Thursday, 29 October 2009

Blimey, it's been a while...

...and I'd love to say how busy I've been in the meantime, but no, a pathetic level of productivity has occurred.

Nevertheless, I have been working on a new filming project, entirely non-animation-based - miniature pyrotechnics! For various reasons, I am working on a scene in which a warehouse explodes, which will hopefully form the climax of a short film made, and currently being edited, by a friend of a friend of a friend... This is the actual building (a shoddy composite of two photos, made so I could get some idea of the building as a whole) - click on all photos for biggitude*:

And here are the front walls of the miniature, which is 1/24 scale (around 15cm high, without the peaked roof on the right):

And here are models of some of the odd stuff littering the area in front (note the 50p coin, left, to give an idea of scale):

The walls, which are to burst out from the explosion(s), were made from foamboard with the brick-work scribed on, RTV rubber moulds were made and resin castings produced. These castings were broken up into the pieces that will fly apart in the blasts, hence the cracks visible in the above photos.

Unlike my old mini-pyro effort, this will be filmed on a 16mm movie camera adapted to run at high-speed, a rather magnificent Soviet-era Russian Kiev 16-U (courtesy of Mr Ebay!).

It's proving to be very challenging, not least because the actual building is quite boring and devoid of architectural merit, and also because, being based on a real building and location, it means duplicating the original as well as I can manage!

*Or not - fecking useless blog...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

McTodd Animates! spawns

Yes, yet again, bugger-all concrete animation activity - but McTodd Animates! has spawned a sister blog to cater for the increasing amount of caricature sculpting I'm doing now.

Check out McTodd Caricatures!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Big Pat: "Here's lookin' at you, kid..."

A quickie post before I chip off home... Last night I remodelled Sir Pat's head, incorporating a pair of new eyes (and I also re-sculpted his hair, adding cotton threads to a clay base). The photo isn't great, as I simply plonked him on the back of the sofa against the yellow wall behind, but it does illustrate the vastly improved eyes (see his earlier incarnation)...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Why eye (again...)!

At last, I think I have cracked making reasonably convincing eyes.

This is how...

Download a load of photos of human irises of various colours. Resize them to the desired dimensions and print them off a decent colour printer (ta muchly to my old mucker Joe Scaramanga). Fortunately, the size iris I needed coincided with a single-hole punch I have, thus ensuring perfect circularity - trying to cut them out using scissors proved a dead loss...

Take a 16mm spherical white plastic bead and flatten one face such that the diameter of the flat matches the diameter of the paper iris. Stick the iris to the flat face (I used doublesided tape, which I stuck to the back of the iris before punching it out).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since originally writing this post, I have found that it is not necessary to flatten any part of the spherical bead - the paper iris can just be stuck to the curved surface, it is small and thin enough to conform to the compound curvature without distortion or wrinkling.

Now, take another bead of the same size and use it to vacuum form a clear dome using thin transparent plastic sheet. If you don't have a vacuum former (I happen to have made one twenty-odd years ago for some other projects) you could press-form the domes: take a piece of scrap wood, drill a hole a few millimetres larger than the bead, tape/pin your clear plastic over the hole, stick it under the grill until it goes soft and then press the bead into it.

Glue the dome over the incomplete eye to finish it off.

Et voila!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Pathetic, utterly pathetic...

Bugger-all progress to report, I'm afraid. I have been pathetically inactive, due to a great extent to an uncharacteristically busy bout of post-food-poisoning socialising (i.e. getting pissed a lot).

However, I am working on two different techniques for making convincing eyeballs (not being at all satisfied with the efforts documented below), which will be the key to a reasonable model Martian, which I hope to bring to fruition this very week - so, as ever, watch this space!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Sick as a parrot...

Well, sick as a parrot that ate tainted oysters.

Yes, I have been laid low for a few days by a particularly nasty bout of food poisoning brought on by a brace of oysters.

I should have known better than to eat something that looks like snot...

But now I'm almost back at full strength, I shall resume my Martian adventures! So watch this space...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Who Ate The Pie At Night...

As a break from the Martian, I ended up spending the last couple of evenings sculpting a clay caricature of Sir Patrick Moore, telly's mad octogenarian stargazer, for the weekly Challenge on the inestimable b3ta website.

It was nice to have a task with a clear (and near!) deadline, forcing me to get off my arse and do something! And the feedback on b3ta has been nice too...

Monday, 12 January 2009

Blast from the past

While visiting my parents recently, I was rooting around in a cupboard full of old stuff of mine and found the original model building I blew up back in the 1980s (see this thread:

Retrieving it and carting it back home, I thought I'd chuck some photos of it on here...

See you, see me

Well, here I am, back from my Christmas break and, as usual, I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked.

Nevertheless, I made a new set of tentacles and I've been trying to make eyes for the Martian, which you can see in this post.

They're just over 20mm in diameter, and made from SuperSculpey clay. I actually used the clear plastic hemispheres you can see them sitting in to mould the clay. In order for the resulting hemispheres to be slightly smaller than the plastic shapes, which will be used as eye sockets, I 'jiggled' the clay after pressing it in to create a small gap all around, before cutting it off and baking it hard.

I'm not entirely satisfied with the paint job (done using modelmakers' acrylics) and will have another crack at the irises and pupils. Note the pinholes in the pupils, made so I can animate the eyes moving in their sockets.