HSS8123; The Dog

| August 16th, 2017

*Finally got around to posting this now that the blog is back up and I’m not as swamped with the project itself.

My little clay man in his chair, Enki, is only one of two characters integral to the film I’m trying to make. The deuteragonist of the piece is Ada, the cybernetic dog created by Enki as a companion. If I thought the chair was bad, the damn dog was an even lower circle of hell, however. Unlike the chair, which only needed to have moving wheels, Ada requires more flexible movement akin to clay. He needed to be able to move his head, wag his tail, maybe even have movable legs if I was feeling especially ambitious (which, in the end, I wasn’t due to continued time constraints).

I mentioned the issue of scale in the previous post, and with Ada the dog it reared its ugly head again. In order to facilitate head movement, the plan was to incorporate a ball and socket joint into the dog’s model, allowing a fairly free range of movement in a number of directions. Obviously, this joint would have to be fairly small in comparison to the rest of the body, otherwise the proportions would be atrocious, or I’d have to scale the whole thing up to a ridiculous extent. This proved problematic for the printer, and it took many long hours of tinkering and tweaking to finally get a model it could print without horrible deformities.

The many failures of 3D printing, including some of the dog models.

An eventual success. By fixing the ball to the body, and using the joint as a face, it became much easier for the printer to process. The tail I found an elegant solution in a bit of twisted wire hooked around a small stub with a hole in it.

Next was giving the dog some texture or fur that still retained a metallic/cyber feel. This thread was one avenue, but didn’t quite work.

Another attempt at fur. A little too boisterous, and messy, however.

The idea to include fur on the dog was both a visual and technical one. Mostly it meant I wouldn’t need to include legs if the fur was thick enough, easing animation and allowing it to simply float along. As happy as I was with it, I simply couldn’t find anything with the right texture or size to properly act as fur, and so the idea was eventually scrapped.

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