Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by egendron, on 2006-01-31 08:37:56

how to make a hilly landscape - efficiently??

the subject line sez it all i guess. how would you do it? i mean, you have to have tie downs, access to them, be able to drill completely thru the floor, etc, etc, etc. and of course, it has to be stable in the end. whew! anybody have an idea how to make such a landscape without killiing yourself or spending more time building it than it took to build the pyramids of egypt? I'm puzzled... -EdG

Posted by Nick H, on 2006-01-31 19:53:45

I've done background hills by draping some dacron fibrefill over a few cardboard profiles, and only made solid hills for tiedowns where I needed to walk the puppets. Or you can make the front half of one hill from plaster and glassfibre over chicken wire, but have a painted backdrop of hills behind. Or some intermediate hills in forced perspective. In this frame, the rear hills are painted, with a continuation of the road painted on to help link it with the middle ground. The middle ground has a couple of curved profiles in chipboard for the hill on each side of the road. A few strips of light card go over that, then the fluffy dacron is draped over that. There is a cardboard strip for the road surface, with the edges of the dacron blended in. It was all done in a day. The forground is a very small set with a rock and tree on it. I could have shown a little more of it, and had a stopmo puppet on it, without really building much hill. After this shot the dacron could be re-used for different hills.

Posted by Strider, on 2006-02-01 01:31:59

Damn! Well, that just about cevers it all, except of one thing I can think of, which I learned from Nick (is there [i][b]anything[/b][/i] this guy hasn't done, and done well??!!) If you need puppets to be able to walk on a hilly terrain, using tie-downs, then you can create hills of chicken wire, fibreglass cloth and plaster (or the plaster substitute of your choice). It's like a paper mache technique, but using the fiberglass cloth and plaster rather than paper and paste makes for a very stong rigid shell. You could build it over a form like he described above, wood profiles with cardboard strips, or you could use the model railroad builder's trick of stacking sheets of styrofoam and carving them into hill shapes. Wood profiles and cardboard strips sound a lot more storage-friendly.

Posted by CookedFilms, on 2008-07-02 21:15:06

Hey, Those hills that Nick made look great, what is dacron fibrefill?

Posted by egendron, on 2006-02-01 05:41:29

I'm with strider, that's a nice looking frame dude!!! if you don't mind telling, what scale is it? one last Q on this subject; cc the fibreglass/plaster "hill" for walking puppets on, would you remove the wood profiles before animating? or would they need to remain in place for structure? Is landscape rigid *enough* that you can remove them? thanks again you'all. shot about 15 seconds yesterday. I'm slowly chipping away at the last couple of scenes in my latest film. have to make a circus tent prop in the next few days. down n' dirty style. chicken wire and fabric and twine for ropes. big damned thing though.... whew! PS is fibreglass dangerous for your respiratory system? -EdG :7

Posted by Strider, on 2006-02-01 06:31:33

Well, Nick can give a much more definitive answer, but as I understand it you can remove the structural supports after it's all set up. Of course you might still need some support here and there, but I'm sure you can take away the bulky profile pieces so you can reach in underneath to do tie-downs. You'll know where your puppets are going to have to walk, like little paths, and you can arrange supports so those areas remain clear.

Posted by erase_abbey, on 2007-11-03 19:10:50

an old subject revived! what if you want to use rare earth magnets as tie-downs on a hilly terrain? we are shooting a music video that is on a rounded set, and i am stumped. we want use the magnets because the feet are on the small side AND see-through silcone. we have to make the set thin enough for the magnets to work, and we have to be able to reach under it. will the fiberglass cloth work for that? where does one obtain fiberglass cloth?

Posted by Toggo, on 2007-11-03 20:18:48

I have not used fibreglass cloth for terrain but I see now reason why it wouldn't work for a thin set for your application. You can get cloth at alot of hardware or automotive suppliers. BE careful when using it and take proper precautions when using polyester resins and such.

Posted by Strider, on 2007-11-03 23:37:21

Oh I wouldn't use it with the nasty smelly super-toxic polyester resin!!!! x( Just the fiberglass [i][b]cloth[/b][/i], with plaster. And I don't know how you'd use magnets on a hilly set.... maybe you could just have a roadway or something that's a thin strip of metal? Or a path?

Posted by Nick H, on 2007-11-04 20:11:34

Magnets don't work very well on rough or uneven ground. They need plenty of contact with a flat metal surface to hold well. I would use tiedowns for this. For small feet, simple threaded tiedowns might be easier than my T-and-slot type. Some puppets have a steel foot plate with a slot or threaded hole in it, so it can work with magnets on smooth floors and with tiedowns on rough ground. I use fibreglass matting and plaster over chickenwire for hills that get walked on. With my T-shaped tiedowns, I slip a wooden block in like a washer, so it presses against the underside of the plaster hill instrad of the wingnut making direct contact and cutting into it. I leave the hill open at the back so I can get under it to fit the tiedowns. That photo I posted earlier was a 1:24 scale set, so I could use a 1:24 model car. The sheep on the hillside didn't have to walk, they just turned to follow the car a bit, so they had a built-in wooden base (like toy soldiers) which was hotglued onto the cardboard hidden under the green dacron.

Posted by jriggity, on 2008-05-19 02:25:11

WOW!!!! jriggity

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-07-02 23:46:33

Fibrefill - try spelling it in American, Fiberfill, and googling. A white fluffy material, used inside winter jackets for insulation. You'd find it in a fabric shop, in rolls. Actually, that stuff on the hills was fairly coarse, and came from insulating batts. (Not the fibreglass type, which has horrible stray fibres that get everywhere.) They were about 4" thick but you could split off layers. (They were actually insulating a space that had been temporarily used as a studio, but was back to storing the Outside Broadcast trucks. So a few panels are a little bit thinner than they were... . . the joys of low budget filmaking.) The point is, I used whatever was lying around and couldn't run away. Short fur fabric, with actual hairs growing upwards, could have looked better, but that would have required a 2 hour trip and some cash.