This winter period I’ve been involved with some very interesting projects for two companies in particular, Pangolin Foundry in Chalford, UK and Immortal Pictures, an animation studio in South Wales.
Pangolin Foundry is the best fine art foundry in the UK if not the whole of Europe. They asked me to work within their rapidly developing Digital Pangolin department, undertaking some highly detailed portraiture in a form that is ready to print. using ZBrush and Geomagic. The work is non-disclosable so unfortunately I can’t show it here. but the experience of working amongst such an accomplished and capable set of people was very enriching. It was particularly interesting to observe how 3D Digital Design tools are being integrated into the practice of one of the most ancient of traditional craft forms. And fascinating to see how the creative capacity of the foundry is extended by 3D Scanning, 3D modelling, Digital sculpture software, in conjunction with CNC milling and 3D printing methods.
Immortal Pictures recently renamed as Trampires Ltd are a stop motion animation studio. Headed up by Mike Mort, they are making a hugely ambitious feature length claymation comedy. I first became involved at the early stages of pre-production when Sam Holland, Director of Puppets, helping him develop his ideas to include 3D digital design tools and Rapid Prototyping in the Puppet production process. My role for them was digital sculptor, design consultant, digital making process supervision and a small amount of training. I sculpted prototype puppets internal armatures and internal carrier parts. I worked closely with Mike, Sam and Jody Meredith who all used the opportunities provided by seeing the models in virtual form in order to make refinements to the puppets before committing to hard 3d print; and to cut out many iterative trial and error processes. I helped them scale their production process faster than they could otherwise have achieved with purely manual processes.
It was a particularly interesting job. The puppet making process is a highly skilled manual craft and translating this into a digital process was fascinating and challenging. Many decisions and design elements are based on a ‘feel’ for how the finished item will perform in the animators hands, and this in turn is based on deep knowledge of their practice.
It was great working with them at the studio, watching it grow from a handful of people to a full blown animation studio. And great to be amongst hugely skilled and confident people. It was one of the best working environments that I have experienced.