Drawing the human form has been an artistic standard throughout the ages. Today, that standard is no different, though we do have access to a range of high-tech tools to assist us in our work. Sure, we can sketch on paper, but we can also animate the people we draw — or just go straight to the animation.
The versatile Stickybones model is designed to help both professional and aspiring animators hone their skills. Professional animators conceived of Stickybones, which they describe as “super-flexible and extremely intuitive.” Their goal, they explain, is “to help everyone easily create instant-art in a fun and tactile way. Or use it to create a stop-motion animation or even to aid your own art as an artist’s figure-drawing manikin.”
When they say Stickybones is “super-flexible,” they aren’t exaggerating. The model’s patent-pending joint system lets you fine-tune its movements and pose it in a number of different stances. The joints are all pre-tensioned, interlocking, snap-to-fit ball-and-socket parts that you can pop apart and put back together.
The level of detail put into Stickybones is astounding: the model’s hands have even been articulated, right down to the tiny fingers. Talk about precision engineering! That’s right, it is engineering. As a matter of fact, the Stickybones team uses engineering-grade polymers to make sure that each joint is durable and can withstand constant movement without suffering too much wear and tear.
Plenty of the model’s features have gotten rave reviews from the animators who’ve taken the time to experiment with Stickybones. Want to make a character do handstands? No worries, because the Stickybones has magnets in its hands. If you want to take things to a new level entirely, check out the magnets in the model’s feet, which let you suspend it from beams or bars to achieve gravity-defying poses. Since Stickybones, like the rest of us, spends a lot of time on its feet, its toes have been double-reinforced. Try posing it on a single toe!
The Stickybones‘ head, neck, and shoulders are all double-jointed, allowing you to finesse movements with subtle, realistic poses. These smooth “micro-movements” are exactly what makes the Stickybones an animator’s dream. The materials used “are slick enough to give you smooth motion, yet sticky enough to hold your poses,” the inventors say. Want your model to bend or twist sideways? You can do that, too, thanks to its articulated mid-section.
The designers are currently working with their mold-makers and engineers to put the final touches on the models and release them to the general public. In the meantime, they are also coming up with a range of accessories, including a “Fly-Rig” that allows you to launch the Stickybones up into the air and a magnetic performance stage on which you can set up whole scenes of Stickybones characters.
While Stickybones is the perfect tool for stop-motion animators, it’s also a great way to analyze body mechanics, study different lighting effects and techniques, and make thumbnail storyboard panels. It will also be a useful learning tool for teachers everywhere. As with the model itself, the options are endless.