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Looking for Info

 
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:16 pm    Post subject: Looking for Info Reply with quote

Hey guys,

Wondering what info you have for advanced parts for animitronics and moving parts.

I am looking to do more detailed facial movements like the lip curl, but also looking for things like electronic movements as well.

So what I am looking for is vendor info on parts that deal with high end mask making.

I was not seeing much on the FX sites so I am wondering were to search next.

If anyone has any links to point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Bob
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're probably going to want to look as servos and controller boards. I have a "micro servo" that I was going to use for a clone/Fett helmet to control the rangefinder stalk. It had to be tiny to fit in the ear area.

The things you have to consider is where to fit them in and what type of "linkage" you will build (wires or push rods). Also another big factor is the torque need to move the "rubber". You want a servo small enough to hide, but not so weak it takes a minute to raise the lip LOL!

I'd recommend possibly putting all the servos in the BIG hollow cranium of a wookiees head and running linkages down to the mouth via the nylon tubes to get the effect you want (like a bicycle gear shifter). Then find a USB configurable controller. If the controller is too big to house int he head, you could probably hide it in the chest area and run a break out cable to the face. The only issue is everytime you take off the mask you'd have to connect/disconnect the cable.

Anyhow here is a simple overview (with video) on the anamatronics with servos:
Simple Animatronics with Servos

Good link on how servos work:
Servo City - How Servos Work

Here's just one of the places to get servos and controller boards:
Pololu RC Servos

Also this is where I got my Fett rangefinder controller board (I bought the servo from an online RC store):
Bounty Hunter Servo Controller Board
This board was also cool because it could control the blinking LEDs on Fett's helmet.

Hope this points you in the right direction and doesn't cause more confusion Sad
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GotWookiee (Matt Pfingsten)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, I would check out The Effect Lab. They have an animatronic forum and there are a lot of folks who do this professionally on that board. Lots of great tutorials.

Next, I highly recommend picking up Daniele Tirinnanzi's Movie Anomatronics DVD set. It has really great stuff, including a servo controlled snarl.

WilletFX: My Animatronic Project DVD set is also a popular video set, though I have never used it myself.

Finally, I recommend purchasing some videos from Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Here are some animatronic ones:Their videos can be purchased for $19.99 if you only want a stream (view on the website only) or you can get a DVD 69.99. They also have subscription options.

I have not found much in the way of free tutorials for animatronics.

I haven't done any animatronics yet, unless you count my purely mechanical lip snarl on my Chewie mask. What I have learned from these various videos is that animatronics require the same mechanisms as cable controlled movement, but replace human muscle power with servos or DC motors.
In other words, if you want to build a servo controlled lip snarl, you will be building the same mechanism that we have all built for the purely mechanical lip snarl, but instead of connecting the push-pull cables to the jaw, they will be connected to a servo instead, and you will need batteries, switches, and a controller board.

The real challenge with an animatronic Chewie mask is figuring out a way to control it. In the film world there is always an external operator with an RC controller running all of these things. Complex characters might have several, like Jabba the Hutt or the Raptors in Jurassic Park. This isn't very practical for a costume, where you want to be able to perform these functions yourself without giving away the trick.
You could probably work some switches into your gloves, like that Snoova builder has done for his sound effects. The hair would hide most everything.

At DragonCon this year I attended an animatronic panel held by an industry veteran who's credits include building many of the creatures on that TV show "Dinosaurs!" I asked about the possibility of building controls into a mask so that the wearer's own facial movements controlled the servos. He suggested that this has been attempted numerous times over the years and has never really been successful.

However, Mr. Bungle has a built an awesome animatronic Ackbar mask, and has a pair of glasses frames with switches or sensors on them, making it so that the wearer's eyebrow movements trigger the eyes to blink.

I'm curious what additional movements you want to add? As I understand it, the RotS Wookiees made the lip snarl animatronic so that it could work independently of the jaw. The original trilogy masks also had steel rod cast into the tongue to allow for some basic movement, although you only ever see this at the end of Empire when Chewie and Lando are saying goodbye to Luke and Leia.
I've always thought an eyebrow mechanism might be a good idea.

Of course there is always the question of adding more features to an iconic character. It might look really cool but might also change the look of the character in a way you might not like.
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am looking to do a few things, but like many things... baby steps first.

I plan on starting with a closed mouth snarl. Far to often I wish I had it to simply snarl at a pesky 12 year old who is anoying. Its one thing to add it to a jaw movement, but a closed mouth snarl I think would be pretty cool.

I have also considered slight nostril movements... but that is later down the road I think.

All this leads to a larger project later down the road... need to practice on something.

Thanks for the info.. sould get me started!

Bob
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Todzilla ()
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GotWookiee wrote:
Next, I highly recommend picking up Daniele Tirinnanzi's Movie Anomatronics DVD set. It has really great stuff, including a servo controlled snarl.

I purchased this last week, I can't wait for it to arrive!

GotWookiee wrote:

Finally, I recommend purchasing some videos from Stan Winston School of Character Arts. Here are some animatronic ones:Their videos can be purchased for $19.99 if you only want a stream (view on the website only) or you can get a DVD 69.99. They also have subscription options.

Also Bob, if you are on facebook you should "like" the Stan Winston School of Character Arts page. They often list PROMO codes for a weekend or week like 20% and 50% off their videos. Sometimes they'll even post free how-to videos (but of course not always of what you want). Definitely a cool place for people into movie style costumes. I actually ordered How to Make Fake Teeth, because I wanted to possibly make my Chewie teeth out of dental acrylic.
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