I talk about some of these things in-depth on my blog, but I wanted to separate out my work on this so interested parties can easily see it gathered together, if they wish. This is some of the puppet production work I am doing on "Grandpa", my most recent short stop-motion work in progress. This required a lot of research on my part, as it was/is the first time I am working with ball-and-socket, silicone-based pro level puppets. A sense of realism is important to the project. If you are interested, the animatic/story reel can be viewed under "Animatics and Storyboards" in my Portfolio.
Boy's plastic eyes. I still need to give them a notch in the pupil for animation.
Grandpa's eyes.
The plasticine I have chosen to do my head, hands and foot (shoes) sculpts with. This is the stuff that Aardman uses and it seems like pretty high quality stuff. Holds its shape and doesn't melt easily. Odorless, which is a definite plus.
My ball-and-socket armatures fully assembled, minus their hands! I'm sure you can guess who is who.
Foam! The foam buildup on the armatures' bodies (under their clothes) to begin shortly. This needs to be trimmed way down.
A start on the Boy head plasticine sculpt. The suit top in the background is not a final piece. It's just there for size reference. The final suit will be nicer.
A side view of the beginning sculpt.
Grandpa puppet plasticine head sculpt with body clothes and hands (see below) on. These guys are so bald right now!
Another view of the Grandpa head sculpt.
I tried a couple of different techniques with the molds, but they both worked. It's just that the one I used for Grandpa's (top) produced a "prettier" result. These were cast in Ultracal 30, a popular choice amongst FX prosthetic artists, which resulted in some excellent detail reproduction.
The hands here jumped ahead a bit, as I got a little advice with them from someone with more experience. But there's a mold made from Ultracal and silicone cast hands with flashing still attached. There are molds for shoes there, but I decided not to use those particular ones. 
Wire armature for a hand. These are really thin wires twisted in on themselves and attached to the brass block. It's lightly treated along the fingers and wrapped in cotton cloth to give the silicone something to grab on to, as silicone does not like to stick to anything but itself.
Here's a shot of the armature resting inside silicone. I didn't like this casting, so I cut it away to use it for this shot. :-)
The cleaned up silicone hands for both the Boy and Grandpa. I cast another size of the Boy's hands with shorter fingers to make them look a little younger.
Headless puppets wearing most of their clothes, sitting on the bench! Makeshift green screen board is behind them.
Grandpa puppet laying in the casket. The casket will be padded up and then lined with a satin-like material.
I know this is a 'puppet' in-progress, but I thought I'd throw in a couple props, since they appear above. This is the almost fully-finished casket. I commissioned this to a woodworker, who created it from raw wood to my specifications. I am finishing it myself in a mahogany stain with a semi-gloss glaze and brass accents.
The bench! Actually made from craft sticks. If you look closely enough, you can tell.
Yay! Boy puppet - with some temporary clay shoes due to flexibility revisions.
Eyebrows are pieces of silicone stuck on with the help of some petroleum jelly. Eyelids will follow a similar process.
Hands will be lightly painted too, to bring out more of the detail and match facial skin tones.
Complete Grandpa puppet - with some temporary clay shoes. ;-)
Eyebrows and eyelids will follow the same procedure as the Boy puppet.
As with the Boy puppet, hands will be lightly painted to bring out more of the detail and match facial skin tones.

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This is some of the pre-production/development work I did on "Grandpa", my most recent short stop-motion work in progress.
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