Hayns believes that communication and teamwork are key to making the best puppets.
At the start of production, Hayns and the Sculpt team design craft many prototypes of each character for three to six months.
Hayns designs a blueprint of each character’s puppet, directing her team on how to craft them.
A woman sculpts the Moon King’s head.
With dozens of projects moving simultaneously, all team members need to communicate frequently.
The Mold-Making department crafts molds different molds for each of character’s parts. They make several copies in case the puppets break.
Then the Armature group develops steel skeletons for each puppet.
Beetle’s body (left) stands tall with an installed armature (right), the skeleton of all puppets.
Afterwards, the Casting department uses the molds and the armatures to make the puppets’ face and body. For Kubo and the Two Strings, they used 3D printers to make millions facial expressions for each character.
An artist assembles Kubo’s puppet.
An artist assembles Beetle’s body.
Finally, the Costume team designs each character’s clothes and puts them on each puppet.
A craftsman tweaks Kubo’s puppet and costume.
It takes skill, dedication, patience, and teamwork to bring each puppet to life.
Watch the video below and admire the magic behind LAIKA’s stop animation films.