Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Make Talking Halloween Mighty B! Figures

Since I was a small kid I've been a big fan of projection effects like those used in the Haunted Mansion.
The kids' Halloween party at the Nickelodeon is always a big event, and this particular year I wanted to go all out (luckily my bosses were also willing to look the other way on a couple of my deadlines).

First, I carved their heads in some nice chunks of soft foam.
Note: do not attempt this without some sort of respiratory mask apparatus, or the inside of your lungs will resemble the floor here.

taking shape.
The final positive face.

Then I had the forms cast in vacuum-form plastic.

Stand-up bases made of wood scraps and pvc pipe.

I dusted the inside of the heads with white spray-paint. The facial animation will be projected by two digital projectors from behind. This way viewers will be able to get get very close to the figures without blocking the projection beam.
I fashioned crude body forms from cardboard and then draped them with plaster-dipped sheets of canvas for clothing.

I painted them entirely with photo-optical paint so that, when lit with a black-light, the bodies will glow as much as the rear projected faces.

Board artist Sunil Hall built a motor that gave Bessie's marshmallow arm a convincingly frightened tremble.
This campfire scenario was inspired by the episode "Bee Afraid", and editor Meghan Burleson cobbled together some dialogue and effects from that show to voice our mannequins.

Production staffer Jerry Regan was kind enough to animate the actual faces to be projected onto the forms.

...and uh, the end effect is nearly impossible to photograph, but quite impressive in person.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The making of "Mad Cat"

This is "Mad Cat".
Of the pieces I created for M Modern's Fairy Tales Retold show a few years back, this is one of my favorites.

The name is a play on the title of this Henry Fuseli painting, "Mad Kate", from 1806. It portrays a woman who has lost her lover at sea, and all of her marbles as a result, apparently. I saw this in the Tate Britian and it blew me away.

It was as though it had been painted exclusively to be hung in a haunted house somewhere.

I was also heavily influenced by the work and Plight of English artist Louis Wain.
Wain drew quaint postcards of anthropomorphic cats around the turn of the last century.

But later in his life, as he descended into schizophrenia , his work became increasingly abstracted and psychedelic.

When creating the sketches and painting, I deliberately avoided looking at reference for either inspiration.

I wanted to capture that slightly deranged look that can be found even in Wain's early work.
Is she covered in bugs?This is a thumbnail color comp. Looks like I was planning for birds in the sky still.

The entire figure was painted in watercolor, to keep the painting from getting too "tight".

Sky painted in opaque gouache.

It's raining mice! (hallelujah)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Karl's Kreature

This was one of my all-time favorite bits from the Gervais podcasts, so I was very excited when I was asked to design it.

Shows animated in flash are designed in a very economical way, but I'd often get carried away with drawing more expressions and poses than were asked of me. I couldn't help myself.

Bryan Arnett did the rhino/lion stuff, which turned out great.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Orientation Doodles

I spent a day and a half getting to know our company a little better. Glad I remembered my pen.