After the last few years of animating with Newplast clay, I cant stress enough the importance of building a simple rig to go underneath the clay. You may not think it at first, but once you start animating without a rig you will notice the plasticine will lose its shape a lot quicker that a rigged one. So in this post I am going to run through how I built a simple rig to go inside my sausage character.
Building a simple rig is real easy, and it will just give you added peice of mind that your character has some backbone. My character is going to be stationary as it is for a lip syncing project so in most respects the rig I am building here could be used for sculpting as well.
To create the rig I began with a sheet of mdf. Mdf is cost effective, handles tools well without splitting and it also provides a smooth surface to build on top of. You could also use other woods as long as they are sturdy. Make sure you avoid Bolser wood as it is far too soft.
I marked out a loose square on the corner of the board. To be honest, as long as the board is wide enough to provide stability to your sculpt you are good to go. Saw this down and if you like give the corners a nice sand.
Drawing a line with a ruler from the diagonal corners will give you a rough Center-point. This is used to drill a hole for the wire cable.
To make the wire cable, I used aluminium wire, and folded it in half. Placing the folder end into a vice and the tips of the other strands into an electric drill I gave it a quick twirl.
There is a general rule for twisting wire if it is too lose it will be too bendy and brittle, too tight it will snap easily the trick is to get it in the middle but with thick wire, you don’t need to worry too much. Do it depends on how much you want your character to move.
Once you have the cable and board. You will need to bond the two together. I did this with epoxy (2 part) resin. This is widely available in any DIY shop and even Poundland!!). Squirt out equal parts resin and hardener 1:1 and give them a good old stir insuring that both the colours have merged well. Place a nice blob of this in the screwed hole and push in the metal cable. Epoxy usually hardens in about 6-10 minutes providing it has been stirred well.
This should be good enough to build onto, however I find that for added stability it helps to build around this joint with Milliput or plumbers epoxy putty. There is nothing worse that a rig that comes loose mid shot or scene. These can be used for any simple character and in my next post I will explain how I used it to provide stability when constructing my sausage character.