Building hand puppets
All the main characters in the film are going to be played by hand puppets. Pikku is in most scenes and his puppet will therefore be the most advanced of all of them. His eyebrowse are going to be moveable, his eyes will be glowing and his ears will also be moveable. But the first step is to build the puppet base in foam.
I choose to make Pikku’s body in two parts, torso and head. Arms, legs and tail will be interchangeable. Pikku will need a number of different arms and it should be easy to switch them out and replace with anoter arm depending on the need of the scene.
I started wit the old model I used when Pikku was going to be animated. With that model in mind I created pattern for te foam base and colored the different parts of the pattern in Light Wave 3D.
I make wedges in the colored parts depending on the curvuature of the body. When I flatten the parts by making an UV-map, I get perfect flat parts that will recreate Pikku’s form when glued togeter.
The finished UV-map is then imported to Photoshop and scaled to fit the my hand.
Before I start to cut foam and build the puppet, I cut the pattern and tape it together. By making this paper prototype I can make shure that the puppet will fit my hand and I can easily upscale the pattern in Photoshop if it’s to small.