Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ToonAsylum - Backstage Video

Hey gang -
I just posted a new "behind-the-scenes" video I threw together with my fancy new HD video camera. I had to compress it quite a bit to get it to a reasonable file size just to be able to upload. It's a quick look at a few of my latest characters. You can check it out here

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Website update

Hey everyone...
I just wanted to let you know I updated the website today. I wasn't able to do the videos quite the way I had planned, but I got it close enough without stressing too much..LOL Head on over and check it out. Be sure to let me know if you have any problems accessing any of the videos.

Thanks !


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Latest Character

Hi everybody, Just wanted to post a few pics of the newest character I've been working on. Its a spider character, he has posable hands and the lower set of arms are also posable. The upper set of arms are operated with removable arm rods. I'm gonna post him on EBay here in a few days once I get a few finishing touches completed on him, so keep your eyes open for that!!



Friday, March 13, 2009

NEW website

Well, I've been busy whilst on my vacation. (does anybody actually use the word whilst anymore?!) I got the NEW ToonAsylum website up and running last night. I am still working out some of the kinks, but go over and check it out if you get a chance
I've found HTML code is driving me crazy. I know there are a lot of programs out there that make web design a snap. But I have this idea of how I want my videos page to work and look and it's driving me crazy trying to figure out all this coding... Arrrgggg!!! If there is anyone out there who is proficient in web design mainly embedding videos and video players into a web page, drop me an email maybe you can help me out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Set Design

Hello everyone... I've been busy working on my new set design for my puppet videos. For now, I'm just going to try to use, as a backdrop, a 48" x 60" artist canvas. I had designed my set originally using 3 of these canvases to simulate a 3-sides room(one back and two sides). But the canvases were kinda expensive, so I thought I would just get one now and try it out before I spent a lot of money. I laid out my sunburst design and painted it as shown here. The colors in the pic seem to be a bit muted, but the lighting was bad. They are actually pretty bright in person.(this pic was taken with my camera phone.)

Here is a finished pic of a picture frame that I painted and cut out of 1/2" thick foam board. I wanted it to be light weight so I can attach it to the canvas wall. Now here is where my creativity starts to get all these crazy ideas. What I thought I would do was mount this mock picture frame to the canvas, then cutting an opening in the canvas to fit the opening in the frame to make kinda a "window". Why would I do such a crazy thing?? Wellllllll I plan on creating a sliding picture frame. Whereas I can have one of my characters be behind the opening when I slide the picture down behind the canvas. They could appear , make a comment , or what-have-you and slide the picture back in place. Like a hidden trap "door" window.

Here you can see I propped up the picture frame to show approximately where the hidden sliding window would be located. I'm adding some 1 x 2 bracing behind the canvas opening of the picture frame for extra support. When I'm finished I plan on attaching some type of stand to elevate them off the ground at the desired height to film along side my characters. I'll add more pics as I get further along.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Puppet Build step 5.0

Well he's finally complete...well aside from picking out the seams more. Viktor was probably my longest build (maybe a close second to Fang). This is the first attempt to build a "human" character. I find them a bit more challenging to do. You have more liberties with other creatures. We all know what a human character is supposed to look like, so for me it limits how far you can push the envelope. I mean with monsters or animals I feel you can stretch your creativity further. Who knows...maybe it's just me...LOL

Here is a couple of pics of Viktor finished.

These pics don't show it, but he has a neat feature to his right eye. When I came up with this character in the initial design process, I had sketched him with a wall-eyed look. So, I designed his one eye on an axis so I can move it around while operating's kinda neat. I'll have to post a quick video showing this feature.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Puppet build step 4.0

Well, as you can see it's been over a month since my previous post. The holidays got me in a bit of a rush and I didn't have much time to work on my build. But fear not, I'm back on track and looking forward to finishing this character before the next holiday!!

So, with the head nearly completed, I moved on to the body. I cut and glued his torso together and found an infants gray t-shirt which I modified to get the sleeveless shirt look from my original sketch design. I spot glued the shirt in a few places to keep it in the shape I was wanting. I noticed his body would be showing through the underside of the armholes when they were raised. I cut a few swatches of flesh fabric and attached them to cover the foam beneath.

From there I moved on to the arms. I wanted him to have these big, heavy, beefy arms with chubby little fingers, so I sketched out a rough pattern that I thought would work. I then cut and sewn a "test" arm out of scrap fabric I had laying around. I was pretty pleased with the over all look and tweaked it a bit, then cut/sewn the actually arms from the Muppet fleece. I created a wire armature for the posable fingers, then poly filled the entire arm to the desired fullness. I wasn't sure how I wanted to attach the arms to the body. So I decided to use the "doll-joint" method (you can see the doll-joint stem in the above photo). Now here is where we divide the professionals and the amateurs. In my haste to get this build completed, I neglected to plan for my arm rod in the one finished arm. (I never really considered myself in the pro category anyhow...)

So, currently I have the entire ToonAsylum staff in an emergency meeting to determine how I'm going to solve this dilemma with as little re-working as possible... Stay Toon'd for more hilarity puppet building techniques and blunders!!