Friday, September 12, 2014


Hello, once again!

Forgive me if my posts are far and few between, I don't often get chances to blog. Anyway, I have some updates on Kyoryu, as well as a new project, Unknown species.

Needless to say, casting was revolutionary for my work. It gave much more detail to my monsters and effects. However, my plaster was soon used up, so I took fellow animator Richard Svensson's advice and buy a more effective plaster: a dental plaster called cast&paint perfect. After several misshaps, a truly horrifying plaster spill (what is it with the Duah and plaster spills, anyway?), and using up almost all my plaster, I built my first two plaster molds, which were extreme successes.

I sculpted the chest piece for the Duah, which casted beautifully, and wrapped it across his chest. With a proper paint-job, it should look truly frightening.

However, Kyoryu is in development hell, considering it's lagging production and problematic work, and on hold for another project on my plate: UNKNOWN SPECIES.

I love cryptids. The idea of mysterious animals which may or may not exist hiding in secluded areas across the planet has always intrigued me, ever since I first read about them in Roland Smith's awesome Cryptid Hunters series, a big inspiration for UNKNOWN SPECIES. I also love technothrillers, with plowing through JURASSIC PARK and FRAGMENT to see the hard biology used to create some really scary monsters. So why not combine the two?

The series focuses on adventurer Julie Challenger's experiences in UNKNOWN, a sprawling, bizarre corporation devoted to the capture of cryptids, capturing their numbers in secret to allow them to live on long after they fade out in the wild. However, Cryptids are a varied bunch, and not all of them are safe to study. I've already got the script for the pilot written down, which got great applause to those who read it. A si-fi technothriller/horror comedy, the show is heavy on hard biology, and I studied tons of theories on proposed identities to Cryptids to give biologically plausible identities to the show's creatures. For the pilot, since I love dinosaurs, I decided my first cryptid should be the Burrunjor, a predatory mystery reptile from Australia said to be a living dinosaur. Based off a scary short story I did years ago, the Burrunjors are truly menacing predator, and I wanted to reflect that in the design.

Being biologically plausible, I wanted it to seem like the Burrunjors evolved from a smaller, opportunistic predator that survived the meteorite crash and the rise of mammals. So, he has a craning neck, large arms with claws, and a primitive jaw, similar to the allosaurs and other early giant theropods. The armature was fairly simple, but my Burrunjor, Oatmeal, is the most complex puppet I have ever worked on.

My first cast of the Burrunjor was tattered and torn, due to improper plaster mixing and not enough latex. So, finally taking a moment to plan, I sculpted and casted a new head, to great success. He even has NOSTRILS!!!

To build a lip, I wrapped the excess latex around a wire, stuffed it with foam, then wrapped it around the head.

I wasn't happy with the crocodilian look, though, so I added some skin from the previous cast and gave him a nose job. I also added avian eyes, giving him a piercing stare.

It took me quite some time to get the head right. I wanted it to be a unique dinosaur species, but still be recognizable as a dinosaur.

At last, I made the skin. Using bumpy, scaly matts, I rubbed the tinfoil sheet over it to cast the skin texture. It didn't work as well as I hoped, but he still looks good.

I also added the feathers and teeth, art supplies I gained last Christmas. The teeth were a pain, considering positioning them right so the jaw could properly close. I then cut off the ends of toothpicks, and glued them to his back to create a spine. Adds a whole level of realism.

Finally, after much pain, I got to the paint job. Again, the project should be as realistic as possible, so I took pictures of monitor lizards off the internet and used them for his paint job. Finally, I cannibalised an old puppet's bolt holes to use on Oatmeal.

Oatmeal is my most realistic puppet to date, and only one of the cryptids I plan to show in unknown species.

Some Cryptid face sculpts.

Considering how hard long it takes to work on these projects, I'm sure I'll post some test animation for when animation starts.

Speaking of that, clips of Antediluvian will be shown on the blog soon, if I can work around the glitches. The film is finished, and it has some cool, B-movie style monster scenes I want to show.

Thanks for reading, please comment.

Kelston Hubler