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Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Hi guys, I was wondering if anyone was interested in some tutorials. This is the first...

An armature is the inner frame of a stop motion puppet. Like you and me, we have a jointed skeleton inside us that supports our body mass. The skeleton helps us move and not slip around like a blob of jelly.

Because a skeleton enables us to support ourselves, stand up, move limbs without them bending unnaturally, we need a skeleton or armature our puppet.

A stop motion puppet's armature all depends on your film, character, budget and skill.

A simple wire armature requires only annealed aluminium armature wire for the spine, arms, legs and neck, epoxy putty or similar, a drill and some pliers.

The next step up would be a B&S armature. Ball and socket armatures can be hard to make by your self, if you don't have the right equipment. Ball and socket armatures are more similar to a human skeleton with socket joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles etc. You can get a much smoother fluid movement with B&S armatures.

If you lack the equipment and time to make your own, there are many ready made armatures out there to buy. There are links at the end of this post, where you can buy them. These armatures are also more robust and easy to use, with no problems like breaking wires or wire un-twisting.

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

I thought you guys would want this one- as you all seem to work with plasticine....

Plasticine is brilliant for clay animation for the following reasons.
It is soft, easily moulded and never cracks or tears consistently like polymer clay
It never dries out like potters clay or epoxy putty
It is not too soft, but firm enough to animate well
It can be melted and mixed
The colours are often more specific and do not bleed too much
It has a more clay-like than ''plasticy' polymer clays
More finer and pliable than polymer clays.
Plasticine is used all over the animation industry. From Aardman, who use 'Aardmix', a mix of different plasticines, to lazy You Tube clay 'morphers' use plasticine. There are many ways of sculpting plasticine to get a professional clean look to your puppets and sculptures. The secret is to define your sculptures and keep them smooth and symmetrical. Of course, this may not work for stylized puppets who have a different look, but keep it basic. Try not to over complicate your puppets. Look at Wallace and Gromit, the puppets are simple but they look professional, because they are defined, smooth and simple. If the puppets are simple, the less likely you are too have mistakes and cracks in your clay from over detailing etc. Yes you can detail your puppets, but this doesn't look best with plasticine. If you keep your puppets simple, the colours are bolder and cleaner. This gives you a nice clean professional looking puppet.

When you smooth plasticine, your nails should be short, as when you are rubbing and smoothing the clay, your nail will make little dents that will show up on a simple bold puppet. Marc Spess has a CD about smoothing techniques which you can get from his site. The link is my homepage.

Just keep your plasticine puppets simple, bold and defined in shape. They will stand out and look clean and bright

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Foam latex is a combination of different components that are mixed together to make a foam.
The foam is very flexible, light and therefore brilliant for stop motion animation. To make foam latex you need a few components. These liquid/ creamy components are mixed in a mixer or blender. The resulting mixture is creamy and foamy. But before this procedure is carried out you must make a sculpt of your puppet in clay. When the clay has hardened you then lay it in a bed of potters clay, supercal or similar. Keys are added to the clay. The keys are made to slot into holes in the top half of the mould so the mould halves fit tightly together. When the sculpture is fixed inside the bed of clay, layers of more clay or supercal etc are added on top of the bottom half, until a top half is made over it. The sculpture will be inside the two halves. The mould is then cracked open into the two halves when it is dry. Now you have two mould halves. The sculpt will be in one halve of the mould, so you take it out and put it aside. Now you have a mould of your character. An armature is made and the foam latex is brushed / poured into the two mould halves. Then the armature is placed into one half of the mould and the two halves are sandwiched together. The rest of the foam is then injected into the mould, resulting in the space where the sculpt was bedded to be filled up with foam latex. The mould is then put in the oven to cure. After this process, the mould halves are pulled apart and a foam latex puppet will be there. The puppet is removed, painted or clothed. There you have it! A stop motion puppet.

cool chris Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008


MARLOW NATHAN Posted: Apr 8th 2008


Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008

four(i am still 2)!!!

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Ok, is that a good response? :O

Must be suprised......

Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008

we r!

Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008

hehe, nofby, u r a great friend!

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Thanks Jan ( for short, sounds better)

I can do a few more on request if you need help on anything

Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008

thanks, and can u please call me janique1 or janique though! but, i dont mind u calling me jan, sounds cool!

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Hehe, ok JANIQUE1. Here is a sculpture tutorial for you guys to get you grubby little hands on. (not saying they are even slightly grubby or small) ;)

To animate a walk you have to get the following things right. The head height. The leg motion. The arm motion. The personality of the character and how it will affect the walk, and the feet movement. When you walk, you step forward and catch yourself with the other foot. So, obviously, when you raise up again, your head will be higher.

Heres a photo explaining what I mean.....

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Now here is one of my stop motion animations of a walk I did quickly to explain the leg and arm movement. At the leg and arm swing passing position, the arms should be at the puppet's sides.

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Watch it, it only takes 10 seconds- up to 450 KB or something

Janique1 Posted: Apr 8th 2008

sorry, did not work on mine!!! and yes, i do like the name janique1,

thank u

yours sinsirly


Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

its on my youtube account now...

chesee Posted: Apr 8th 2008

dear nofby can you tell me how to make a wire armature thank you. :D

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

Sure! Let me compose a biiiig message

Nofby Posted: Apr 8th 2008

A simple wire armature requires only annealed aluminium armature wire for the spine, arms, legs and neck, epoxy putty or similar, a drill and some pliers.

Firstly you need some alluminum wire. You can buy this at any decent art store or craft store.

Then you need some epoxy putty. This a clay like putty that dries ROCK hard after sculpting. The U.K type is called Milliput( google it)or if you can't get your hands on that just oven bake clay will be alright for a beginner.

If your puppet will have tie downs, you need nuts and screws. Tie downs are screws that come up from a hole in your set floor and screw into a nut in the puppet's feet. Then the screw is tightened against the floor with a wing nut or another nut.

To start off with you need to twist 2 strands of wire together. To do this quickly you can put 2 pieces side by side and screw the ends into the tip of the drill. Then you secure the other end with a vice or your foot and drill slowly, so they twist together.

The other way of doing this is getting one piece of wire, bending it in half. Putting a pencil into the bent over areaand wrapping the wire around so the pencil is secured in a loop. Then you put the other end in pliers and hold the handles tight or in a vice and then twist the pencil around.

You should make 4 pieces of twisted wire. One for the spine, one for the arms and one for the legs and one little piece for the head. Now you have to put them together. You take the spine piece and unravel the two twisted wires untill you have two lengths of single wire coming from both ends. Then you bend the arm length in half like a U and wrap the pieces coming off the end of the spine around the bend. You do EXACTLY the same for the legs.

Then you add epoxy putty or clay onto the chest and hip areas to build up those parts of the armature.

Type in STOPMOSHORTS in google and visit the first link. Go onto gallery at the top and then select tutorials in the options. There are a number of video tutorials there.

tiptopgolfy Posted: Oct 25th 2010

should i then add plasticine onto the milliput or should i add something else? thank!

skalouis Posted: Oct 29th 2010


Darthplatypus Posted: Feb 13th 2012

wow i love your tut's i know how but u should make some youtube video tuts for these guys so they can get a better idea...;)

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