I built a model of my pet sheltie, Lola.  I haven't done any stop-motion animation for about 5 years and I've only ever worked with plasticine so I thought I'd try something different this time. I built a wire armature with epoxy putty joints. I google imaged 'dog stop motion armature' and found a great blog post by Sammy-Jo Tawn and basically copied her design.

I wrapped the wire and epoxy in teflon tape and bulked out the body with foam from an old pelican case.  I wish I'd used a more flexible glue (or latex), the super glue was super stiff once it set. I sculpted the head out of fimo and baked it in the oven. 

I bought my first tub of brush latex, opened it and promptly bought a ventilator mask. That stuff smells toxic! I dabbed on patches of latex, coloured with cheap acrylic paint, with a brush and stuck clumps of dog fur into the latex.

I let the latex set overnight, gave the puppet a brush to get rid of any loose fur, then filled the gaps with latex and more fur. 

I haven't quite finished the fur, but I got bored making it, so did a quick animation test with her to see how she moved. 

One of the tie-down nuts came out, and plenty of fur fell off, and I need to make a heavier fly rig, but apart from that pretty happy. Now I just need to build a friend for her to play with...

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Cute! But where is the obligatory reference photo of Lola?

Awesome! I would make a puppet of my dog, a westie, but I hate working with fur.

You could needle felt the fur on, then it would be easier to animate!

Here's the final video. I like to try challenging things to make it worth the effort when I'm finished. There is lots of basic animation here that could be improved eg. unnatural throwing motion and bend over speed of the man. I think the biggest thing I need to work on is my timing and having things start and stop and accelerate between.  There is also issues with rig removal and the fur bubbling etc, but that's something I can worry about in the future. Overall, happy with my first attempt in ages. Hopefully will be doing some more short tests soon.

Lola, get the ball! from Tim Pass on Vimeo.

Ah! So cute!!

Nice review of your work. I think it turned out great. You mentioned rig removal, I'm assuming that's how you made the dog run? 

PS: the animation of her running is really well done. 


Tim said:

Here's the final video. I like to try challenging things to make it worth the effort when I'm finished. There is lots of basic animation here that could be improved eg. unnatural throwing motion and bend over speed of the man. I think the biggest thing I need to work on is my timing and having things start and stop and accelerate between.  There is also issues with rig removal and the fur bubbling etc, but that's something I can worry about in the future. Overall, happy with my first attempt in ages. Hopefully will be doing some more short tests soon.

Lola, get the ball! from Tim Pass on Vimeo.

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