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Creature Suit Analysis Part 12 - Hip seams


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Creature Suit Analysis - Part 12 - Hip Seam Analysis

Between the comments by Chris Walas in this forum a few years back, and some research information posted here and on other forums by a participant using the screen name "Dfoot', much has been discussed about fur suits commonly used in the film industry where they were designed in a two body piece configuration. I personally commented on several prior occasions that I would never design a fur suit in such a manner, and didn't see the merit of the design, but my opinions aside, there has been sufficient research into the matter to say that such suit designs do exist, did exist back in the 60's and before, and so such a design was a plausable explanation of the PG Film figure known as "Patty".

So in this analysis, I've chosen to address this question with the assumption that such two piece fur suits are common and that if "Patty" is indeed a suit, she may be of a two piece design.

There are two options of where to put the seam splitting the suit parts, and thus where to put the closure structure that joins the two parts. Those two basic options are a "waist split", so you have a true "pants" part, and a "shirt" upper part. I did this for my suits in "Swamp Thing", although it should be mentioned these were not fur suits but rather foam latex creature suits, and had shingled patterns and other surface irregularities to make blending the split easier.

The second option is a "wetsuit split" which requires a flap to go under the crotch (like a snap-crotch woman's body suit, or a scuba diver's aquatic wetsuit), and the split seam overlaping the lower portion goes in an arching line across the top of the hip, in a presumed curved line like you see on the body leotard line of a dancer's costume, or the hip "panty line" of brief-type underwear.

As much as I have been able to determine from the notes of others in this discussion, the "wetsuit split" configuration does appear to be the more commonly described seam location for those who advocate a suit as the likely explanation for "Patty", and I believe the testimony of persons claiming to have worn the "Patty" suit similarly speak of "hip waders" and a wetsuit-type upper section. However, in my study, I have included both options simply to keep an open mind to alternatives.

On the attached chart (file name "whm Hip Seam Analysis Chart"), the upper pictures show one frame from the film (simply as an example) and then show a blue line as about where a waist seam might be expected to occur, and a green line where a wetsuit seam line might occur. Presumably a suit would have one but not both lines.

Next in the chart is an illustration of seam structure itself. The artwork was taken from my prior chart from my Notes, Part 7, Chart One (actually the far right of five there, due to a glitch in the uploading) which explains the color coded parts of the seam in greater detail. I will simply sum up the essential fact that for a more professional closure seam, the connecting apparatus (velcro illustrated) is designed to rest below the furcloth base surface, so the two sections of furcloth being joined will do so in a manner where the fur has the smoothest transition and flawless look. If this is done properly, the seam should be invisible. This seaming structure is, however, a rather rigid structure as compared to the furcloth alone around the seam, and so in any body motion, the seam's relative rigidity may cause motions of the suit which ripple outward from the seam in a way that still makes the seam shape somewhat apparent.

A much simplier but more amateurish way of joining fur suit sections is a simple overlap, whereby one fur section simply shingles over the other, and is held securely against the lower section (illustrated in the chart as "C" and "D"). It would likely include the under section's fur going up a few inches up beyond the shingle edge, so there is extra fur in case the body motion pulls the shingled edge up on one part.

The principle drawback of this design is that furcloth does not shingle smoothly. Rather, the upper section presses the lower section fur flat where the shingling occurs, and the upper fur stands conspicuously outward from the lower part. The break in the line of fur tends to be extremely obvious to even a casual viewer. The remedy for this is to make the fur itself longer, and if the fur is at least 6" long or more, the hair length may successfully obscure the rough shingled overlap and look okay. But shorter fur tends to show the shingling more obviously.

One of the controversies of the debate on a possible suit has to do with the varying ideas of the suit being professionally designed, or purely an amateurish fabrication, or a hybrid of older professional suit parts acquired and remodeled by an amateur for final film use. This debate is lively, to say the least, but is so speculative in so many ways, I see no reason for me to take sides or try to sort out which explanation should prevail as the final and definitive suit theory. Rather, I choose to base my analysis on essential elements that must occur in any circumstance.

That essential element is that if a seam is apparent by the shadow structures seen in the film, that seam has a basic architecture, a fixed shape which does not vary significantly as the suit is worn. That shape may be a straight line, a smooth curve, or even a zig-zag line, but whatever shape it takes, that shape should be consistent across the series of film frames. However apparent it is, and with whatever image elements one might use to support the analysis of a seam being present, that image consistency should be the most distinctive feature we can observe. So if you take any specific frame and diagram a line over the shadows at the hip, and say "this is the seam", then whatever line or shape you drew should be seen in other frames with basically the same shape. And not just one more frame, or a few more, but many frames throughout the full film sequence.

So in the lower section of the chart, I have taken 10 frames from the film and cropped each at the hip, so we may focus on the various lines and shadow patterns around the pelvic area. To the right of each frame image I have a copied image with the contrast boosted to isolate the light dark patterns more conspicuously. Overlaid on this hi-contrast version, you will see a blue line, about where a waist seam split might occur, and a green line suggesting about where a wetsuit seam split might occur. The expectation, if the shadow lines on the body are some indication of the seams of a suit, is that there will be shadow lines in the same position as the diagrammed seam options, and further, that the shadows will have some degree of consistency from frame to frame, as the physical seams would have a consistency of structure and thus a consistency of shadow position and intensity.

It should be noted that in one given suit you might have a seam line along the blue line or green line, but not both. A suit should not have two closure seams in both those areas. So you may choose one or the other, but presume not both.

Finally, I marked over each frame a red zone indicating where the shadowed contours occured, and what shape they were taking in that frame. I would expect, if any of those shadow lines did indicate a seam, that they should have a degree of consistency with either the green or blue line, frame to frame.

Instead, what I see is the red-marked shadow patterns tend to approximate the seam lines during the beginning of the film sequence, as we see the body more from the rear, but in the second image column, as the look back sequence occurs and we see the body more in true side view, the shadow pattern lines marked in red do change into shapes and configurations that break away from the green or blue seam line indicators, and sometimes drop out in sections or literally cross over in perpendicular clashes with the hypothetical seam lines indicated in Blue and Green. Simply put, as you evaluate the shadow patterns over a frame series, the shadow patterns behave in ways a seam would not do.

The discrepencies between the frames in the Left column as compared to the frames in the Right column are particularly pronounced. This discrepency brings the whole seam analysis argument into specific concern.

If an argument is offered that the shadow lines show the seams, then it must be explained why these lines behave in pattern shifts a seam cannot do.

If the argument is offered that the a seam can in fact make the patterns, then it requires the explanation of what seam design was employed to accomplish this.

If it is argued that the suit was professionally built, we must wonder why we are even seeing any indication of a seam, because a good professional closure seam should be invisible.

If it is argued that the job is an amateurish fabrication, I would expect the seam shadow to be both conspicuously more distinct than any other shadows simply caused by folding or bending cloth, and I would expect a distinct line of that seam shadow to have a consistant shape. Because it has neither, the essential issue of how a conspicuous seam structure can change it's physical structure needs to be explained, especially if the fabrication is attributed to a person of amateur or modest skill. An amateur fabrication would more likely use the simple shingled overlap seam, and that seam shadow line should be far more distinct and powerful than any other shadow lines in the fur. Such is not apparent.

In the past few months, as I have been involved with this issue and debated people from all varied points of view and degree of coherent expression, I have seen an over-reliance on using single frames to support arguments about the anatomy and potential fabricated suit explanation for this image on the film. Real life occurs in motion, and the film sequence thankfully provides us with a motion study of consecutive frames which allows us to watch a physical aspect over the duration of multiple frames and a shifting angle of view, from rearward to profile and then rearward again.

But things fabricated by human endeavor do have certain consistent physical forms even in motion, if worn by a human as a suit. Seams are one of the more consistent physical elements, not usually being elastic or subject to deformation. So any indication of a seam on a suit should tend to be consistent in its shape and consistent in what evidence of its existance is recorded in the film image. I would expect the shadow patterns diagrammed in red to consistently follow the shape diagrammed in green or blue, if those shadow patterns are proof or indication of seams on a suit, and they do not.

The inconsistencies diagrammed in red on the accompanying chart simply do not match my expectation of what evidence would indicate there is a seam on that body, in either the waist area or the hip line. Instead, the irregularities suggest to me some other explanation must be offered to account for the shifts in pattern.

I would welcome any thoughts or even disagreeing analysis from others in the industry who have knowledge and experience with suits and seams, in the event that I may have overlooked anything here. Similarly, I would welcome any information, links, or similar references showing suits in motion where we can confirm a seam exists, and then study how it's apparent indicators shift in form.

Bill Munns

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Guest 911Guy

Wow that was a great article you wrote. I don't think it is a seam, and I really think that with all the enhancements that have been made to the film if it was not a professional job then the seams would become more apparent and not less.

Of all the proof this one film is the one that always makes me think, maybe there is a Bigfoot out there.

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Guest Remember November

How strange this post has not sparked a discussion.

Being the forum junkie that I am I have been searching for an example of another suit with possible seam locations.

This is the best I could find.

j1.jpg

j2.jpg

j3.jpg

j4.jpg

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Guest Crowlogic

Janos suit is long hair much easier to hide seams. I do see something that looks like a seam at the top of both legs around groin level.

Edited by Crowlogic
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bipedalist
BFF Patron

My thoughts are that the head profile of this animal seems to rule out a hoax or fraud in my mind. It looks an awful like a profile of a zinj ala William Roe's daughters illustration. There seem (pun intended) to be no seams which is keeping me believing this is likely a bipedal ape-like animal. Nice work again Bill, thanks for the efforts.

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RN:

Thanks for finding the suit photos. Looks like Janos in one of his suits. Obviously not real high on the "realism" scale, but a common suit of the era.

Greg:

Between the hair length and good tailoring, we shouldn't see any seam. But he does have a line/break at the base of the body across the hip, as many point out as the line on Patty's two piece suit claim, and we shouldn't see it on a perfect suit, but we do on the one pictured here. The difference i felt was important about Patty as compared to this is the way the shadow lines on Patty seem to change too much over varied frames, and that inconsistancy is not to be expected in a costume. Now here, it may not be a seam (although the reports of Janos designing suits with splits there make one assume it's a seam), but it may just be a fold of furcloth from the fat body into the narrower leg parts.

Crow, I believe that's what you are refering to as well.

BP: thanks.

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Guest Remember November

Bill:

I agree the Janos suit "seam" could just be a fold.

This suit on the other hand is very evident. More realistic, but when the mime lifts his arms the wet suit look becomes very obvious.

m1.jpg

m2.jpg

m3.jpg

m4.jpg

m5.jpg

m6.jpg

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wolftrax
My thoughts are that the head profile of this animal seems to rule out a hoax or fraud in my mind. It looks an awful like a profile of a zinj ala William Roe's daughters illustration. There seem (pun intended) to be no seams which is keeping me believing this is likely a bipedal ape-like animal. Nice work again Bill, thanks for the efforts.

I'd have to disagree with this, by lining up Bill's aethiopicus (Black Skull) and boisei (Zinj) recreations and Patty's profiles, all at similar profile angles and to the features such as eyes, mouths, and chins, there is a dramatic difference in cranial size. Patty's cranium would fit a human head and is much higher than in Zinj or the Black Skull.

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Wolftrax:

I agree, based on the frame you showed. Just curious which frame that is, so I can have another look as compard to the frame profile i used, because the head really is different between the two, so I'd like to check out the discrepency.

:scratchhead:

Bill

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Wolftrax:

here's your chosen profile frame and mine, and i tried to trace a red dotted line around your profile, and a blue dotted line around mine, and that shows how much discrepency may be in the various frames, which is why i hesitate to nail down the exact true profile.

Makes me realize how much is hindered by the grain issues and film resolution.

Bill

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