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Posted by animator_girl, on 2008-02-29 13:28:18

Sand! What do I use? (Besides the obvious)

I am going to be filming a scene on the beach for my most recent video, and even though I have figured out how to animate the water in the backround (I'm going to stick with the simple method of using sugar or salt on blue paper for the crests of the waves) I'm having so trouble with the sand. The base of the set is styrofoam so that the character's feet (which have screws attached to the bottoms) can anchor them down. Ontop of the set is cardboard, which will have some raised sides. After that, I am stumped. I don't know what to use to make a sand-like texture ontop. I have obviously considered using real sand, but I'm afraid it will fall out and make a huge mess on my bedroom floor. Then I considered mixing sand with glue and pouring it ontop, then letting it harden. But then I realized I need to have closeups of the character's feet walking through the sand, and it can't be rock hard. So, I am stumped. Then there's also the problem of the characters' "screw feet" being able to reach the styrofoam under the sand and cardboard. Help please! "On the other hand, you have different fingers." -Jack Handey "On the other hand, you have different fingers." -Jack Handey

Posted by castlegardener, on 2008-02-29 15:06:22

how about sand and glue for most of the set, and some loose sand for the footsteps? Or if you use real sand, how about a pan or cheap shower curtain under it to catch all the sand. Or just make a big ol mess, and pretend you just got back from Hawaii, and had a wonderful time.

Posted by Yuji, on 2008-02-29 15:24:09

How about Silly Putty or soft clay with sand on top? That would give you the flexibility you need for the close up but you would have to support the puppet from the top.

Posted by Isomer, on 2008-02-29 16:57:31

I would suggest using a sheet of 400 grit sand paper glued down on a board. You could spread a thin layer of loose sand on top of it, the texture of the sand paper should help to keep it from easily being knocked out of place. Fill tie down holes on the underside of the set with some clay and then just fill it on top like a cup with more sand. I once made a prop sand castle (that needed to look real) by making the structure out of foam-core board hot glued together and then painted it sand color. I then sprayed it heavily with spray glue (Super-77 I think) and quickly pressed sand on the sprayed areas. After some drying time, I repeated the process to increase the thickness to avoid bare spots. The resulting sculpture held the sand pretty firmly, only a little came off over time but that had mostly vertical surfaces. Mixing sand with glue and allowing it to set might be ok but, I think it may dull the look of the sand because the grains would be entirely coated with glue. The spray glue looked good because I just pressed it on without rolling it around so, the sides of the grains facing outward were raw and natural (except for a little bit of sprayed false shadow airbrushed on)

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-03-02 23:03:50

Is this really flat sand, like the wet sand where the waves wash over it and recede? If so, just paint some glue over your set base, sprinkle on sand, then pour of the excess. Or use the sandpaper, same look. If it's ripples and dunes like the dry sand where people have walked over it, you could use real sand. it's ok to do the sand that's further away, where you won't be likely to touch it, from real sand. I have done a beach scene with real sand. It's easily the quickest way to make an uneven sandy surface, and you just pour all the sand back into a bucket when you're finished. but it was really hard to avoid brushing it with my sleeve while animating. So up close it's better to shape it from a hard material - carved styrofoam or plaster over clay for an undulating surface, then glue a coating of sand over the surface. Where your puppet actually walks you could have a little real sand on top that will take footprints. http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/dc/user_files/5688.jpg



Posted by egendron, on 2008-03-03 07:53:53

simply brilliant!!

Posted by DaveHettmer, on 2008-03-03 11:33:10

[div class="dcquote"][strong]Quote[/strong] I once made a prop sand castle (that needed to look real) ... [/div] I worked on a commercial years ago where we did something similar. The castle was 2 or 3 feet high, and the substructure was plywood and PVC and other equally rigid things. We painted wood glue on the surface (*NOT* white glue) to glue the sand on. The reason it needed to be sturdy was because we built a rig that created a wave of water that would crash on it from behind. Naturally this had to withstand multiple takes, hence the strength. But the point here is just another example of combinations of materials that produce a surface that is sturdy enough to animate on.

Posted by castlegardener, on 2008-03-04 19:04:52

Animator girl did you decide on a method that would work for you? and when do we get to see how it turned out?