Tuesday, February 06, 2007

collared - and buttoned. I'm calling this one done!!!!!

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Man, I hate doing collars! As much work as the rest of the shirt, in a fiftieth the size! So much engineering... so many compound curves, edges that all need to be hemmed under somehow, and so tiny I can barely see it, much less get my bulky giant's fingers in to work with it! I swear I'll never again make a shirt with this kind of collar on it. This goes back to my idea of things that work well and things that don't.... why on earth should I struggle so hard to make something that doesn't look right anyway, puts all kinds of weird stresses on the already crappy looking shirt, and even if it did look good would only make everything look more 'normal'?!??!? From the neck down he's looking a bit like Malibu Ken's mutant cousin.

And the buttons!!!!! My god, they're so tiny they actually have no physical weight or mass! I couldn't pick them up, couldn't feel if I had one in my fingers or not, and once i finally did, I couldn't set it down! It stuck to my fingertips. Painting them was a nightmare. And still they look gigantic. From today forward I move progressively away from this cartoonfiied realism. There are ways to make puppet clothes that are at the same time much easier and look better, without ending up looking like doll clothes!

In the comments section of my last entry Sven mentioned the infamous "Muppet Stitch", that supposedly can be done from outside and look almost invisible. I've heard of it before, and decided to go in search of. I found this thread at Muppet Central: Hensen Stitch. What I gather is that there's no real magic stitch, it's more a matter of great skill on the part of the stitcher. I once downloaded a page with a bunch of diagrams for different stitches and tried to learn a few of them, but now I usually just use the most basic one... straight across, and try to keep the line nice and straight and the stitches uniform and at an even tension. It works fine, I don't see a need for anything fancier, unless of course I actually COULD do a stitch from outside to repair or finish something I can't get to anymore.

And finally, here's a clip Eric posted recently at StopMoShorts, a trailer for Wombok Forest that just totally blows me away: Wombok Forest. I can't get enough of this! It's got a perfect balance of realism with an almost cartoonish exaggeration, but without looking like a cartoon. Every element is perfectly done... all the details, the lighting, the way the puppet is dressed, and especially the animation. Bravo Miles and Julie, bravo!

13 comments:

mefull said...

I know what you mean, it's hard not to make it look like doll clothes. Part of the problem may be the fabric pattern may be too large. The buttons are not that bad, well just a little big for scale. It's all out of my area of expertise. I guess you would have to carve your own buttons and paint your own fabric??

Still I think he turned out pretty good.

(Announcers voice comes on...) Striders Spring collection, made from 100% cotton for casual comfort, perfect for a day at the beach or an afternoon at the park...

herself said...

I like it. If something didn't look like doll clothes to you, what wold it look like? More artful? More suggestive rather than actual? The cheerful contrast to the faces was intentional? I was going to suggest dipping your fabrics or brushing on a wash of dirty paint water or coffee or tea and fraying the weave to knock down the newness and cartoon quality.

For scale Hawaiian shirt buttons, teensy wooden beads that can be either glued or sewn on. They're yours if you even make another.

Ubatuber said...

Wow, I'm away for a few days and come back to an eye-feast :) Everythings looking great, thanks for the tip about the foam glue! One down, 8 to go?

Darkstrider said...

Hey Mark, change one letter and you got it:

"I guess you would have to carve your own buttons and print your own fabric" (print rather than paint). I just ordered some iron-on transfer paper for my inkjet printer to make little logos and stuff for these guys, and I could use it for an overall pattern like this one. Oh, and then discovered that my printer is junk, so I ordered a printer too.

Shelley, it's hard to say exactly what would constitute "less doll-like" clothes. Hard to explain in words anyway. Basically there's no reason to give them little collars and buttons since those aren't actually functional and serve only to complicate the construction, make it more difficult to build, and by bringing the design closer to a known human standard make any mistakes stand out gigantically. See, if you try to make a collar and it doesn't quite look right, everybody immediately notices, but if you make something no-one has ever seen and has nothing to compare it to, they don't think that way.

This all is so clear to me in my head, but whenever I mention it people don't seem to get it. I guess I need to just demonstrate rather then keep trying to explain.

And please.... I hope nobody gets any of this overpriced Elmer's just because I made the mistake! When I got this Fgoam Tack glue i fell prey to Woodland Scenic's marketing strategy - they make it sound like something expotic and completely original, but it turns out to just be regular white glue. All white glues is identical except for different thicknesses. Elmer's Tacky Glue, Foam Glue, and I don't know how many other brand names... it's all PVA glue - PolyVinyl Acetate. Same chemical formulation, just different amounts of water added to make some brands runnnier (like Elmers). Woodland Scenics likes to package theirs in these neat-o bottles and make all kinds of crazy claims to entice people to pay extra for their version. You'd be better off getting some Tacky Glue.

Hila said...

First of all: it looks great!
With that said (and meant) I find that the "doll clothes look" problem has more to do with the thickness of the fabric rater then the pattern or buttons scale.
The thiner the fabric, the less stiff the garment will look on your puppet.

Thin fabrics that I use:
Cotton Voile (very thin and wonderful to work with).
Poly chiffon (transparent or semi-transparent).
Some faux suede fabrics (textured).
Japanese rayon crepe (textured).
Some Silks work amazingly well.
And some vinyl fabrics are extremely thin but a bit hard to work with.

herself said...

I get you, Mike. And I'll look forward to your demo of the "suggestive" clothing. And thanks for the clarity on the glue, now, I don't have to make an expensive online order just for a bottle of the stuff. I gotz lotz o'glues!

Guess what. By a wild co-winikity with Hila's suggestironi, I just sent you a care package with some scraps of THIN fabrics in various possible bar dwelling small patterns and very soft thin leather layers from an old coat I cut up, sheer voiles and silk chiffons for the Goils blouses maybe, three scale sizes of gold chain in case you have any of those types of guys in the pub, belt making gear, the smallest wooden beads I could find, etc. You'll see if you can use any of it. woot!

Darkstrider said...

Whoah! Another Halfland care package!! Excellent!

And thanx Hila, good points!

Sven Bonnichsen said...

Holy smokes, Hila -- that's a goldmine of information you just shared! Thank you very much!

herself said...

Amen to that, Sven!

Hila, it really is like gold when you share these things from your ample experience! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

MESSAGE

Anonymous said...

MESSAGE

Hila said...

I'm happy to help :D

davecrossaia said...

MY NAME IS FLORENTINA SANCHEZ AND I WORK FOR AN ARCHITECT, DAVE CROSS, I SEE YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT AN ARTIST YOU DISCOVERED, ACCIDENTALLY WHILE ON YOUR SEARCH FOR SILICONE PRODUCTS
THE ARTIST NAME IS GRANT STOCKTON CROSS AND YOU COMMENTED ON HIS “HOBNOB CHARACTERS”. DAVE CROSS HAS BEEN REPRODUCING SOME OF GRANT’S ARTWORK AS GICLEE PRINTS AND HAS ASKED ME TO SEARCH FOR GRANT CROSS ON A WEB SEARCH TO SEE WHAT IS UNDER HIS NAME AND TO FIND OUT MORE PUBLIC INFORMATION ON HIM WHEN I ACCIDENTALLY CAME UPON YOUR BLOG POST IN REGARDS TO HIS “HOBNOB GALLERY”.
YOU MENTION THAT YOU WOULD “LOVE TO SEE THIS GUY DO SOME CONCEPT ART AND THEN TURN IT INTO ANIMATION.”
DO YOU KNOW THAT GRANT HAS OVER THE YEARS BEEN CASUALLY SCULPTING USING VARIOUS MEDIA SUCH AS WOOD, METAL, WIRE, AND FABRIC ETC. BUT MOST RECENTLY HAS BEEN SERIOUSLY DOING SOME CLAY SCULPTURES AND FROM WHAT I HEAR MIGHT BE ENCOURAGED BY OTHERS TO DO SOME CLAY SCULPTURE KITS TO SELL. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SEE SOME OF THESE RECENT WORKS OF GRANT’S AND I HAVE ATTACHED SOME PICTURES WITH GRANT AND HIS FATHERS PERMISSION. I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR CRITIQUE ON HIS RECENT SCULPTOR WORK WITH YOUR VIEWS AND YOUR GREAT EXPERIENCE. IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR INFORMATION IN REGARDS TO GRANT’S WORK I WOULD BE HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU AND I KNOW THAT GRANT AND HIS FATHER WILL ALSO BE HAPPY TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS.



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