For the Norwegian animated feature film Solan og Ludvig we were asked to build the animation puppets. Building animation puppets is really something we love to do. We want to show you some parts of the production of these puppets and took the character “Reodor” as an example.
If you want to see how the characters were animated then please have a look at the trailer which you will find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCvFUzWpd98
We worked closely with Qvisten Animation, who were responsible for the total production, to find the best way of translating the 2D designs into 3D animatable puppets.
Above you will see the early 2D designs which are used as a starting point for the production of the animation puppets.
When the 2D designs are more definite we start looking for the right materials for clothing of the character, but also for the skin of the character. This research is very important, because it creates the final look and feel of the character.
We also need to make a 3D sculpt. This is the first translation of the 2D design into 3D proportions. The size of the character is very important for the rest of the production. It decides the sizes of the sets and the animators need to feel comfortable with the size as well. We use this claymodel to create moulds. The moulds are used to make more then one of each character and are also needed to create the final body.
Of course the armature of the puppet is a very important part of the puppet. The armature makes the precision movement possible and is used very, very intensely during the shoot. Besides this you do not want a big maintenance crew during filming, so we always try to build high quality armatures that do not need a lot of attention during animation.
When the armature is finished we can place it in the moulds to create the body of the character. The material used for the body also needs to be flexible and reliable.
When we have put the body around the armature, we can finalize the puppet with clothing and make the latest adjustments before the character will be airbrushed and painted in its final skin colour.
The finalized Reodor character.