Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by O'Neal (Guest), on 2001-03-17 12:40:07

Locking down puppets

NOTE: the following messages have been transferred from the original Message Board O'Neal User ID: 1174374 Jan 3rd 6:52 PM I am currently making a short stop-motion animated film and was wondering how can I lock my puppet down to the set? I heard you can use magnets or drilling holes in the set and bolting them down, like they did it in Nightmare Before Christmas. If anybody can give me details on the con and pros on any of these, please do. Thomas'Arts User ID: 8861793 Jan 4th 3:57 AM In our studio it is usual , that we tie down the puppets , as it is easy , fast and save . Your figure , of course , should have threaded balls in / under its feet , so that you can drill a hole through the set floor , put a screw through this and screw it into the hole in the puppet's feet . Magnets are also a solution . It is easy , fast but surely not save . Your puppet would have to have giant feet and would have to be very lightweight . The third possibilty would be to glue it down or to use tape . This also works , when done correctly and when the puppet does not have to move from its place , so that you do not have to put the tape down of the feet and disturb the position of the figure like that . Hope all this stuff helps , Heiss PS : You should search this site with the words : feet tie down . Or look on the message bord for this . It is a often discussed topic . O'Neal User ID: 1174374 Jan 5th 0:01 AM Thomas'Arts, Instead of pre-planning the puppets movments. Could I draw a grid on the set and drill holes all over it? Anyway, if you have any stop-motion short or feature films, or know of any animators that do please note that I am currently taking submissions for my annual film festival. The 2nd Annual International Festival of Darkness. Go to to download the entry form and rules. Thank you again for all your help. O'Neal Thomas'Arts User ID: 8861793 Jan 5th 3:42 AM That's also a solution . I never tried it before , but there are just very few logical reasons , that speak against it . What kind of shot will it be ? O'Neal User ID: 1174374 Jan 5th 5:46 PM What do you mean what kind of shot? Please give me more details. Thanks again O'Neal Thomas'Arts User ID: 8861793 Jan 6th 4:37 AM What will the shot be about ? What kind of figures does it feature ? What sets does it use ? Violent Mohawk pres. User ID: 2142474 Jan 6th 1:06 PM I use sticky tack glued to the feet of my charecter. If the set is relatively clean it will hold it in place and still be mobile. O'Neal User ID: 1174374 Jan 6th 4:00 PM Thomas'Arts, Basically, the film is about a zombie that is being chased by the Angel of Death. We were thinking about showing the Angel of Death as a shadow only. Two characters, and two sets, the graveyard and the woods. The woods scene is where most of the action, a chase scene takes place. The film is a cross between an Edgar Alan Poe tale, Tales from the Crypt comic book looking, and H.P Lovecraft otherworldly surreal look. Thanks O'Neal Thomas'Arts User ID: 8861793 Jan 7th 3:46 AM Listens great ! Are you using foam puppets ? Do they have ball and socket armatures ? Nick H User ID: 1752694 Jan 9th 6:49 PM re pattern of holes:For an industrial looking set I used a metal floor with a grid of square holes already in in, didn't even have to hide the holes because it was meant to look that way. Also for a barroom floor painted like a carpet with a strong pattern, I predrilled holes in the dark parts of the pattern. For a forest set lot of holes would be hidden from a low angle camera by rocks and branches and roots on the forest floor. Any that show can be filled with plasticene. It is good to have plenty of holes, puppets don't always go exactly where you meant them to. I really do recommend stong tiedowns, threaded or T slot. Your scene sounds interesting. alundy User ID: 1913054 Feb 6th 6:40 AM I'm about to start building sets for my final college film, and as my main character is a fox (and the paws are relatively small) the tie-downs are a concern to me. I can get my head around flat areas, but how do I support the character from below the set if I want to have uneven ground for him to run on? I was going to use mod rock and chicken wire, but this wouldn't be enough on its own. Any ideas? Nick H User ID: 1752694 Feb 6th 5:24 PM I've animated on rocks and even tree branches. Both are hollow, made from plaster reinforced with 2 or 3 layers of fibreglass matting. (Even better would be polyester resin fibreglass.) Some rocks are made over chicken wire,but that's just to give a shape to build over, the strength comes from the reinforced plaster. Some rocks are cast in latex moulds taken from real rock. The tree branches are made on the bench over clay so that they have no back, they are U shaped, and the clay is removed from the inside. I use a block of wood with a hole in it, like a wooden washer, on my tiedown under the set so the wingnut underneath doesn't dig into the underside of the plaster when tightening it. I've also had to deal with realistic animals with small feet, the dog-like Thylacine in Once Upon Austalia would be similar. The smallest aluminum foot blocks I've been able to make are about 9mm long by 6mm wide, with 2 holes for wires in the back and a slot for the tiedown. With a threaded tiedown hole you could go shorter. For anything smaller steel might be better for strength. alundy User ID: 2045054 Feb 13th 8:25 AM Thanks, Nick. I'll also use your tip for the wooden washer, I hadn't thought about that. Do you think I would be able to get away with moulding Milliput for the foot blocks, or would they crack under the pressure? Nick H User ID: 1752694 Feb 13th 4:31 PM I don't know what Milliput is, haven't seen it here in Australia, is it some kind of epoxy putty? Fimo and Sculpey both break too easily, you have to tighten down very firmly to hold the puppet. I strongly reccommend a metal foot block. Aluminium and brass are easier to cut than steel, I cut aluminium in my cheap little bandsaw with a wood cutting blade. Angilas guy User ID: 0673084 Mar 1st 7:37 PM Try using HARD DRIVE magnets, they are so strong, they can for sure be used if they are baked in the puppet. Neil Hughes User ID: 7698763 Mar 2nd 3:32 AM Alundy, no milliput would break. Try and get hold of epoxy putty (try plumber supply shops) as Nick said.But metal feet are best. Angilas Guy User ID: 0673084 Mar 6th 6:17 PM WHO HO!??! hard-drive magnets can hold up to 10 pounds and maybe more!!! alundy User ID: 9906923 Mar 8th 10:02 AM I'll probably stick with the metal tie-downs. How big are hard-drive magnets, Angilas? And how much do they cost? Moviestuff User ID: 9683713 Mar 8th 10:39 AM I think the real issue with magnets isn't how much weight they hold. In fact that IS the problem! The stronger the magnet, the more a problem you'd have with it "pulling" on the puppet when you don't want it to. If the magnets are built into the feet of the puppet, then the pull downward to the metalic surface of the set would have to be strong enough to support the puppet on one foot during a step. Any magnet strong enough to do that is going to have quite a field; too strong to not interfere with the animation process during those critical poses where the feet are just about to touch the ground. Then there is the issue of the model twisting during non walking shots. A bolted puppet can be anchored very solid to the ground. Angilas Guy User ID: 0673084 Mar 8th 8:53 PM well Alundy, my dad works and fixes computer stuff at his work, and he gets junk computer parts for free, and we can just take them apart, but, I would imagine $10-30 for the magnets, i'm not sure, I'm just sure that it can hold up a 27 inch spino like mine, so it should hold up a little one!