May 15, 2012
Soooo, ParaNorman getting quite a bit of internet viral activity. I have not posted extensively about it because most of the articles & blogs is for the general public consumption and does not get into the deeper technical aspects. I’m sure many of you already have absorbed a plethora of the ParaNorman publicity buzz out there. I attempt to post ‘meaty stuff that will satiate the readers here which includes my sage & penetrating observations and tradmarked tirades (which are getting milder these days), at no extra charge . If you have not looked at this new ParaNorman write-up, I strongly recommend that you do. At first, the title of the article might be misleading. It’s not just about 3D printing technology but covers much more about the overall ParaNorman production from a technical point of view.
Below is one of the behind the scenes ParaNorman photos (inprogress armature construction). As a BONUS to the worldwide followers of Stop Motion Works, let’s see how good I am in analyzing this one picture . There are a variety of methods used in the construction of the jointed stop motion skeletal metal armatures so that it will precisely fit inside the puppet. One of techniques and the one that myself & likely, most Armaturists prefer … you FIRST design & create hard-copy blueprints/designs of the armatures that corresponds to the Concept Illustration design of the puppet characters. Then you construct the armatures from those blueprints. After armature is fabricated, it is turned over to the sculptor, who will clay sculpt OVER the ARMATURE. The sculpture is then molded, opened, all clay removed and you have an armature that fits EXACTLY in the MOLD.
The other technique which I have mostly encountered and not to my liking: A production is many times in a rush and they want to immediately SEE the puppet character illustrations and/or concept maquettes of the puppet. They are impatient and cannot ‘wait’ for the stop motion amatures to be completed (so that the sculptor can then sculpt over it). In the picture above, it appears , before the stop motion armature was even designed or constructed, the puppet character was sculpted FIRST, without any jointed skeletal armature. The sculpture then silicone molded, and all the clay pulled out. You now have an EMPTY MOLD with NO ARMATURE. What the Armaturist does, is construct & assemble an armature to FIT inside the MOLD. It sounds simple, but IMO much more time & labor intensive. The picture above shows what looks like orange colored plasticine clay. I am guessing they are using the plasticene to temporarily hold & position the armature pieces & components within the mold cavity. The Armaturist proceeds to fit & assemble the armature Piece by Piece (to fit the mold). This requires repetitive times removing and inserting armature back in the mold (pieces held by plasticene), until the armature is fully assembled (soldered) & completed. Ouch … like I said before, not the ideal way to create these jointed metal skeletal wonderments.
I do not know if this makes any sense to ‘you all’, but perhaps the more ‘technically’ inclined out there can somewhat grasps what I’m trying to keyboard (so much easier to do a video & demonstrate). Okay, that is one of my dark secret technical revelations about the nitty gritty work of Stop Motion Armature construction …. it’s not all that glamorous