Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by ColonelSanders, on 2006-02-25 23:17:02

Street Set

Hey, im new at making sets, and i was thinking about making a street set, like with roads and stores and stuff, and have a few questions. 1.) Where should I start, like should i make all of the buildings of wood first, and then, place them on the side of the road? 2.) What material should i use for the actual street? 3.) How large should i make these objects? I know that its pretty much personal preference, but im planning on making every little thing individually including like fruit for sale on the side of the road, and i think it might be too hard to make it really small. 4.) What do you guys do with your sets when your done? You don't just throw 'em away do you?

Posted by Strider, on 2006-02-26 01:22:29

You want to start by knowing a few things.... Will you be animating puppets on this set? And if so, do you need to see detail, or can you get away with making tiny little puppets for a long shot? It sounds like you want to see detail, but keep in mind for the fruit stands and whatever you want to see up close you can always make a set of just that area and cut to a closeup of it, and also have the same area made small for your wide shot street set. That's done commonly. If you'd try to make a big street set at a large scale you'd need to have a football stadium for a studio! And you'd need lots and lots of material... like acres of plywood. And it would take forever to make. Do a search and try to find some of Nicks posts about how he does exterior sets, or maybe just scan through a few pages of this forum and you'll see people asking similar questions. check to see if Nick responded... he's pretty much said the same thing over and over, and if you can find it somewhere it will explain a lot. For materials it's pretty well up to you, but most people would probably start with a wooden understructure of plywood or MDF or something. For making buildings i just bought a bunch of 24" x 36" light plywood in 1/4" thickness. There's an 1/8" thickness too, but i tried some of that and it's just too thin... it warps like posterboard! I also got myself a big@ss glue gun that takes these huge glue sticks, and bought a gigantic box of them so I'll never run out in the middle of a project again. So much different from my dinky little mini gluegun I always used before! And I got some aluminum angle stock... so now I can glue the angle stock onto my table and then glue a piece of plywood onto it to make it stand up, and also use angle stock along the upright corners to fasten walls to each other. Much faster and easier than screws or nails. It's an idea I originally heard from Sock Puppet (Josh Jennings) long ago and just decided to try out. I hjave all the supplies now, but haven't tried it yet, so can't comment on it further. You can get light plywood from and also basswood and balsawood strips in different sizes and thicknesses for making stuff. It's basically like miniature lumber. Then you'll want to get a bunch of gypsum... plaster or something. for making brick walls and streets etc. I like to use Durham's rock hard Water Putty, but it's fairly expensive. I should switch to plaster instead. Another invaluable fabrication element is foamboard of different types. There's the regular foamboard, like 1/8" thick or so, and also the much thicker Gatorfoam (much more expensive too, i don't mess with it). But I get the most use out of construction foamboard from the hardware store. It comes in 4' x 8' sheets, and they'll cut it in half if you want so you can fit it in the car. You can use it as is or peel off a facing or both facings, and use it for all kinds of things. Then I also collect styrofoam, those big blocks of it that come in stereo boxes and whatnot. All kinds of uses for that stuff! Another great item is a big can of acrylic tile mastic (this is a tile [i][b]adhesive[/b][/i] - not grout). It's thick and goopy and goes on like peanut butter and sets up overnight to a slightly flexible substance that makes great organic surfaces... can be used for dirt 9especially if you mix in some broken/ground cork or styrofoam and maybe some granular stuff like salt). Paper mache can be good too. Ok, just a bunch of ideas to do with what you please. Oh, and when you're done with a set, just put it in the gigantic shed out back, pile it on top ot the 30 other sets from your last few films.... maybe you can build a new wing on the house to hold them all. Otherwise, you pretty much have to dismantle them like the rest of us do when you're done! You don't need to throw everything away... some of it can be salvaged - especially the lumber. If you make building fronts right you might be able to re-use them later in something else, maybe with some modification.

Posted by MOOSE, on 2010-01-07 20:55:28

hey bro i say for the question "What material should i use for the actual street?" i think you should use "black painted cardboard" or "black rubber" see ya moose

Posted by Antony, on 2006-02-26 05:23:20

Don't forget to sketch and design the shot first. You need to know exactly what you need to build. There is no point building a great "fruit stand" or a bunch of biuldings if they won't be seen or it doesn't help with the visual story telling. Antony

Posted by ColonelSanders, on 2006-02-26 09:15:40

Wow! Thanks alot Strider, so many good ideas! Well, looks like its off to the hardware store for me. I've never actually heard of Gypsum Plaster, but ill look and ask around. I will deffinetly paper mache a some of this stuff, possibly even some small objects that i want to be interacted with on the side of the road, like things on display. I was thinking about making just the front of all the buldings and lean them up against a wall or something, instead of making all sides. Or possibly making the front of the building finished, and for the other sides just have small pieces of plywood, about 1/8 the size of the actual building going around where the other sides of the building would be, just for support. I wont actually have them in the shot. I looked around NIck's Site and found a picture I want my set to look similar to that. I am planning to make one of the doors (if not all) actually working, with a hole behind it in the plywood. Then i could make a seperate interior later.

Posted by Strider, on 2006-02-26 14:03:36

Gypsum is just the generic name for all forms of plaster, like Hydrocal, Ultracal, Plaster of Paris, Patching Plaster etc. And I really do recommend looking up some of Nick's posts about how he makes sets, both interior and exterior... so much great info. It would be well worth spending an hour or two in the search if necessary. You would generally need to make a front and one side wall for each building, as well as a roof if you're going to see it from above.

Posted by Nick H, on 2006-03-01 17:17:37

Here I go, repeating myself again... That 1:6 scale street set has the fronts of the buildings, but with a depth of maybe 12" inside. That's because the fruit shop is open so you can see into it, and the others have glass shop windows. Obie's Meats is just made of cardboard, the door doesn't open. Further along, Sam & Ella's Bistro is particle board and plywood with litler timber mouldings around the window and door frames. It was used as a main location in another film, so it had a door that could open. Then I took the door off and fitted it to a seperate interior set, so I could cut to a reverse angle showing the interior view as the customer went in, using the same door. This may give a better idea of what was actually built: The top of the butcher shop and fruit shop buildings above the awning were never seen, so I didn't make them. The particle board base for the set is the road surface, with another layer for the footpath (sidewalk). This little row of shops took up most of the width of my studio, so for wider shots I make 1:24 street sets.

Posted by Toggo, on 2006-03-05 20:10:05

A picture is worth a thousand words...this is War and Piece!! Nick, Great sets! I for one Love to see these types of behind the scenes shots. Tels a story in itself. You are such a talent.

Posted by ColonelSanders, on 2006-03-04 12:36:36

Nick, that is the probably the best thing i think i've ever seen! That is crazy! Thanks for all of the help. Sorry to make you repeat yourself, i didnt think that this topic was already covered.

Posted by mlagana, on 2007-01-07 10:59:50

this is mostly cardboard taped together that has been spray painted over, newspaper for the curb, spray painted sky and road, roof is an empty tim tams packet, toy bike... you can do things REALLY cheap and obviously cheap but people will still dig it if it suits your story. Its kinda subversive towards the expensive photo-quality perfection of CGI animation [img][/img]

Posted by prammaven, on 2010-01-08 02:14:52

That's what I'm going for... With a short that demands pixel-perfect quality, you really need to be unemployed to be able to pull it off. I've settled for somewhere in the middle between glossy and slick and "my baby made that". Moose- black doesn't tend to look very good for a sidewalk. You might want to go with a light gray. Using photos for reference will keep you pretty accurate. The street can be black, though. Sidewalks are usually lighter colored so you can see them at night (as far as I know, anyway).