Customized brass nuts

Wuchan_CNUT1

This is a picture of customized brass nuts, which are used as supplementary parts for rigging. I usually make my armatures in various materials including alloys of steel and aluminum as well as brass. Some clients specifically order brass armatures.

Brass is highly machinable and offers greater corrosion resistance than steel. It is also easy to braze and weld thanks to its relatively low melting point.

Even with such advantages, however, stop-motionists in some countries have underestimated brass as a material for armatures. They say that brass is weaker than steel and corrodes under alkaline conditions.

It’s true that brass has some disadvantages, but I still think brass is a very good material for armatures. With a brass armature, it is possible to create smoother movements and control tension more precisely than armatures in other materials.

I’m going to write about this again some time later on this blog.

 

Mermaid armature

Mermaid_Wuchan_Armature

In early 2015 I made a mermaid armature for an NFTS (National Film and Television School, UK) graduation film titled Fishwitch directed by Adrienne Dowling. Adrienne told me that the film will soon start screening in festivals. I’ll post the link for the trailer when it comes out.

The trickiest thing about this character was that it had to move not only in water but also on land. I figured that the most important part was to make it move naturally in both environments. So I designed all the joints to have different ranges of motion in order to make it move like a human as well as fish. It’s possible to replace the mesh fin in case it breaks.

The hip part is made to install a square brass tube and a screw rig. You can choose to install the tube either horizontally or vertically. The client wanted the mermaid to swim in water horizontally and walk on land vertically.

Tiny Part of Hinge Joints

 

Hand_Armature_Wuchan

These days I’m working on a project for a studio in the U.K. I’ve recently made a prototype of little hand armatures specifically for this project. This tiny item is a machined part of a hinge joint for a finger. Making an item this small and thin is really a pain in the ass.

A new episode of ‘Botos’

Botos is a stop-motion animation series created by Comma Studio in South Korea. Its cute characters are based on three cats Director Heeyoung Lee has at home. Director Lee originally started posting web comics about these cats on her blog, and then moved on to make the animated series. The story centers around the hilarious lives of the cats confronting all kinds of troubles. The series has drawn public attention since pre-production, receiving several awards for its interesting characters and original stories.

Since 2009, I’ve been involved in this project as an armature specialist. The studio has released about 40 episodes so far, broadcasting them on Naver–the largest search portal in Korea. This episode is a parody of a big hit Korean historical drama series. You will see a kitten appear at the end of the episode. The armature for this kitten is an exactly the same with the mouse armature in the Japanese feature, Chieri and Cherry. When Director Lee saw the mouse armature, she thought it was the PERFECT size for her new kitten character!

 

The smallest one so far

This is an armature for a mouse character in a newly released feature, Chieri and Cherry. For this Japanese animation, I’ve made various types of armatures including humanoids, four- and two-legged animals in different sizes from about 5cm to 50cm.

It was quite time-consuming to make various types of armatures in a small quantity. Yet the most challenging part in this project was to make all the customized parts in so many different sizes. In order to make these customized parts and finalized armatures, I needed to spend a lot of time communicating with the puppet fabrication team and the animation team.

This mouse character had to go through the same process. It was supposed to have a lot of movements, so the studio definitely wanted to have a ball-and-socket armature for it. Due to its tiny size, this armature became one of the most tested versions in the project. And it’s the smallest full-bodied armature in ball and socket I’ve ever made so far.