First Puppet Finished: Meet Hades!

My friend Shelley Noble and I agreed that it would be nice to report the progress of each’s film project on our blogs weekly. The idea behind this is to increase a kind of outside deadline pressure since self-set deadlines for some reason never really seem to work…

So I announced to finish the Hades silhouette puppet and the armature for Cerberus this week, and what should I say? I did it! Ha! I must admit that getting things done leaves a pretty pleasant aftertaste. To celebrate I’d like to share some pics:

Hades Silhouette Puppet.
The finished Hades silhouette puppet before he was spraypainted black from behind.

Hades, from his back.
…and a look behind the scenes.

At first glance Hades looks like a cut-out puppet and to some degree he is. I glued his silhouette to a simple wire armature. Though I use silhouettes in the Underworld’s setting, I also want to employ delicate lighting and depth of field.

I decided to combine the flat visuals with an aluminium wire armature to use the advanteges of classical puppet animation (its bones are made of super-fine Milliput). I finally sprayed all parts with a thin layer of black colour from behind to avoid reflections during the animation.

Cerberus Scale Drawing.
Cerberus scale drwaing…

Cerberus Wire Armature.
…and the finished armature.

The Cerberus puppet is going to be pretty much the same, despite he’s a quadruped character. Eventually, the naked armature will be hidden behind all the single black cardboard pieces and also painted black from behind.

I did some more research on props and characters, too. My final preproduction deadline is at the beginning of April. I have a little countdown widget for my Mac’s Dashboard, and it says that there are 61 days left.

Next week I’m going to finish the silhouette concept of Hermes, his scale drawing and his armature as well.

Have a nice week, everybody!

31. January 2010 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , | 16 comments

Comments (16)

  1. Jessica, Hades is looking AMAZING!!! Really… The silhouette you created here is sooo beautiful. Great work with connecting the armature behind. How tall is he? He looks very tall.

  2. Congratulations !

    The drawings and sketches look amazing, but seeing a finished shilhouette character with armature and everything tops everything. Wow. Hades looks really great ! And the hint about spraying the backside to avoit reflection is one of the things that raise that special “interesting !” smile. Congratulations !

    And: Happy National Gorilla Suit Day ! ;)

  3. Folks, I’m so glad you like him! And thank you for your nice words!

    Yaz, Hades is approx. 28 cm high. First I thought he might be too small, but now I’m quite happy… He is one of the gods and so he should be taller than any of the mortals…

    Michael, I worked at a stage painting department of a theatre few years ago and they paint nearly everthing black from behind to avoid unwanted reflections. (That’s the reason why so many people on theatre or film business wear black during the productions I guess.) I did nothing else for weeks, so I hardly won’t ever fail this part of set-building… ;)

  4. very impressed by the shadow puppets. I always wondered what would be a good way to hold them up and get them moving. also curious about the very fine miliput. going to have to try and find some of that in Canada. The epoxy putty is too hard to work with for small joints.

  5. Hi Rich,

    the super fine white Milliput works great and is easy to work with. I bought mine in the UK, but recently found a reseller in Germany… I’m sure you’ll get some in Canada!

  6. Wow.. ok, he is quite tall. You have made shadow puppet so the size of the set could be different than stop motion sets like mine, I guess.

  7. Jessica!!!! You have totally KICKED MY ASS! Brava!! These puppets are sincerely superb!!! WoW!

    It’s 5pm Sunday (our report due date) and I have DONE ZERO on any item on my week’s list. Vaowow, I’m going to scramble and see what I can get done by midnight>>>>


  8. what an excuse to dress up in black… ;)

  9. Yaz, the puppets of the mortals are going to be about 20 cm in height. Cerberus is approx. 17 cm high. I don’t want the puppet too small because then I’s miss some of the details.

    Luckily, I have my own room where I can build up huge sets. (My studio’s about 20 sqm.)

    Shelley, thank you! (My cheecks are blushing a bit!) It doubles the compliment if *you*’d say it like you did here… So, we’re running towards midnight, eh? You had quite a long list… ;) Try to do smaller steps! We often don’t get thing done because we overload ourselves…

    But: Good luck! I’m going to ask for more!

  10. My week 1 results were indeed a weak one!

    Total fail. But I’ll pick it all up again tomorrow, determined to make it work by your example!


  11. Jessica, you have 20sqm studio! Thats amazing. Yes, since you have room it is always better to have bigger puppets I think.

  12. Yaz, you have no idea how grateful I am for that room, and we also have this huge office room here as our design factory… It’s a pretty perfect place to live and work.

    Shelley, look forward! Forget about last week! Next week is going to be hillarious!

  13. Thank you, Jessica! That really helpful advice!

  14. Cool. Especially I like the “crown” design detail… should give a very nice animation.
    Looking forward myself to that pleasant aftertaste of getting things done. Wrote my first theorem for the dissertation last week, so probably it would be a good idea to get that countdown widget and set it to mid-summer. (Although a nasty little voice wispers over my shoulder that I first would have to get a Mac to use that countdown widget…)

    And what a shame it is that I completely forgot Gorilla Suit Day.

  15. WOW!!

    That is really FANTASTIC!! and thanks for the great pics showing your work.


  16. Leo, that’s great to hear!
    I’m pretty sure that there’s a countdown widget for linux as well. I found [some for Ubuntu](

    Justin, thank you! Again! ;)