The latest deals and sales at Animal Makers
When creating live-action animal characters for theater, film, TV, or Internet Content; the most important part is the face!
Once the face design is laid out, one must consider internal structure and performer comfort.
Ready to Finish Masks:
Parts and Accessories to Mask Making:
Large Doggy Cam Rig (For adding doggy noses to talent)
To help other artists, these thin-walled, super lightweight masks are now available and in stock.
This life-sized horse display was created for The Bellagio Las Vegas in celebration of Year of the Horse (2014). All of the 5 elements are depicted.
The various horse positions were established with full steel frameworks, then high density foam construction over the frameworks, then a sealer coating.
Original design by Master Yao.
High Quality Realistic Tiger and Lion Art Production Sets
Of interest to: Museums, Themed Entertainment Professionals, TV / Movie Props and Special FX
Animal Makers is retiring this amazing mold set to the next generation of props and display personnel and companies. All of these mold sets are from original sculptures.
This Tiger Art Group includes full scale tiger head, teeth, and paw mold sets and actual movie props as well.
Here's an awesome Lion Art Production Set.
The molds themselves are a part of history, and help to illustrate the process of mold making and mold running. We will assist with packaging and shipments as required.
Contact us to find out more.
This Brown Bear Costume piece covers the performer's head and neck. There are individual bear paws also available, as well as matching fur. There is a helmet inside, that straps onto the actor's chin. The mouth can be opened manually and posed. A 3 day shoot with this costume is under $500! Easy to ship too!
Actors' sizes for this item range from 5'5" - 6'4".
This bear can be presented all shaggy and unkept, or brushed out and clean! All artificial acrylic fur is the covering.
In order from smaller to larger:
(3) 35' Animatronic Whale
Rehearsals with a full scale, animated whale in video above. Jack creates the whale body in hard foam first.
The tail was sculpted in clay, and then a mold was made of that huge sculpture.
(2) 38' Animatronic Ancient Chinese Dragons
The classic red dragon. This one represents fire and is quite animated. The heads lift up and down, the tails wag, and the entire figure moves forward and back on a track. Eyes glow in various LED colors, which are programmed as well. Figure set up to become part of the Bellagio's DMX control system.
Looking under the hood, we find a lightweight, welded, aluminum frame with threaded head shell mounts. Plumbing for the smoke machine hose was incorporated at the front, just behind the nostrils.
The face was sculpted and compared to ancient Chinese drawings.
(1) 40' Animatronic Pink Bunny
Here's the biggest animated figure we've ever built! The figure is 40' tall and animated. This was built as a traveling attraction that was to be erected at various Wal-Mart and other box store locations. It all started with a model.
Then we designed the visitor interface. This is the basic control housing, with a graphic sized and placed. Controlling buttons were placed at each of the moving areas. These areas included the neck, each of the arms, and a rotating battery in it's backpack.
Here's a shot of the shoulder mechanism. There is a control box mounted in the middle.
MAKING MONKEYS & APES!
Monkeys and apes are two of our favorite creatures to create. They are so expressive and interesting. In the past 35 years, we've made just about every monkey there is. Here are a few examples along with types of construction techniques.
ANIMATED MONKEY PROPS
This is an animated Langur Monkey that swings and animated all day long inside a convenience store in Canoga Park, CA. Here's a face close up:
Here is the frame build:
The upper "hand" actually covers up the connection with the steel tubing running horizontally. This is a pneumatic figure with head, face, arm, and leg movements. There are no electronics inside, just those thin air lines. The air lines were disguised inside the long tail. This animated rig hangs from one arm, and was installed in 2008 and is operating still today.
POSING MONKEY PROPS
Here we see whimsical "Golden Monkeys" designed and built for The Bellagio Las Vegas, These monkeys have bendable, aluminum armature inside to hold a pose. In these photos, we see these monkeys hanging in the bamboo, at the venue.
Weight is a big issue when building these figures. By keeping them light, they could hold just about any pose at all.
Of course, the first step is to do some research:
Here is Jim playing with a live chimp.
Then we pulled out the hand molds and started making feet, hands and heads with a latex skin and power-net backing.
Here's the adult chimpanzee face. Animal Makers offers three sizes. This is the male adult. There is also the female adult and the youth versions to choose from.
Painted highlights and lowlights are added to the skin areas. Hair is applied by punching method around the outside of the face and blended with the fake fur that comes up to around 2" away. The rubber parts created in the art department are blended with the fake fur pattern. The chest area shown below will get 2" of punched hair as well.
Here we see final assembly and color being added.
One of the most interesting sections of the Animal Makers store is the Do It Yourself section (DIY)! Choose from all sorts of exclusive items related to the building and performing of animal puppets, props and costumes.
Animatronic parts are now available. These custom machined parts have been pulled out of older puppets and rigs. Multiple sizes Cable and housing are two of the highlights.
Flex Forms: are not taxidermy style forms at all. these are the kinds of forms you need when building for live events and film work. Many animals are available as latex skinned, urethane foam inside editions. These are easy to manipulate into the form you need for your project.
Flocking for faces, legs, and paws is also available. We find it best to use three different lengths of flocking. The longest are like .032". That is the first coat. Second coat is shorter (.25"). The last filler coat of flocking is almost like sawdust (.015"). Most of the colors we offer are natural.
Furs from all over the world are stocked in our inventory. These are created from monofilament Acrylic with a non-stretch backing. We also stock some National Fiber Tech which includes a stretch backing.
Molds specially created for Hollywood's top studios are also available for either rental or sale. Why take the time to sculpt and cast a cat or dog, when you can rent a set of tooling that is ready to go?
Patterns are available for creating many animals we offer here.
And of course, one of our customer's favorites is Close-Outs!
"Show me the Tuna"
- Salem Saberhagen, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"
As long as there have been groups of people, there have been stories told. Those stories have been told and retold over thousands of years. Always a character in these stories, is an animal or several. Sometimes as background characters, sometimes as prey, and sometimes with mythical properties.
As a young person, I was drawn to the entertainment business. Loved "Lassie" and "Rin Tin Tin" so much, that I watched every movie and TV show which featured them. "Flipper" was filmed close to my home in Florida, and represented the coolest pet a kid could ever dream of!
Years later, as I pulled up an apple box to perform Salem Saberhagen on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, it was clear that this is what I enjoyed the most. Performing, as a puppeteer, as a cat!
What a great character! Here are a few scenes that were Buzzfeed's Favorites.
Performing on the Sabrina TV set was quite an experience. Production of a series is quite different work (and workers) than distribution. Distribution is more corporate. On the set, I worked with Executive Producer, Nell Scovell, Series Director, Gary Halvorson, Series Writer and Salem's voice, Nick Bakay, and fellow puppeteers, Mauri Bernstein, Jim Greenall, and Thom Fountain to create this memorable cat character.
Salem performed well for "The Wonderful World of Disney" in several "Sabrina" made for TV movies, as well as lasting 7 full seasons on ABC.
Check out what Jimmy Lion is using one of Animal Maker's custom masks.
Remember when ads were funny? Animal Makers built the dog prop, there was a live (trained) dog on set, and another FX builder made the chair. Any of my friends remember who built this remote controlled, practical, driving chair?
DOG PROPS NOW AVAILABLE:
Brutus and Grüd "Walk the Prank" for Disney
This kind of prank is very believeable, when you are the "mark". It's all about the set up! The interesting twist in this show, is the use of TWO gorillas! The substitute teacher gets really freaked when she sees the second one!
There was one day of prep, and one day of shoot involved in creating these scenes. As of March 28, 2017, there have been just about 2 million views! Check out the "thumbs up" too!
Scary Movie 2 Cat Props and Puppets
Did you see this movie? Have a film you are working on that features cat "jokes"? Check out these rigs that were originally built for director, Keenan Ivory Wayans.
In this scene, we see a number of our cat rigs at work:
Grüd Promotes "King Kong"
Great to see Tom Hiddleston wearing our Grüd gorilla Costume! Tom actually fit the costume very well. We enjoyed working with Jimmy Kimmel's wardrobe department to make this promo go so smoothly!
Realistic Animated Display Project
In just six weeks time, these 18 chicken figures were designed and fabricated. The tallest figure is this 10' tall animatronic rooster. It features 8 digital movements powered by compressed air. The entire display involves 20 chicken figures in varying scales. Two of the figures are hatchlings in their shells and are animated using powerful digital titanium gear servo motors.
Animal Makers also designed and created an animatronic rooster figure for the Bellagio Las Vegas twelve years ago. That figure was powered by UAV super servos and is completely electric.
Here we see the 2017 animatronic ten foot tall rooster character performing above the floor of the Bellagio Conservatory in Las Vegas.
This picture shows the grouping of 18 individual chicken display characters creating an amusing display for Chinese New Year 2017!
Program Controls and Audio
Here's the "brain box" that keeps this show going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Housed inside a water proof, snap down control box is the Gilderfluke control and audio equipment.
This is a typical animation set up using Gilderfluke equipment. A minibrick 8 controlling the individual animation valves, plus an SD-25, which is a cue-able digital repeater. Great equipment combination to breathe life into this amazing hotel display!
Brushing up on the equipment updates for the Mini-Brick 8 control and SD-25 digital audio playback system on the Gilderfluke YouTube channel. The controls are mounted on a shelf above the 24 vdc power supply. Had to beef up the power supply to deliver the amperage to that powerful SD-25 amplifier! That little blue box fills the huge Conservatory space with the rooster's signature "crowing"!
Thanks to our readers for asking for more information on the soft sculpting and figure finishing work on this project! Here's some more info:
Chicken and Pheasant feathers imported from Chinese farms are picked through, sorted, and custom dyed. Thanks to Moonlight Feathers in Ventura, California!
The Animal Makers crew trimming and gluing down feathers in carefully laid out flows. The feathers were made to seem larger by trimming them higher on the shaft, leaving the normal points of flight feathers out. The black feathers and fake "pin" feathers stuck in the tail were there as design elements to add realism to the oversized hen figure.
Here is a shot of the design process on feather layout.
Here are the small dye bins used to add "fire" to the tips of some of the feathers. In picture above, look for the feathers that go from yellow to red. The tips were dyed in these little bins. That was as firey as a feather can get, without actually burning!
The main figure is a ten foot tall rooster and this is powered by SMC and Bimba pneumatic actuators.
The "high tech" design method we've used for 15 years. Project the figure onto a paper sketch, then align the mechanical design. The steel loops are hand rolled, tacked, sized, re-tacked, positioned, and then final welded. The aluminum framework meets up with the steel framework at the figure's CG (center of gravity).
One of the project requirements we had to design in, is the ability to easily lift the entire figure into the air and place into position 15' above the ground.
This is company principal, Jim Boulden, working on the rooster's neck off of scaffolds. The pneumatic air lines can be seen rising up into the head area. Also, there are gas shocks installed at the base of the neck to smooth the movements, and give the rooster's head and neck support when in transit.
Here's a work in progress shot of the rooster's head mechanism. Nice clean welds on the aluminum tubing. The top of the figure is aluminum, the base is heavy steel tubing.
Project machinist and certified welder discussing the build in the mechanical department at Animal Makers.
Here's the steel base with built in forklift tines designed by Dennis Murphy. The base alone weighs over 100 pounds! Below the base are handled, threaded base lifts for leveling, plus heavy duty casters for moving it around.
Base struts get machined for the casters, leveling screw bases, and threaded screw mounting holes.
The final look is based on the look of the face and those legs and feet. If those aren't right on, the whold project suffers. Here's a look at the work from the art department team.
This is the mid range rooster face. This figure stands approximately 5' tall. The face is actually two separate sculpts and mold sets. The face is layed up in a silicone jacket mold with 6 pound fiberglas cloth and polyester resin. The comb and wattles (reddish areas) are created with a latex skin over a 4 pound urethane foam backing. The eye hole will be cut out and a gorgeous, hand painted and fired, crystal eye will be placed. The eyes were painted and fired by Antonio at Tohickon.
The comb/wattles panels create the mask to set this gorgeous eye. This material also allows hair punching of individual fibers. The final paint job really adds realism to this face.
Every feather was sprayed with a light seal coating infused with mica. Dyed feathers lose their oil, and makes the coloring look flat. By adding mica, the sheen returns, without affecting the hue or the value of the color. The intensity seems to punch up as well.
The chicks are urethane foam bodies done with a thin coat of TC-284 from BJB Enterprises. The chick figures were original sculptures done here, then molded using TC-1604 and TC-1570 epoxy surface coat and laminating resin with 6 pound fiberglass cloth.
Jack Zhang is shown working on the original sculpture. In the background can be seen the first color fur dying tests. The gentle yellow of a real chick was a difficult color to match!
The Final Display
After just six weeks of preparation, the Fire Rooster display gets installed! Here are a few videos visitor-created videos showing the final display taken by visitors. If you have a virtual reality set up, check out the last of these three we picked from the 10,000 videos posted in February 2017 alone.
Here's a 360 degree, virtual reality version:
Skilled animal artist, Jack Zhang (shown here sculpting a 15' tall rearing horse for The Bellagio Las Vegas - shown below) has created a suite of horse sculptures. These now come in a complete mold and production package. This set is everything needed to enter and dominate the horse props business.
At Animal Makers, we are focusing on setting up another artist to take over this part of the business. Recommended for active Western film locations like Moab, Utah; Benson, Arizona; Elstree/British National Studio or Pinewood; Glendale, CA; Vancouver, Canada and others.
If your work is more display oriented, then consider the many locations of horse lovers. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates a global equine count of 58 million. The USA has over 9.5 million horses (most in the world). Thats alot of love! China is right behind with over 7 million horses. After that, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
Welcome to the Equine Art Package!
Do you love horses? Are you an artist? Would you like to work in the movie business? This is a once in a lifetime offer to work in the movie AND horse business! This production package is everything you need to step right into the lucrative movie props and displays business.
Included you will find everything you need to supply films and tv shows with horse physical special effects and build horse movie props, displays, and special effects rigs.
This is a production package which includes:
This mold set is essential for making horse props. By brushing latex up for the skin and then back-filling with soft urethane foam (like Reynolds Materials FlexFoam-iT!), you end up with a long-lasting, poseable horse movie stunt prop. By welding up a simple framework, then foaming around that framework (in the mold), you get a standing horse prop that can support a rider.
This mold set is used to create a jumping horse display. By brushing latex up for the skin and then back-filling with soft urethane foam (like Reynolds Materials FlexFoam-iT!), you end up with a long-lasting, poseable horse movie stunt prop. By welding up a simple framework, then foaming around that framework (in the mold), you get a jumping horse display that can be suspended from a ceiling or mounted to a permanent plinthe.
This is the mold for the head of the Jumping horse. It also can be used to create horse head movie props without being attached to the Jumping Horse Mold Set.
This mold set provides that whipped back positioning of a horse in a full gallop. The ears are completely different than when a horse is standing still.
This mold set provides the normal, standing position horse ears.
This mold set is for creating detailed hooves for movie and tv props.
Over the years, you will need to create a rubber horse shoe, and this is the mold you will turn to.
This mold set creates cute little baby horse foals. They are like newborn and so adorable.
This mold set creates a special order request item. Perfect for making horse related craft items for Etsy.
This mold set was commissioned for a veterinarians training tool. The molds create a pregnant mare's
This is the pattern to make a little, life sized foal from fabric. Another cool Etsy possibility!
This is pretty much exactly what comes out of the Standing Horse Mold Set. The only difference is that it is trimmed (after coming out of the mold) and then flocked with short fibers.
This is the original sculpture that created the Realistic Jumping Horse Mold Set. The only difference is that it is trimmed (after coming out of the mold) and then flocked with short fibers. The steel frame allows for
This is an original sculpture created with a steel