Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Perseus and Mob Boss Puppet Heads

I decided to use a tin foil base as the bulk of Perseus' head as it was a lightweight way to build up the mass and, when compressed, held its shape pretty well. I achieved this by rolling up the tin foil into a slight egg shape and then carved out some eye sockets. I then used plasticine to cover the tin foil.

I added more plasticine, sculpting the shape of the face in adherence to my 2D character design of Perseus. The whole jaw is made of plasticine so it is fully animatable and the brow has quite a thick layer of plasticine on it so this can be manipulated too, in order to create different expressions. I made some eyes, pricking them where the pupil should be, and placed them in the sockets. I decided against having actual lips as it just looked bad, so I will just leave the mouth as a slit which can obviously be moved about and opened when necessary. I used brown plasticine for the eyebrows and placed a thin layer where the hair should be.

For the hair I needed it curly and really wanted to get more texture into it than I could achieve by simply using plasticine. So I grabbed some embroidery thread of brown, black and orangey brown, to get some variation in colour, and wound them tightly round drinking straws, as shown in the image below. I then rubbed PVA glue into them and left them to dry. Once dry, the embroidery thread had become very hard and so I pulled it off the straws and then gently pulled it apart, giving me a mixture of loose curls and barrel shaped segments, which I cut into short pieces. I then pushed this mix into the plasticine, as you can see in the image below. I really liked the texture it gave, so decided to go ahead with the technique.

Once I had pushed the first layer of hair into the plasticine, I needed to build it up in volume. So I coated this layer of hair in PVA and then added another layer. I carried on doing this until the hair was the desired length. Buuuuuuuuuut this is where it all went horribly wrong.....

I had put far too much PVA on and so it had made the thread lose its hardness and become soft and gunky, so it lost all of its shape and became a mash of thread. The colours I had used were far too different in tone and so looked awful, I should have just used the brown thread. I had also accidentally gotten PVA all over the plasticine on the face, making it a weird consistency which cracked up and was no longer pliable, as well as having squashed and distorted the face as I had been pressing the hair into it with too much force. But, refusing to be defeated, I did my best to reshape the hair, pushing the orange and black hair underneath the brown so that you couldn't see much of it. I then pulled off the plasticine from the tin foil base and completely resculpted the face.

This disaster was actually a blessing in disguise as I made the face look so much better than the previous attempt, it looked a lot more like my drawing which I was basing it on. The hair also dried out after a few days and had set in solid curls, as intended. You can see the difference in quality between the photo of my first face (above) and my new one (below). The new one is far more refined and delicate. Now I just need to add one more layer of hair, which I will use a minimal amount of PVA for, just to cover up any of the orange and black which is left showing and to give a bit more height to the hair. He also needs some eyebrows.

Below is the Mob Boss, I created this in the same way as Perseus, however I used plasticine for his hair rather than thread as you're not really going to see it in the shots that the animation calls for. I need to texture his eyebrows but apart from that he's done.

Once I've tweaked the heads I'll post final turnarounds of them on here.

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