I'm not sure if this has been brought up in the past here, but has anyone ever tried this stuff for building a puppet?
I bought some a while back to test it, but I haven't really had a reason to try it out yet. In theory, it would be cool if it worked so you could sculpt fleshy puppets right on to the armature. It mentions animation as one of the applications in the description, but I was curious if anyone had any hands on experience with it. I'm not sure if it's a popular compound in the makeup world as this seems to be the only site I've that carries it. I might try some of mine out one day, but I bought it a year ago and I'm not sure if it is even still pliable.
I think, since you can skin really anything with liquid latex, the name of the game is getting the armature as close to the final shape of the character as possible. Then you just kind of "connect the dots", treating the skin like webbing.
I've never gotten the physical liquid latex puppet results to look as smooth, surface-wise, as I could do it with a clay puppet. That's really the only reason I haven't done more with liquid latex.
I was actually thinking about trying to skin it with liquid latex too, but my supply is back in LA. I usually get lumpy results with my liquid latex build-up puppets (which actually is a great texture for an alien or a burn victim that happen to be the two characters in my next film). I've heard adding ammonia can make it more running and smooth it out a bit, but I don't want to give you the wrong information. For my next, project I am planning to use molds with liquid latex similar to how Richard Svensson does his puppets.
As far as latex... I continue to push Woodland Scenics' version of the stuff for anyone willing to look into it. I've tried many brands and the quality varies (some is even crumbly when it cures). Woodland Scenics continues to be far and away the best I've ever messed with, even better than the latex body paint from a costume site. A guy in my class started using the W.S. latex (dipping) and the results were so smooth, it looked commercial.I remember my first ever experience with latex being that particular brand and thinking, "the sky is the limit!"
Jason- Amonia or tap water, yep. Both will thin the latex. You might even try a little of each. Sometimes you can get away with just water (stirring slowly).
I second that, about the latex freezing and being ruined. I held off last year on ordering any latex during the winter because I was warned that this would happen. When it finally did come, it was perfect (aside from the fact that costume latex cracks easily- one of the stop-moes on the blogs would use the same exact stuff and make beautiful puppets... and then they'd get cold and fall apart in his shop. Probably had too much filer. Modeling clay is similar, in that the filler is a powder- and when it has too much in it, it will also become brittle and fall apart. So, yeah. You're the expert on latex, Strider.