During my last year at completing my Bachelor’s at NIDA I worked on a research thesis looking into the properties of silicone and other materials used in creating believable moving skin for puppets. My research covered areas as wide ranging as human reconstructive prosthetics, foam latex creature suits and silicone appliances used in special effects makeup. The core theory was based around the idea of learning from real anatomy to recreate a convincing moving skin with the appearance of a real muscle and fat structure under the skin surface.
Throughout the course of the project I produced a large number of test pieces in the form of a baby’s face, to visually and practically test the properties of different silicone mixes. To test the effect of these silicone appliances in regard to their use on a moving puppet face I created a simple animatronic rig which would allow me to see how each different skin deformed.
To look into the larger muscle groups and the role of silicone in the creation of believable anatomy I built the chicken-leg creature. The design is a basic rod puppet with movable metal joints encased in a foam core and covered with a layer of silicone to simulate the fat and skin of a real creature.