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Reconstructive Surgery: Old Bronto Stop Motion Armature

March 21, 2011

In our last episode of ‘Dinos-Schminos … Brontosaurus or Apatosaurus’, I stated that I had already did a little bit of upgrading of this antique bronto armature that I made many moons ago. I have not yet succumbed to the juggernaut of technological techy toys human mind takeover & numbing (contributing to A.D.D. :mrgreen: ), BUT I do have some tendency at times, to veer off track & jump around. I cannot work on just one thing for too long (I like variety). Well, I cannot believe this, I am maybe starting to have ‘feelings & emotions’ for the Apatosaurus Dinos? WTF? Do not tell anyone about this. I am not a DINO NERD … You hear?

So … I started digging deeper into the Apatosaurus and its background and the evolving paleontological theories. In entertainment media, television, documentaries, the internet (YouTube-esque sites) …. the Apatosaurus (the Sauropod dino family) is like the unsung, not noticed, mostly disregarded Dino. All the attention given mostly the almighty Tyrannosaurus Rex, Raptors, and other more aggressive dinos. Personally, I have maybe been T-Rex’ed to death ad nauseum, but the market still pushes these dino celebrities. I did quick online search …. there is almost zero, zilch, nada, of some good Stop Motion animation of a modern Bronto/Apatosaurus. Sure, I found plenty of Dino & and some Apatosaurus animations from the ‘Walking with Dinosaur’ past documentaries, but all 100% CGI synthesized, fakerized. I have to admit, even though they were CGI, it does somewhat capture the breathtaking nature of these huge gentle giant sauropods. However, watching the ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ stuff, me being more visually aware than average joe-public, the CGI screams loudly at me :x . It can have an airbrushy and sometimes slightly glowy quality, and the insides filled with that jello/gelatin-like over undulations.

I am not saying Stop Motion Dinosaurs would be any more realistic but it offers a different aesthetics style that breaks from the monotony of the cookie cutter ubiquitous CGI signature (yawn). CGI does have easier ‘mouse clicking’ options such as doing herds/groups/flocks of creatures. It can be done in Stop Motion but more challenging …. using digital cloning, motion tracking & multi-layer compositing to suggest quantities of animals/creatures. As for the unique stop motion aesthetics, you have Tippett Studio’s test of the stop motion T-Rex for the original Jurassic Park and also some of the Stop Mo Raptor animatics. The public knows that the Stop Motion versions are not real (they also know CGI is fake), but they do have a certain Harryhausen-like fantastical surreal dreamy believability because they are in fact REAL OBJECTS (puppets), in a real dimension, in real gravity, illuminated by real lights, etc.. Of course with CGI, they can add all manner of skin jiggles, exaggerated underskin muscle motion but Ray Harryhausen-esque Stop Motion may not need all those bells & whistles because it is the Stop Motion ITSELF that grabs your attention …. it is a REAL moving puppet …. it has a ‘live performance’ aspect to it …. the animator’s hand directly in touch with the puppet without the interferences of the ’suits’ & their demands of excess retakes. I am digressing …. going off topic :P .

Anyway, because I might be getting attached to the Apatosaurus ;) , I felt obligated to try and further tweak this old armature more closer the current paleo concepts. It seems like more work to modify this existing one compared to just doing a new armature build, but since I already started this, I just have to continue this path. Depending on how the test animations of this Bronto armature goes, I may later consider doing a puppet build-up over this armature to create the external finished skin & anatomical features. That is partly why I’m doing this further surgery just in case I want to skin the armature.

As I said, I cannot work too long on just one thing. While this Dino-Schmino project is going on …. I am looking at an old mold of an insect alien creature sculpt I did long ago, and possibly build a new armature to fit it, then hot foam latex cast, paint/finish, etc. …. and thusly …. resurrecting the Weevilus Insectorium Alien Amongus :o

Topics: Behind the Scenes, Stop Motion, Stop Motion Armatures | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Reconstructive Surgery: Old Bronto Stop Motion Armature”

  1. U_Ani says:

    Hall Train did do some stop motion footage of dinosaurs following more modern science. Obviously said science has moved quite far in only a few years but it’s good for aesthetic reference.

    People should indeed not be blinded by the commercial shine of CG mesh model animation when doing their presentation. Digital compositing alone is so powerful that it can be used to combine different forms of puppetry to create a realistic performance. Then there is the outstanding puppet work CTC has done on the stage show version of Walking With Dinosaurs. I know, not stop motion but it’s the second best thing out there IMHO. If puppets are made with right standards they are easy to look at, stop motion or no stop motion.

    Good luck with that armature. It’s important to have fun your own way.


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