I addition to building and animating puppets I've used other techniques to depict the more abstract Lovecraftian horrors. There's only so much you can do with a practical puppet when it comes to creating truly mind-boggling creatures; then you'll have to use other tricks. "Digital 3D animations" you may think. Nay, my friend - a lot can be achieved with old-school 2D animations using Photoshopped images and simpler puppet animations.
Let's start with this "god". The background is a time lapse stock film clip downloaded from Videoblocks, as is the organic-looking rotating ball in the center. The other parts are bits of illustrations made by Ernst Haeckel depicting corals and oceanic micro life.
Ten bits of Haeckel illustrations make up the various parts of the abstract "god". They were imported in a number of layers in After Effects and made to rotate in various directions by key framing their movements in the timeline. If this all sounds like Greek to you, then do what all civilised people do; look up "key framing in AE" on YouTube. When this animation was rendered out it was imported again and a softening filter from Rampant Color FX was added over the clip.
This creature was created by using Photoshopped 2D images and a little piece of stock CGI animation, but I find that the best composite monsters are made up with moving sculpted parts, in other words puppet animated bits. So let's take another example.
This critter slowly spins around in the air and opens a mouth in its flower-like head to attack one of the protagonists. If this monster seems familiar it's because I re-used a mould of a sculpture for a worm monster created a few years back for a Lovecraftian game created by Rolando Guiterrez. I'm using that monster's head here with his permission.
This time the head was mounted on a wooden support painted in the chroma key green I use for most of my backgrounds nowadays. The latex head has aluminum wires in the four flaps that open up into a mouth when pulled back, and each "petal" along the fringe also has a bit of wire in it. This allowed me to animate an undulating motion in the fringe.
New for this project was this larger fairly detailed tentacle. I animated it moving as slowly as I could.
Also added were three layers of this collection of smaller tentacles animated for my previous "Lovecraft Alphabet". When put together in After Effects, the finished composite created a quite lively squirming monstrosity, looking something like this:
I might've been able to build and animate a whole puppet like this, but the resulting headache was something I didn't want to take on. Doing it this way, with composite elements is a better solution, and it allows me to keep check of each part of the monster, making adjustments as work progresses.
I have been busy for most of 2014 with my day job activities, which mostly include making films with people having various handicaps. Very little free time has been made available to me, but I'm changing that. I can't let me own projects linger for months on end, so I've changed my duties at work, and I hope that 2015 will turn out to be one of my most productive years yet.