Snippety Snip

POSTDATED - 20/04/12

 Today I began by hunting down some starch. I was recommended to use this by our model making tutor Martin to apply something to the fur to stop it boiling too much. I couldn't find any powdered starch, which was what I was recommended to use, but managed to find some spray starch. I decided to test out the starch with and without a bit of black acrylic.
Below are the results. I found the starch made the hair look very matted, which wasn't an effect I wasn't too averse too, since the wolf is supposed to be a wild animal, but I found that the starch wasn't strong enough to hold anything in place. Whether this was because of the strength of the starch I found, or if I could increase the strength by mixing up my own starch if I had found powder, I don't know. Either way, the starch wasn't going to work.
I decided to add a little latex and black acrylic instead. This also made the fur look a little matted, but held it slightly better than the starch would have done. Although really this was more cosmetic than functional, because the fur was still going to boil all over the place. Boiling wasn't something I explicitly wanted to avoid though, because I think it adds to the charm of stop-motion - if I had wanted 'perfect' special effects I would be using CG. No thank you. You know what CG stands for? Cinda Gay. You can quote me on that one.

Before painting anything onto the fur though, I first had to give my wolf a trim. Using my mighty nail scissors I coiffured my wolf up badstyle. I trimmed some areas quite close (such as the face and feet) while leaving other areas shaggier, or feathering out the fur to create tufts around elbows, on the end of the tail and under the chest. I was now so very close to animating...
 ...which is a shame because at this point I was starting to notice things going wrong on the structural side of my build. For example, when I had put together the facial armature, I hadn't tightened the jaw hinge too much, because I didn't anticipate the addition of foam and fur adding resistance to the ball and socket joints. This meant that the mouth cannot fully close or open, and while it won't ruin any shots, it was still a bit annoying.
The other main thing I noticed was that most of the joints I had glued together with Loctite were beginning to break open, which meant they couldn't hold their position in certain directions. This is especially an area that I would improve on if I could re-do this project, because I had already made inquiries about silver soldering on the Treforest campus, and I think there are facilities for it up there, but I ended up not hearing back from somebody and so had to move on and use Loctite. Silver soldering is what John Wright uses for his armatures, so you know it's pro.

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