Classes #22-24: In Camera Visual Effects + Puppet Fur and Feathers (Stan Winston School Diary #17)

The in camera visual effects course from the filmmaking pathway taught by Joey Shanks talks about how to recreate your own 2001 style galaxy swirls! I was already at work on The Homework’s Revenge cartoon short and didn’t want to redo my work on that, because this would have come in handy for swirls. I intend on trying this for backdrops for my next animated short I am working on written by a pal called Ever Been Ghosted?

If and when, I will share my backdrops with you on social media before the ghost gets animated onto them! The effects are all made from food coloring, milk, and proper lighting. Stay tuned.

With puppets, the two classes on hair and fur are my favorites of the puppet based pathway courses. Something about hair and fur is fun for me. Maybe I enjoyed playing with Barbie styling heads one too many times as a kid, haha. The final touch on the puppet is the texture of the fur. Mr. Guyer goes into dying the fur, matting it, styling it, messing it up, sleeking it. If you are a person with hair below the shoulders, you have some experience with this and will love the fur classes.

To keep with my puppet shape training, I made a tiny caterpillar. Shaping creatures is great for brushing up skills across everything: hands on FX work to your own drawings and animated work. Remember, guys, my mind is inclined towards other forms of expression. Music comes more easily to me. Visual artsy stuff is a skill I always sharpen. The idea came from wondering what could come from this weird shaped scrap foam I had left from other puppets.

Between making a puppet of Florida and a caterpillar, a bug appeared the cute option.

From there, I did my standard trace and reshape method. Whenever I do this, I hope for the sake of my puppet nothing falls apart and it becomes a puppet shape in the end. Angling and rounding are getting easier for me.

Towards the end of the process, my unfinished caterpillar looked like teeth. If you get cosmetic dentistry, please double check your dentist is giving you actual veneers as opposed to foam dentistry. I wish I had veneers myself! The real ones. Foam veneers sound like a bad investment.


I reshaped more with sanding paper. Spray painted the bug on a puppy pad outside. Let him dry.


When dry, I added eyes on the caterpillar and cut tiny holes in each segment’s sides for the legs. His felt legs can be switched out and repositioned. This means losing a leg at times. Fortunately, it also means if you don’t like the legs’ appearance anymore, you may switch them out with new legs in another style or fabric.

Up and up and caterpillar climbed a tree yesterday morning! He watched me from above. Sneaky guy. Very shy, he doesn’t talk much.

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