I'm very excited about a new short film I've been asked to work on, it's a live action fantasy film called 'The Guardian'. The film's director contacted me about one particular animated creature in the film but when I read the script I wanted to do two more of the other characters in the film because I felt they were totally suited to be stop motion characters, would be pretty unique as stop motion creations and both have speaking rolls... the director was convinced I was right.

It's a small budget production but, there's enough money to make it well worth my investment because the director's past works impressed me and the characters are EXACTLY the types of characters I've wanted to animate for years.

Over the past few years there have been other low budget films that have requested my participation that I've turned down because they don't quite fit where I want to go an where I'd like to take this artform... this one fits.

I can't say much about it for obvious reasons but there are 3 characters that are all very different visually and will each present their own technical challenges and I fully intend to meet and exceed those challenges to create some amazing stuff for you to see. One is completely non-humanoid, the next is kind of a humanoid thing with a speaking roll and the last isn't even made out of anything that should be a living thing and that one will surely be the most cool.

It's been a long time since I was last excited about a film project because of it's content but this one has boosted my creative juices into gear. I've spoken with the director numerous times and am quite confident that he will produce a very entertaining film and he's equally as excited about having realistic stop motion special effects in his film.

It's 'only' a short film but when short films are great, they can be the beginning of a revolution and I'm feeling very good about this one. I've been waiting years for a project like this. :)

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I'm designing one of the puppet faces so that some armature wire in the face will be enough for me to get a good performance out of it. The other will have some mechanical rigging but that will be relatively easy because for reasons I can't say... it will be an exceptionally large face. Puppet face rigging I've done in the past has been difficult because it's just harder to physically rig something that small and find a place to hide the controls. This puppet won't have either of those problems.

Thanks! I do have a good feeling about this film and the director is very easy to work with, he's allowing for me to have a lot of creative control :)

Bristolius said:

Ron, Your art and technique are always inspiring. I bet this film will be great!

Your spider is very creepy and cool.  Good luck with the new project.  I can't wait to see it.

Maureen

Congrats Ron!!!!  Can't wait to see it...

So happy for you Ron!  Too exciting!  Can't wait to see it.  

Thanks! I'm putting way more work into this spider puppet than they can afford but, I need it to look great for my own personal greedy reasons.

I need joints that are too small to be cheap to buy so I'm making them with magnets. I've done that before, when a puppet has obvious joints (like a bug or a skeleton) that doesn't need to pull rubber or too much weight needs to be made, magnets work great as a substitute for a hinge.

That's hard to picture but sounds intriguing.

All the best with the new project Ron, look forward to seeing the results!

I feel like I've seen those joints before. Are they from some sort of aerial?

Ron Cole said:


That's exactly what they are. I started using TV/radio antennas for surface gauges and then realized they're really great joints for an armature! The bad news is that you can't control the tension on the swivel joints at the base but the tension they have is good enough for something like a spider where I'm not asking it to pull any rubber. (but you can adjust the tension on all hinges)

Radio/TV antennas are easy to cut and reconnect, they're very lightweight and they're dirt cheap! Not to mention that they're the thinnest and smallest joints I've ever had for knees and elbows.

You can easily mix them in with a ball & socket armature if you really need the ball joints for some areas while using the antenna joints for other areas.

You can buy two types of TV/radio antennas, ones that are just a hinge and ones that have a swivel base. On this spider armature I used swivel joints for where the legs connect to the body and the rest are all hinges.

Here's one supplier on eBay (there are many) - Click Here

This is really great, Ron!

Ron Cole said:



I love how this works... The last section of the legs are made of knitting needles and I grind a tiny hole like the eye of a needle through the tip. I drill a very small hole through the table and slip a strong fishing line up through, put it through the hole in the tip of the leg and then back down through the table. Under the table I tie a knot in the line and hand a weight on it.

What's awesome about that is that it locks the 'feet' down while still allowing the leg to move around on that spot.

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