop, bentAnd this is what the stop looks like when the leg is bent. It’s sort of like a freaky puppet in its own right.

Dwiggins marionetteNow here’s where things get cool. This is a plate from the book, The Dwiggins Marionettes, which is the classic text on building marionettes. (It also happens to be gorgeous in part because William Addison Dwiggins was a font designer, in fact, the font I’ve been using in the Building Coraline videos is one of his.) One of the things he talks about is the balance of the figure. You’ll note in this plate that he puts a weight in the calf to help with natural movement.

Weight in calfI’ll grant that two screws are not as elegant as lead, but they serve the same purpose. This is part of why I say that Coraline will be made almost entirely out of paper. Honestly, I usually use washers or for this, but she is so small that I didn’t have any that would fit and provide the weight I needed.

Any questions?

Drafting Coraline’s face

Coraline has lips now, thank heavens. I filmed myself making a draft of her head today. It’s not the final draft, but it will show you how the assembly happens. The first thirty seconds are a montage of the dull pattern tracing, cutting and such. The last six minutes of the video are in real-time so you can see how the face goes together.

When I’m doing the final draft, it won’t go this fast, because I’ll have to wait for glue to set, while on the drafts, I’m just using masking tape.

Any questions?

Paper and testing Coraline’s hair

I had to head down to meet Keith De Candido so I could finally sign the bookplates for the new Doctor Who anthology, and the restaurant was in the neighborhood of several paper stores that I needed to visit. It’s a good thing too, because with the flooding from the storms here last night, I’m not sure I would have ventured forth if I hadn’t had an appointment. As it was, coming home took forever.

But, I have paper. And to reward myself for the arduous outing, I decided to do hair tests instead of working on Coraline‘s mouth. That should really be the next project, but I have a head that I like well enough to try hair on.

First, shall we admire the paper?

Coraline spends almost all the time in the other house in her dressing gown, pajamas and slippers, so that’s what we’ve decided these Coralines will wear, too. I know that the dressing gown is blue, but I don’t think there’s a description of the pajamas–by the way, if you happen to know that there is, will you let me know?–which leaves me a fair bit of leeway.

Oh, and these papers are all bluer in real life than they are on the screen.

Pajama paper 1

I’m combining this.

Pajama paper 2

With this.

Pajama papers combined

To create this.

Pajama paper topThe scale of the Japanese lace paper’s grid is almost perfect to be like the waffle pattern on that shows up in long johns and the like. I’ll reuse the first paper for her bathrobe, but crinkle it like I would for a washi paper doll to give it a softer texture. (I’ll explain in the video below). For a top, Coraline will have a t-shirt made out of this vine patterned paper. Again, the pattern is small, so it works nicely with her scale.

For the hair, I’m playing with three different papers and two very different approaches.
Possible paper for hair 1 Possible paper for hair 2 Possible accent paper for hair
I like all three of these and suspect that the final will be a combination of them, using the gold paper as an occasional highlight.

One of the two styles I’m considering is using the same technique that one uses to wrinkle paper for washi dolls (Momi-Yuzen). One of the reasons I like this is that it creates a more unified head of hair, while cutting the paper into strands–which is my other option–creates a wilder look.


Test with cut paper hair


Test with washi style hair

You see how the different styles of hair totally change the look of the face? At the moment, I lean toward the washi style with the addition some individual tendrils of hair. I am going to reserve judgment until I have her body assembled. This, also, will change the look of the figure.

And finally, for your edification, here’s what I do to the paper to crinkle it.

To learn more about how you could potentially own one of the three Coraline figures I’m making, swing by Subterranean Press.

Wing mechanism

Friday, I made a wing mechanism for Irina Kruzhilina, the costume designer for Mabou Mines production of Song for New York. She needed it to extend upward and unfurl like a fan. Here’s a quick video showing what I was up to.

Joe Cashore and his marionette horse

This, right here, is why I get cranky when I see an author write something like, “he flopped like a marionette.” Perhaps, “he flopped like a badly-operated marionette” might be applicable, but Joe Cashore will now demostrate that, yes, a marionette is capable of realistic movement.

I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live and he is a gifted marionette builder and performer.

Thanks to for pointing out the video.

Studio time

The view from the recording booth at WRWIt was a pretty day outside, but this was my view for most of the afternoon. We were recording a new project for Subterranean, actually I should say re-recording. We have discovered that switching between a British accent and a faux Spanish accent is not my forte. I’m glad the Spanish accent is supposed to be fake, but there are times yesterday when it was German or Jamaican. Yeah. I know. It’s really not okay.

I’m now listening to Ricardo Montalban and trying to absorb the sound of his voice. I’m heading down to Powell’s to pick up one of the dialect tapes for actors tomorrow. This is making my nutty.

Plaster Repair

We had the plaster on the ceiling of our closet repaired today. Mr. Miller, the plasterer, kindly explained part of his process to me. I foolishly had the camera turned sideways, but of course, can’t play the video back that way.

Except, I found this new thing called Scrapblog, which will, in fact, allow sideways videos. There’s no fancy animation in this video, just him talking and plastering. I can embed these scrapblogs, but the video doesn’t work in the embedded version, so I’m afraid you’ll have to trot over to watch the plastering here. The finished job is very smooth, but I don’t have any shots of that.

Oh, don’t click on “Play Slideshow” because there’s only one page. Just click on the video. I find watching the plastering strangely hypnotic. Plus there’s the bonus that you get to hear what my natural, not-in-studio, conversational speaking voice sounds like.