Durer Project: Behind the Scenes

Here is some more production information about the Durer project which is complete and being submitted to various film festivals.

The armatures and puppets are made out of bass wood, wooden beads, and threaded rods. The smallest bolts I could find are used to clamp the wood plates around the wooden beads that make up the character’s joints. It’s very similar to a metal armature but instead of aluminum or brass it is made out of wood. It works pretty well but the puppets have to be handled carefully and if you apply too much tension at the joints the wood plates start to crack. The masks and clothes are made out of craft foam sheets and hot glue. I also used acrylic paint to add shading and color.


I don’t recall having a written script or storyboard sketches for the Durer project but at least I found these sketches of set design ideas.



For the stage and set construction I used a metal shelving unit on wheels and a sheet of MDF board with pre-drilled peg holes for the floor. I made the covering for the floor and the walls out of matt board. The table and props are made out of basswood and matt board. Finally, I used hot glue to join everything and acrylic paint for color, shading, and texture.

photo photo

photo photo

5 responses to “Durer Project: Behind the Scenes”

  1. Thanks so much for putting up the “making of” shots! I love getting to see the behind-the-scenes stuff…

    The wooden armatures are particularly impressive. Had you seen the wooden armatures over at Grant’s Animation when you made these?

    Grant’s Wooden Armature Posting

  2. Love the behind the scenes stuff. You make it look easy.
    I really like the heads or masks and wonder how you did eye blinks with those puppets.

    I started checking out your site and noticed the Photoshop Bloom effect tutorial, nice to see how you got some of the look of on your short.

    Thanks for sharing the behind the scene stuff.

  3. I LOVE all of this, thanks so much for breaking it all down. I had no idea you crafted the armatures/puppets with wood instead of metal. You are a fine artist in both senses.

  4. In 2004 I was experimenting with armatures but wasn’t ready to commit to the tools needed for metalworking or the feasibility of stopmotion for my projects. I was familiar with bass wood and beads. So I spent some time fabricating wood joints based on the open-hole ball/socket tutorials I had found on the web. Even though most tutorials were designed for metal I thought it was worth emulating in wood.

    I painted them to look like metal (wishful thinking perhaps).

    The wooden armatures worked ok but can easily fall over and the body can sag while animating unless you make very light movements. I had not seen Grant’s post until earlier this year. It is a very similar approach.

    I plan to upload my early wooden armature test clips in the near future.

    The heads are made of craft foam. The eye sockets have an open space on the side. For eyelids/blinks I made an “L” shaped piece of foam to stick on with part of the “L” going into space on the side and hold it in place. It may be easier to show with pics than describe with words. Let me know if you want to see it and I’ll update this post with close ups of the heads.

  5. Dah! Yeah! PLEASE do show the “L” shaped eye lid, etc. And anything else you may think of!! Thank you!!