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ARMATURE ANATOMY 101

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Some of the ball joint sizes (ball diameter) on this armature were: 1/4" for ankles & 3/16" toe bend; 1/4" knees; 5/16" hips; 5/16" mid torso/waist; 5/32" wrists; 3/16" elbows; 3/16" outside shoulders (deltoid area); 1/4" inside shoulders; 3/16" lower neck; and 5/32" upper neck-head. The head is made of hard resin and the lower jaw was not jointed yet (this is only sample/display armature). The finger wires were 1/32" aluminum solid wire but it is better to use multi-stranded finer wires so that fingers will last longer (not break). The feet have 6-32 threaded tie-downs at the toe plates and also in the heels (not visible in images). As stated before, to make a "one off" (just one) custom armature of this kind might exceed the budget of a stop motion "hobbyist". I have designed another type of ball joint that looks similar to the ones in the images but involves less machining & less costly materials but they work just as good.

There are other kinds of joints used in animation armatures; Swivels, Hinges, and Collar Joints. Actually, the armature images you have just seen here, if you look at the waist area, there is a Swivel Joint. Also, you can see some of these fancier armature joints in my photo gallery. I still think, that a well designed Ball & Socket armature will usually work in most cases. Of course, if you have the budget & time, to the stop motion animator, highly precision machined armatures is like driving a Rolls Royce or Jaguar! Just remember though, one can get too technically involved or distracted with only armatures....it is only a Tool to acheive the finished animation product. With lots of perserverance, self-motivation, imagination & creativity, one can do reasonably good animation with less complex or wire armatures! Also, it helps tremendously to use some sort of Frame Grabber tool, as a frame-to-frame reference / tracking aid (especially with wire armatures--very springy).-----

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