Use this space to tell everyone about yourself and your interest in stop motion animation.

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Hey Kevin,

Firstly, I must warn you that I have limited experience with foam latex. Most of the shops I've worked in use silicone or soft expanding foam (if cost is more important than quality). Foam latex is mainly used only for the inside of very large (i.e. fat) puppets.

The benefits of foam latex is mainly cost and ease of painting. The molds are generally cheaper, too. Ultra cal is a suitable mold material for foam latex. Latex mask paints can be easily applied to the finished casting. I would think plenty of ventilation and a fan would be enough if you're mixing in a garage (anyone else feel free to chime in on this one). It will be very stinky. I'd definitely wear a respirator with fume cartridges, though I'm a bit of a safety nut sometimes. Get a separate dedicated mixer for sure. It will get messy and contaminated. I wish I could recommend a brand of foam latex for you, but, like I said, it's been a while. :P

The benefit of silicone is that you can get a better quality and more durable finish. The puppets will crease at the joints much better, too. Foam latex tends to get all bunchy and wrinkles weirdly. Painting silicone involves thinning clear silicone caulk (like, from a hardware store) with naphtha, tinting it with silicone specific pigment, and applying it with an airbrush or sparingly with small paintbrushes. This is the method used all over the industry, and it works great. You can get translucent effects, subsurface scattering, and all kinds of layering effects. There's a pretty good tutorial here The company Smooth-on makes some pre mixed silicone paints, but I have yet to try them.

When creating the molds for casting silicone, I generally use a product called TC-1630, from BJB Enterprises. It's a two part liquid plastic that has aluminum powder mixed in. Very durable and hard. It smells like gasoline and is going to cost a lot more than ultracal. The liquids always settle quite a bit too, leaving a very thick gummy layer on the bottom of the can, which is a major pain to mix back together without the use of a paint shaker. The actual process of building up the mold is similar to making a mold with ultracal (walling it up with clay, etc.).

If you're interested in trying the silicone, let me know, and I can go into more detail. Trying not to get too get crazy long with this post. This is why I wanted to write an ebook! There's so much information to tell!


Kevin Luck said:

Hi McKinlay,

I am setting up a tiny stop-motion studio in a spare room off our garage although, because I plan to be making some foam latex models, for safety reasons, I'll be doing much of my model-making in the garage itself (we never put cars in there!). 

I have a few questions about model making materials and safety.

First safety:

1. Do I need to get a full-blown fume cupboard set up for foam latex work or is it enough to have, say, a table-top solder fume extractor or perhaps just have the garage door open and a floor-standing (i.e. decent size) fan blowing the fumes outside?

2. If I use the family food mixer, with a separate bowl and mixing blade dedicated to latex work only is that safe enough or should I get a complete mixer and keep it in the garage?

3. I have looked around for latex foam kits and GM Foam seem to do a popular quart kit. Have you used this product or are there others that are as good and cheaper or better that you use?

4. Is UltraCal a suitable moldmaking material for use with latex foam? I bought some from Hendrikus (see messages above) and I'm not sure if it what I should be using for this (Hendrikus, feel free to jump in here if you like!)

5. What are the advantages or disadvantages of using silicone vs latex for model and prop making?

Really appreciate you offering to answer questions on this site!

Cheers, Kevin

McKinlay said:

Howdy y'all!

My name is McKinlay. I work in the model shop at Laika Studios. I've been a professional model maker for 10 years or so and have been at Laika for four.

I enjoy helping others out, so feel free to ask me any questions about making models or props. Can't talk too much about things going on at Laika, but I have plenty of other knowledge to share.

I'm also writing an ebook about model making for stop motion, and so may ask some feedback from anyone interested in giving it at some point.

Thanks everyone!

Thank you very much indeed. It looks like I should look at using silicone rather than foam latex for my particular characters - they will not be particularly large - so any further information would be most appreciated. 

BTW You can put my name down for a copy of your book when you finish it!

Cheers, Kevin

McKinlay said:

Hey Kevin,

Firstly, I must warn you that I have limited experience with foam latex. <snip>

I'll put you on the list, Kevin! As soon as I make a list, that is. ;)

I guess I should start a thread where I can answer more questions without hijacking everyone's "hello"s. I'll provide some more information about silicone there.


Yeah, good point about the thread.

Sorry folks!

McKinlay said:

I'll put you on the list, Kevin! As soon as I make a list, that is. ;)

I guess I should start a thread where I can answer more questions without hijacking everyone's "hello"s. I'll provide some more information about silicone there.


I thought i'd repost again (sorry).

Hello my name Lewis, 32 year old animator, I went to Glamorgan university and study CGI but i found it just wasn't for me. I've always loved Stop motion since in i was a kid watching Postman Pat and growing up with  Wallace and Gormit but never thought i'd ever be doing it myself. any way me and my girlfriend Hazel have started are first stop motion short Film which we HOPE will have finished this year 

Anyway i'm going to stop talking about me (it all me me me) 

I'm looking foreword to meeting and chatting to you all

Lewis and Hazel 

Hi everybody! I'm Agustin Chapa. I'm Spanish but actually I'm based in Shanghai (China) working as photographer.
I come from very different disciplines such as graphic design, 3d, retouching, and actually photography.
In 2006 I was managing a very little company in Spain doing collectibles miniatures based in movies characters. My company was the first one using 3d printable technologies for this purpose but due to the so expensive prices of manufacturing at that time I decided Don't keep forward. At that moment I was available to give better quality than the most important brands on the market. One day I read about LAIKA studios and how they actually are taking advantage of this technologies. That catch my interest in the stop motion industry since I have some background than certainly can be used in a stop motion production. So I hope guys I can enjoy in this site and learn a little bit more about this beautiful animated art.

Hello everyone and thanks for having me here. I've decided I better stop lurking around because this is a great resource that I look forward to being a part of.

I'm new to stop motion but not new to animation - I've been "involved" in animation at some level or another since 1993. I've worked on all sorts of random projects ranging from station ID bumpers and logo spots for broadcast, 3d modelling and animation for corporate video, multimedia training and web delivery and in the past two or three years have been developing the tradigital and puppet based 2d animation side of my brain with Toon Boom's range of products.

I'm here to continue to broaden my animation repertoire and stop motion is one heck of a mountain to climb...but a worthy effort. I thank you all for what I've gleaned from here already and promise to contribute back where I'm able and share my development with you all. I've spent the last year and a half slowly investing in the pursuit by way of software, lenses, lighting kits and chroma screens and am now onto the first few puppets and all that involves, stage construction, camera dolly rig building and model making for a mass army project I hope to have finished up for this coming winter - a spoof bit that I'll just be floating out on YouTube. A personal project, nothing earth shattering but fun on a mini epic sort of scale.

I'm finding more and more that I'm yearning to get back to the roots of animation where the charm still lives through the artistry. And of course even in stop motion we see technology coming to the forefront - but to me it's a bit of a relief. I CAN wrap the processes involved today such as replacement face puppets (which make so much sense to me) - I couldn't fathom how it used to be and quite frankly likely couldn't cut it to do it the old fashioned way with hand sculpted everything for every frame.

So that's me. Just a little one-man, home-based studio (in our 13th year in business) that would love one day to bloom and grow but for now I'm happy with the work I do. Happier that it allows me to play an active role in my growing children's lives so I'll never complain about my lot in life.

What do I dream of at night? Arc motion control......wouldn't that be nice to play with?

Hi Animatters, I'm new here, and just learning as many others... I just was reading your post and made me think how many people we share a similar dream. Thant's beautiful.

Welcome here I hope to see your works.

All the best

Hi guys,

I'm really new at stop motion. Give me 2-3 years, I am planning to open a Stop Motion Production back in my home country. Currently i'm working as an expat in other country, trying to collect money in pursuing my dream.


I am a CG animator by trade, trying my hand at stop motion. I animated the Geico Gecko for 5 years, have worked on 3 Feature Films and 3 AAA Game titles. I always wanted to animate with my hands, with a love for all the holiday stop motion animations of my childhood.

Armature parts are hard to come by! Going to really get into ball and rod armatures, investigating as we speak! Buying stuff from the UK could get very expensive. 

Slowly but surely gathering up camera stuff and stage equipment, learning my armature, can't wait to get started!!!

Looking forward to meeting the artists here!!


Hi, there!

YOYO will make a series of stop motion animes. As a big fan of stop motion, I believe it will be a wonderful and interesting thing to do. I will invite
comments on our videos from you guys.

I believe I will get to know quite lot of experts of stop motion anime here and friends with common ineterests. I hope you'll enjoy the productions of YOYO.

Hi there!  I've been lurking on these forums and want to give a big thanks to everyone for all the helpful information.

I'm a trained composer living in Seattle, WA.  I've always been a restless composer, wanting music to be more tactile.  I'm always moving from craft to craft, completing one project and then moving to a different medium (building furniture for my home, quilting, knitting, composing music, sculpting, ceramics, painting, you name it).  

Drifting through all of these crafts suddenly began to make sense when I realized the possibilities of stop motion animation.  I can have it all--the music, sculpting, photography, sewing, building...everything!  On a somewhat personal note, I have Attention Deficit "Disorder" and, paired with stop motion animation and all of its components, it feels like an advantage rather than a disadvantage for me.

I'm currently working on creating a stop motion short to a Piano Trio that I wrote and had performed last year.  The piece is just under 5 minutes long, with no spoken words, and two characters and two rooms to create.  It may be ambitious for my first piece, but am looking forward to all the trial and error.

Anywho--longwinded introduction, really just want to thank you all again for all the information that you share on this site!



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