Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Beauty of the Fall

The beauty of the Püterschein system is, as you can see in this picture, that the puppet assumes very natural positions with no human intervention. I just cut the string that held it up and it fell on its knees just like that! A true predecessor of inverse kinematics!.

It seems like it is praying for arms, looking intently at the cut rods that will give it the expressiveness it needs.

I cut an old broom stick to use for the arms, thinking that it was pine and it would save me some time if it already had a round shape. Ha! I don't know what kind of wood it is, but it was hard as oak and I have gone through a whole set of carbon steel blades just cutting it down to shape. It has taken me three full days to get them ready for testing! So much for saving time...

You can see the Creator now just standing naturally, again with only spine support. I did not pose it, other than bringing it down to contact a surface. Can't wait to have the entire body functional. In case you are wondering the "feet" will be (at least that is the plan) two slim inverted cones. We'll see how it behaves. As for hands it will have none in this iteration, since it will be all dressed up and have very long sleeves like the human performer in an earlier post:
you can see it here and in the original design so you get the idea.

This is a detail of the hip and waist rigging that holds and constrains those parts as the marionette flexes and moves.

After three days, a few cuts and sore muscles overall, the arms are close to ready. I've tested them and they move gracefully and have the needed range. Under the torso you can see the channel I gouged out to make room for a couple of screw eyes to pass the string that connects it to the waist and hip.

Next task: the HEAD! this will be interesting since it will have a wooden core or "skull" and it will wear a "self animated" mask, a fancy way of saying it will have some springs to react to any movement of the head. If I have time, which I doubt, I would like to put a micro-servo on the latex mask so that it can have a range of expressions in addition to the eyes. Lorena, who designed the original creature does not like the idea. Perhaps she is right. The simplicity of the spring solution, which we have demonstrated on performance gives such a varied range of expression to the Creator's face that adding more might be less. So there!

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