The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation: Building Puppets: Part 4
Another example someone who has used an advanced method for achieving effective face movements is independent animator Ron Cole from New York, who burst onto the stop-motion scene with an innovative, award-winning short film called In the Fall of Gravity (Figure 3.95). The puppets for his film move with a unique sense of realism and fluidity that is spell binding in its execution, design, and aesthetic beauty. His work amazed many people in the stop-motion community upon seeing the film’s trailer on Ron’s blog site and the StopMotionAnimation.com message board. In the Fall of Gravity is a philosophical dialogue between the wizard Isomer (Figure 3.96) and his apprentice Trevor Verity. Each puppet’s facial expressions and lip sync are achieved through a unique blend of traditional stop-motion puppet animation and a cable control system attached to the puppet’s face and connected to an external control box (Figure 3.97). By turning dials on the box, cables attached from the dials run up through the puppet’s body into points inside the face (Figures 3.98 and 3.99). The faces are cast in flexible urethane rubber that stretches and bulges into subtle changes created by the cables, and these changes can be manipulated incrementally frame by frame for a certain naturalistic effect.