Hello everyone,

For my thesis film last year, I used 3D printing to create the different faces (masks) for the puppets. This time, I decided to create them by hand. After much toying around, I think I found a good method. 

Here is the base sculpture that I cast out of resin. As you can see, I sculpted out the mouth, leaving just the upper teeth. 

After casting 5 resin masks I placed super sculpey on the carved out part of the jaw and starting sculping mouths.

After sculpting all the mouths I know I'll need for the animation, I attached magnets to the mask and skull to create the full head piece. Here is what the puppet looks assembled.

 Next I will be adding a nice skin tone, add hair and a hat, touch up the clothes, attach the hands and we are good to go!

I find this replacement method for to be my favourite in creating different expressions. But what I learned -- you don't need a fancy 3D printer to get good results. 

I hope you enjoyed my first post. I will continue to upload progress and show how I did things for the stop motion short I will be making up until December. 

All the best,

 Youp

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Your set of faces looks great!   Thanks for posting.  Were you thinking of making in-between faces to get you from one expression to another?  Or for talking mouths?

That's where the computer 3d design can make as many small increments as you like,  which I guess is what lets Laika turn out thousands of variations.  You can keep making minor tweaks of your digital sculpt, save, and then change it some more, and it should have perfect continuity.  But I think I like this hand sculpted look better.   With a few faces like this, I would probably just use cutaways to change to the next expression.  Like, Cu character, shot of his POV, then back to character reacting with the new face.  I didn't care so much for Harryhausen's dissolve on camera from one face to another in his fairy tale shorts, but that is another way.

That looks great! And what I love is that it is a very doable process that will allow you to somewhat quickly make new expressions as you need.

Did you have any trouble when baking the sculpey onto the resin?  Thanks for sharing!

Good point, does the resin head stand up to the heat?  If that was a problem, instead of Sculpey you could use a 2 part sculpting epoxy putty like Aves Apoxie Sculpt, which doesn't need to be baked.  

Hey Nick!

Thanks for all the kinds words and helpful tips. Can I quickly say I've been a fan of your work for years. Your films and tutorials really left an big impact on me. So I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my work.

I won't be making in-betweens. I'm using the cutaway method you mentioned.


StopmoNick said:

Your set of faces looks great!   Thanks for posting.  Were you thinking of making in-between faces to get you from one expression to another?  Or for talking mouths?

That's where the computer 3d design can make as many small increments as you like,  which I guess is what lets Laika turn out thousands of variations.  You can keep making minor tweaks of your digital sculpt, save, and then change it some more, and it should have perfect continuity.  But I think I like this hand sculpted look better.   With a few faces like this, I would probably just use cutaways to change to the next expression.  Like, Cu character, shot of his POV, then back to character reacting with the new face.  I didn't care so much for Harryhausen's dissolve on camera from one face to another in his fairy tale shorts, but that is another way.

Thanks Adam! 

And no, I did not bake the resin head with the sculpey. I knew it could not take the heat. You're going to laugh when I tell you I dried them with a simple hairdryer. Worked perfectly and didn't melt the resin. haha

But I will probably use Nick's suggestion in using Aves Apoxy sculpt in the future. 

Adam Taylor said:

That looks great! And what I love is that it is a very doable process that will allow you to somewhat quickly make new expressions as you need.

Did you have any trouble when baking the sculpey onto the resin?  Thanks for sharing!

Great solution! I didn't realize that the hairdryer got hot enough to cure the polymer clay.  Problem-solving like that makes stop-motion that much more magical.

Youp Zondag said:

Thanks Adam! 

And no, I did not bake the resin head with the sculpey. I knew it could not take the heat. You're going to laugh when I tell you I dried them with a simple hairdryer. Worked perfectly and didn't melt the resin. haha

But I will probably use Nick's suggestion in using Aves Apoxy sculpt in the future. 

Adam Taylor said:

That looks great! And what I love is that it is a very doable process that will allow you to somewhat quickly make new expressions as you need.

Did you have any trouble when baking the sculpey onto the resin?  Thanks for sharing!

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