Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by mojo (Guest), on 2001-03-17 12:10:16

Infinite Landscape

NOTE: the following messages have been transferred from the original Message Board mojo User ID: 1718124 Nov 6th 8:47 PM Hello all. I was wondering if anyone had any techniques for creating the illusion of infinite landscape (stretching off into the distance). I'm hoping to film an aerial shot at roughly a 45 degree angle, but I can't create the impression of rolling landscapes in the distance with my backdrops. At this point I'm thinking of just cutting to a lower angle, but I was really hoping that this aerial shot would look good. Any suggestions? mojo aka "the Dude" User ID: 1718124 Nov 6th 8:53 PM I'm new to these boards, and just noticed there was another mojo. From now on I shall be known as the dude. Leon User ID: 8562343 Nov 6th 10:17 PM Forced Perspecitve is the best way to reproduce distance in miniatures. Basically, forced perspective is creating an illusion by using size to imitate distance. By placing smaller scale objects further back, an illusion of distance is obtained. If you have a large fir tree on your set, and you place another fir, but say half the size, in the background, and view it at a particular angle, the fir tree that is half the size will seem to be almost twice the distance than it actually is in the background. By using smaller and smaller items and placing them further back even more of an illusion is created. A great example of forced perspective is in "The Empire Strikes Back". Since you mentioned that you will be creating an aerial P.O.V., check out the Giant Snow Walker attack on Hoth. The landscape is almost completely miniature and forced perspective is used very impressively. Once you have your "horizon" finalized in the back ground the tiniest prop should be used, or, to enhance reality, nothing at all. It would be where the "sky touches the ground". Hope this helped. Jim Aupperle User ID: 0512724 Nov 7th 11:16 AM Here are some basic helpful hints for doing a forced perspective miniature. Since you are working with an aerial view the placement of your horizon line, ("the apparent junction of earth and sky") will be all the more important in creating a realistic illusion. Whatever height your camera is will also be the height of your horizon. The FG miniature should slope gently up toward this raised horizon. When viewed from the side your forced perspective miniature set should appear to be on a ramp with the horizon and camera at the same height. Say that your camera should seem to be 100 ft in the air, about as high as a ten story building. This would dictate that no matter what distance you might put something 100 ft tall (a building, hill, Godzilla) you would want to have your camera even with its top. This should give you an idea of how large something should be at any given distance from the camera. Anything taller than this (a mountain) would extend above your camera height. If you look at a copy of "Evil Dead 2" in the shot where an arm comes up out of the ground and in the distance we see the cabin down in the valley that's a good example of a forced perspective miniature. The arm was full size (stop motion animated be Doug Beswick) and the rest of the set was in forced perspective (built by Jim Belohovek). The cabin was about 20 inches wide, built in perspective, and only about 8 ft away from the camera. The sand worm sequence in "Beetlejuice" had some very simple forced perspective sets (worked with Jim Belohovek on that one too). One more hint. Build your set to camera. Since the field of view widens the further away you get you will need much less set up close than you do in the distance. Viewed from above the set would be shaped like a pie wedge. Also, though it contains no stop motion, GO GET "Darby O'Gill and the Little People". BEST trick perspective work EVER and a very fine film overall. Sorry about being so longwinded, but I do love trick perspective. By the way, these tricks work in CG too if the camera doesn't move much. Nick H User ID: 0701364 Nov 7th 5:53 PM Jim's the expert in this, but I'll add my low budget 2 cents worth as well. With natural landscapes you can track your camera, because trees exist in different sizes, as well as being different distances - theres a degree of ambiguity, so you don't really give it away. But for a shot looking down a street where you know buildings are made of right angles and the lines of perspective converge, and you know how big everything should be, it doesn't take much movement to make it look wrong. A little atmospheric perspective - soft blue fill light on the more "distant" parts of the set, to simulate the effect of haze (smoke is great for live or high speed but a real problem for stop motion shots) - helps the sense of depth too. I made a wide desert landscape as a series of ramps, the nearest to camera almost level (to animate on), the middle one a little steeper, and the back piece at about 45 degrees, so it caught the light more like the vertical backcloth behind it. The back edge of each piece had hill shapes to avoid a straight line, and concealed a gap for the animator to gain access. My total studio depth is 3.9 metres (about 13 feet) and the set took up 2.7 metres (9 ft) of that. I didn't go for as high a camera angle as the 45 degrees you were aiming for, since the more you look straight down to the ground the less perspective you get. Just by cheating the perspective a lot you're telling the brain that you're not looking down as steeply. (that's what happens in a perspective painting - you're looking flat on at the canvas, but the landscape depicted has an apparent angle which is different.) A 10 or 12mm lens (for 16mm camera) exaggerates the perspective as well, and gives you the deep depth of field you need. Leon User ID: 8562343 Nov 7th 7:30 PM Another interesting point about forced perspective is the way things move perpendicular to the camera. If you were to do a tracking shot in stop motion, these different planes mentioned by Jim and Nick would also move at different speeds. The closer moving fastest, the middle slightly slower, and the furthest back hardly moving at all. This is actually a great test to film, if you have the time. Try to fool your eye to believe that these different planes are moving in conjunction with the camera tracking. the dude (mojo) User ID: 0087674 Nov 9th 10:07 AM Some interesting ideas to play around with. I like the idea of using three seperate planes, but I have one question. With a high angle aerial, it would be hard to create distance and perspective with my 10 inch puppets. I was hoping to do a full zoom in on a charachter, but it sounds as if I'm going to have to use a scaled puppet for the shot. Is this true? -thanks alot for the input guys. AlexM User ID: 9022063 Nov 9th 7:17 PM From what I understand, in stopmotion, sometimes different scale size puppets are made for particular scenes. Per the making-of Chicken Run and Nightmare before x-mas books, they used this method. Couldn't you use very small puppets for long shots, then, if you do post production on a computer, as you're zooming in closer to the puppet, somehow do a gradual morph into the 10 inch puppet? You can use an overlay of fog or aerial haze effect to kind of hide the transition. You may not get the exact shot you want but maybe can redesign scene to suggest (through editing). Jim Aupperle User ID: 0512724 Nov 9th 8:09 PM In the old (pre CG) days effects artists would zoom, or dolly, into a matte painting that would have a small section of live action rear projected into the shot. They would time their move so that on the frame that the rear projection filled the camera view at 1:1 the matte camera would lock off but then the move would continue as part of the pre filmed projected element. In this way you could seem to enter the matte painting and move around in the live action world. It wouldn't be too hard to join up two elements like this in After Effects and move in on a larger animated character in a forced projected landscape. It would take away from some of the pure fun of just doing it in the camera but you could get the shot. I can't think of a good example just now but the RKO matte dept. used it all the time. I recall seeing many examples on Linwood Dunn's reel.