Monday, June 18, 2012

Monsters For Lovecraftian Computer Game

Since I'm actually starting to build a reputation as being able to recreate at least some of H P Lovecraft's nightmarish creatures successfully, I'm also starting to get requests from others who are making their own versions of his stories in various formats. Rolando Gutierrez is currently building a computer game, probably an online game but my details are a bit sketchy at the moment, inspired by Lovecraft's horrific monster mythos. His concept is, refreshingly, to use real actors, photographic backgrounds, and stop-motion animated monsters in the game.
 So far I've built two puppets for the project, and here they are:

Somewhere in the game a gigantic worm creature will rear its ugly head and make matters worse for the players. This monster is built from one of Roland's designs. I made it quite large to allow for more details, especially the head.

We wanted the head to be interesting to look at and went for a flowery design. The front of the mouth was sculpted flat in Chavant clay and a plaster mould built up over it. The cross shape you see in the middle is the mouth, here closed, that opens up during an attack.

This sculpture is the inside of the mouth. I sculpted it smooth, but once the plaster mould created over the shapes were dry, I drilled lots of small tunnels in the plaster, creating what looks like many tiny legs growing out of the "lips" when the latex was poured into the mould.

Here's the front of the mouth being cast in latex in its plaster mould. The latex is tinted with tinting powders from Kryolan. Even though the finished puppet may be in a different colour I prefer to tint the cast in dark fleshy hues; it helps add depth to the final paint job.

In order to create a back side or neck part of the mouth piece I removed the latex cast of the front mouth piece and simply sculpted the back over the plaster mould. This helped me make a back part that would line up very well with the front part. I could've simply built up the back with latex and cotton, but I wanted more exact detailing, and that you can almost only create by sculpting it in clay.

Here's the mouth with all of it's parts pieced together. All the petal-like frills are jointed with bendable wire and can be animated.

Here's the head attached to the spine; a thick aluminum wire with a thinner wire wrapped around it.

And here's the mouth painted and with a latex throat also added.

The body is supported by many small legs. The first eight have claws to hold onto its victim, the other legs have small nuts in their feet, so the puppet can be anchored to the animation stage. The armature design is based on (or stolen from, how you choose to see it) Ray Harryhausen's moon calf monster from "The First Men In the Moon".

The body was padded, as I usually do, with pieces of foam rubber, and the covered with patches of latex skin. In this case a wrinkled skin for the belly and an insect-like shell armour for the back. Both skin shapes were first sculpted flat in clay.

Here's the worm pretty much pieced together and awaiting its final paint job.

The puppet was painted with a thin layer of Prosaide III mixed with acrylic paints, and then airbrushed with Com-Art airbrush acrylics. I find these airbrush paints to bond very well to most surfaces, but I add a top coat from Medea textile airbrush colours, as an added bonding agent. The transparent Medea coat is supposed to help airbrush paints stick to leather and similar surfaces.

The tongue added in these photos is actually a separate puppet piece, to be animated on its own and added in post production editing. Here you can see the mouth fully open and fully closed.

The other puppet I built is some kind of demon character. It's based on a creature from a wood print titled ‘diable’, which comes from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, which was published 1863 in Paris. It pops up here and there as a piece of occult copyright-free art. My version of the creature is, hopefully, a little bit scarier, but still keeps the basic look from the woodcut.

The armature is, like all my armatures, homemade using aluminum wire, Friendly Plastic and wing nuts for tie-downs in its feet.

Only the head and the front of the torso were sculpted in clay and then cast in latex. The rest of the body was built up with latex, cotton and toilet paper (to create a wrinkly skin texture).

Here you can see the muscle detailing using cotton shapes, right before they're covered with tinted latex.

All the body is covered, and the head added. The teeth are also latex/cotton shapes and the eyes are Photoshop print-outs, covered with a transparent Scrap booking plastic (great stuff!)

With some Prosaide III paint mix and airbrush colours the demon is finished. It stands about a foot tall. I have added more latex/cotton shapes over the cast latex pieces to give them a gnarlier diseased look.

I have been asked to create a third puppet, which will be based on an actress participating in the game, and apparently showing her in mid-transformation into something nasty. There will be more reports about that eventually.


Anonymous said...

just incredible...really makes me want to create something like this...really terrific.

Movies. said...

Always wonderful to see your stuff Richard.If only you had the budget for a Steel Ball & Socket armature ;)

Richard Svensson said...

What I really should do is learn how to make ball & socket armatures myself!

Jeff Lafferty said...

Really great puppets Richard!


Shelley Noble said...

Fantastic puppets, Richard. Works of art.

jriggity said...

totally awesome man!!


JON said...

Brilliant monster making!

Unknown said...

An absolutely revolting creature. Jealous of your mad skills! I have a hard time believing you can get such incredible detail with a somewhat crude latex molding technique. Quite inspiring.