New York Times: The Rebel Puppeteers of Sudan

I admire the will of those villagers to resist in this truly Kafkaesque situation they find themselves in. If it weren't their children that are being killed by those bombs that are dropped from this antiquated plane, one could laugh at the sometimes futile attempts of the regime to bomb the elementary hospital, mosque and basic huts of this small village in the mountains. It is admirable how people turn to wit and satire to "return fire". It is great to notice how modern video recording equipment helps them to bring their content to a professional level and how the internet helps them distribute it. The puppets show great detail and craftsmanship and it is telling how well they portray their character when one of the villagers says, that he wanted to hit the puppet when he first saw it.

This reminds me of something very important that Alan Moore once said about Satire and how it related to magic in old times: "If a bard laid a satire on you, then that was the most terrifying thing conceivable, because even after you were dead - if it was a good enough satire - people would still be laughing at you."

Basic Rig: Wonder Woman

In all the time that I have been learning Animation, I always wanted to make a rig based on my own design and animate it. The pure technicality of modelling and rigging always caused me to hold off on that. Especially when using Maya. Though when I showed people my show-reel, I always got the question, if I also made the models. It was kind of hard to explain the compartmentalization of an Animation production to non-professionals.

Since I have begun to learn how to handle Blender, I found the workflow with it to be quite natural and intuitive.  Recently I started to take a shot at making my own rigs by setting the expectations really low as not to disappoint myself. I wanted to make a very basic rig within a very short time frame.


After watching the Wonder Woman movie I started doing some sketches of her. Ultimately I picked a doodle of her as a basis for my first rig. I knew from the beginning that I didn't want a rig with too much detail, so I opted for the low-poly look.


With the help of the usual tutorial, I made my first advances into the field of rigging. I have to mention Darren Lile here, who not only offers a series of great tutorials for free on Youtube, but who also works as a teacher for Even though Blender offers some great add-ons like BlenRig which basically delivers you an easy to customize professional rig, I wanted to do mine from the ground up.
Not only did I not need some of the advanced functions like facial rigging or deformations by lattices, but in the future I want to be able to quickly rig my own simple characters if need be. So after a couple of hours I came up with this.

 The Rig

And it works! Ok, the deformations need a lot of work and the shoulders seriously need some re-rigging I guess, but the results are not completely off (as I feared). It has been a great learning experience!

You can find Darren Lile's great free tutorials here. He also has some tutorials on modelling and texturing and so forth, so if you want to make your own basic character as well, check them out.

Take a look at BlenRig if you really want to level up your rigs.