20 Oct 2009

Preliminary animation trial. Complex movement arcs.


A lowly villager.

Desert warriors of the rival king.

Contemporary fashion.

Dinner is served...

Septum's northern barbarian - bezerker

Royal guard.

Leaping hill beast youth.

The Dragon-guard. Made froom dragonspawn by the Kings experiments

Rafel in action.

King enraged.

Bloated devourer himself. Lord of decadence and sadism.

The rival king. A true nihilist.

Assasins of the night. Aspect of dragon. Aspect of lion. Aspect of wolf.

The ninjas. Aspect of dragon. Aspect of boar.

Rafel -he's dead 'ard.

The monster family. It's roots lie in Japanese folklore.

Some of early charater workings. animation and angles of Kanu's head.

6 Oct 2009

After removing the arms i was more easily able to start work on the cuffs and how the hands would be fixed, as the hands an arms where hard its just a case of making a rough cuff shape and pushing the two together then re-shaping until i was fairly happy, even though clothing is difficult i find it easier to make folds sharp edges and grooves after the clay has been baked by using sandpaper, files and a scalpel to 'carve' the clay. (st2.24).



The same was done with the arms (st2.22 & st2.23), it was proving difficult to clean up any unwanted marks etc under the arms and the same with the folds and creases in the sleeves (clothing is i think one of the hardest things to sculpt - there is a product called 'Paverpol' which when applied to cloth with say creases in it make the cloth set hard, this could be an easier and more realistic way of portraying clothes but then you got make the clothes so i'm not sure…and i cant sew).


I machined away between the toes (st2.19) so that there was enough room to at milliput and reshape them (st2.20) and re-shaped the base of the foot and the ankle bones (st2.21), i should really have shaped them properly or as much as possible before baking, using milliput is ok but it takes time to dry before you can start work again.



One thing you shouldnt be when sculpting is precious, if you dont like something change it. If you decide to change it do it the easiest way possible and if that means breaking or cutting the part off then so be it.
I did this with the feet especially with the left foot because it was too hard to get at and its been baked at this point (st2.17). In st2.18 ive filled in the the hole left by the wire support that i cut out using snips.

Gavron's thoughts...

The Bearded Slave Soundtrack:

The Bearded Slave started as a two page concept of one mans mission to save his girlfriend from 2 evil rulers of the kingdom he would travel.

With the music industry in the state it’s in now we had to find a means of delivery for new art, music and sculpting. With vinyl records in mind, the good old days of buying a record having something physical to own, something that little bit special. Records like the Susperia sound track a pop up art gatefold for example.

The bearded Slave was born a Vinyl toy you buy that comes with a book, soundtrack, ltd prints and animation. Just like the old days something to keep, admire and collect.

The soundtrack is very reminiscing of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. A voice over telling the story and a musical accompaniment. We listened a many Japanese sound tracks to get a feel of where we should take the sound and watched many martial arts and animated movies to gain a feel for the sounds we need to produce for this. I wanted a modern day slant on the soundtrack though so Dub step was the genre of music I felt we should use as a back bone for the drums and bass. We soon got to work in the studio and ask actor and friend Everal Walsh to join us as the voice of the Bearded Slave. It seemed so right to get Everal on board his deep and comforting voice would be perfect to read extract of the book over our sound. Almost hypnotic and powerful delivery would make this seem all the more realistic.

I sampled many tradition instruments including the Koto and sounds of hammers and chains as sound effects to make this soundtrack so much richer and real. While reading the story now developed into a book by Noah, writing became so much easier and more enjoyable due to picturing the action, sadness and love in the story. I could visualise what was happening and write it on the keyboard.

When Andy joined us he brought a more musical slant to the sound with chord progressions and pads giving the bearded slave soundtrack a more orchestral feel and thus much more like war of the worlds and this is exactly what was missing from the sound. We have nearly completed the soundtrack and are just about to record the vocals.

Watch this space…..

Gavin Lawson





The beard was made much the same way as the rest of the sculpt by bending wire int a sort of long banana 'U' shape and then criss-crossing diagonally to give it some strength, but i didnt bother with twisting wire around the first piece of wire as it didnt need it, then you squash on some more clay and press it onto the chin (st2.12 & st2.13) and in pic st2.14 you can see a bit of the wire frame.
Add more clay to get the basic overall shape (st2.15) now you can start to add detail (st2.16), this was done with a blunt ended modelling tool a bit like a dental tool (see the end of 'how to' for tools used).


Even though Kanu has been baked there are certain parts which still need to be sculpted and altered and one of them is the face/beard, i could have tried to add the beard before baking but as i prefer to handle the sculpt rather than fix it to a base it wasnt practical and when i'm sculpting i tend to think about the manufacture side and perhaps i will want to make a mould and produce a few copies.
Another way its useful to work with hard and soft clay is that if you machine away part of the face, which wasnt going to be kept anyway (st2.10 & st2.11), then press the soft clay into that area you get a near perfect fit when the soft part has also been baked.

5 Oct 2009





After it had been baked it had still lost a bit of its shape, and you can also see the difference in colour where the thinner bits of clay have been made harder (st2.5).
As it didn't quite fit i had to saw it into 3 parts which would leave small gaps that would have to be filled with Milliput later.
I then marked on Kanu where the 3 different pieces would sit for future ref. (st2.6 & st2.7).
Its then just a case of sanding, carving and some shaping before adding some Milliput detailS (st2.8 & st2.9).


Once i was fairly happy the tail of his coat (st2.3) it was time bake it but this item didn't have any wire in it to help keep its shape either in handling or when being baked so i decided to use some old Sculpey clay which had gone hard to provide support (st2.4), i carefully pulled off the tail but it still lost form due to the fact that it was deliberately stuck to the body so it didn't fall off when i was working on it, so i replaced it gently to get back the shape of Kanu's arse, rolled out two sausages stuck them together an carefully pressed the tail onto them.

Having baked Kanu its now much easier to start to add more complicated detail such as the raggy tail of his coat (st2.2), this was just made up by me as on the original sketch there is much to see and no back view but when working on parts like this you have to be careful to remember not to make it too weak as this sculpt will eventually be moulded and manufactured.


Stage 2

I now decided that it was time that i baked the main figure to prevent anymore minor damage from occurring e.g fingerprints or marks from fingernails and from simply handling the sculpt. I measured the depth of the thickest part and then applied the baking rules of 15 mins at 135 degrees centigrade for every 1/4 inch thickness of clay, but i didn't want to bake it for too long as sometimes the thinner parts can get burned and the longer you leave it the oven the harder it becomes.
You'll see from the photos from now on that after it has been baked its still basically the same colour as it is when soft, if you want it to be quite hard you can alter the baking time an temperature (i'll add a link to a couple of very good sculpture site that go into this technique in more detail later on) but a pinky rose colour is enough and you should check the sculpt from time to time when you baking anyway, if its too hard its more effort to sand an shave.
After i had baked it i decided the very lightly spray it grey, this makes it easier for you to see anywhere that needs to be smoothed with sandpaper or shaved with a scalpel (more detail of these at the end in 'tools and materials).

Picture st2.1 shows Kanu after being baked, sprayed and sanded.


In picture st1.27 you can see another view of the previous picture with the ponytail attached but you can also see where i have added the white clay called 'Milliput' to try and blend in the extruded strands of the knots to the rest of the ponytail, you can see it again in (st1.28).
What i probably should have done was to include the knots when was first applying the strands to the wire but this makes it even more of a fiddle than it already was, having to re-make parts is something you have to get used to. At the time i took this photo i just assumed i would shape the 'Milliput' with my 'Power Performance' tool but when later on i actually tried it just wasn't possible.

[Milliput is a two part clay that you mix together and that will then dry in a couple of hours, its good for repairs etc after you've baked the Super Sculpey].

[The 'Power Performance' tool, who i think is made by a Chinese company and therefore cheaper than the more famous 'Dremel' brand, is a hobby tool thats like a cross between a pen and a drill - see pictures of the tools and materials ive been using at the end of the 'How Kanu was made' section].

4 Oct 2009

It can be worthwhile sometimes adding some basic detail to the sculpt just to give yourself a better idea of what its going to look like and by doing this it can also influence changes that you may otherwise not have thought of. In picture (st1.26) i've added eyebrows, a ash and some rough idea of how the hair will cover the head and with the ponytail stuck in for good measure.



Kanu... how i made him... cont.

Back to the figure now and adding detail. Now that it has been smoothed you see in pic st1.24 where i've added lapels, by using a finer extrusion and rolling out flat pieces, and the beginnings of a belt (this was made by rolling out clay and then simply cutting strips to be carefully pressed onto a doubled up piece of 20g wire) and some creases or sausages of clay blended in to the surface.
Same on the back (st1.25) by rolling out more sausages of clay and then rolling the ends to a point and blending in with modelling tools, i did however take photos of myself in my dressing gown (which i won't be showing you thankfully) and by looking for images on the net, clothing isn't an easy thing to sculpt and as much reference as possible is far better than just trying to make it up as you go along.

The knots where done the same way by extruding and then just spiralled round the pony, this was the only way i could think of making knots to be honest, to have them as more of a representation rather than an actual knot. Here though i made a mistake by not blending them into the pony strands, although that wouldn't have been easy because they are circular in cross section.

The ponytail now needed to be baked (st1.23), as i said earlier the clay 'Super Sculpey' can be baked in a normal home oven [135 degrees centigrade and 15 mins for every 1/4 inch thickness of clay] I needed to bake it because handling it too much would damage detail.

So by extruding as long a strand as possible an then trimming all .to the same length i was then able to gently place and press them onto the wire ponytail (see st1.22) I allowed them sort of follow their own path, spiralling an twisting, an simply joined up the ends as i worked my way down until it was completely covered.

As for the hair on the ponytail if you look back at the original sketch you'll see that Will Barras has drawn thick lines making it appear more rope like and i wanted to be able to re-create this, so I looked on 'Sculpey's' website to see what tools they had and found the extruder which as you can see from picture st1.21 is basically a metal syringe that you can what comes out the end by changing a little perforated plate.