Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by sidmjam, on 2008-03-18 05:27:50

Cowboy town set

In one of my upcoming animations, i will need to build a set with houses, like in a cowboy town like you see in all the western movies with saloon's and stuff. Im not good enough at woodworking to build like proper houses, and don't have that big a budget. Any cheap and easy alternatives?

Posted by Strider, on 2008-03-18 06:18:46

Foamcore is good, and can be cut with a craft knife. Actually it wouldn't be too hard to do it with wood.... those old western buildings are basically just building fronts with simple walls behind them. In fact you can buy miniature lumber from a place like (don't get balsa though, you want basswood). It's what I used to build this set wall: This was pretty simple.... didn't have to cut anything, and it's all held together with hotglue. Well ok I lied.... I did have to cut the uprights short with a scissors! :P

Posted by sidmjam, on 2008-03-18 06:40:20

thanks again! i'm sorry this might sound stupid but.... whats foamcore? anyway i don't have a hot glue gun or any advanced equipment, just maybe drills and saws, but would wood glue or nails work aswell? Also if i wanted to have hinges or windows would a simple cloth hinge work or would i have to get miniature hinges? thanks for the help anyway! oh and do you have a youtube account?

Posted by Strider, on 2008-03-18 07:03:21

Foamcore is basically two sheets of posterboard with a thin sheet of foam in between.... it's also called Foamboard, Gatorfoam or maybe something else. Hmmm.... wood glue would WORK, but you'd have to wait for it to grab each time you use it, and after a while that adds up to a lot of time waiting. A glue gun is a small investment, and most definitely something every stopmo setbuilder should have! Nothing else grabs and sets up as fast. But I won't twist your arm! ;) Oh, and about hinges, I wouldn't use cloth, because you want the door to be able to stay exactly where you put it until you're ready to move it a little farther. The answer to that is aluminum armature wire. Even more so than a glue gun, this is a basic necessity for any stopmotionist! You can substitute a different kind of wire if you have a hard time finding the armature wire (It's sold in sculpture shops or art shops with a sculpture section) - but really no other wire compares. But I understand - budgetary concerns and all! You want something with the characteristics of a good flexible wire to attach to a door, might be able to use some thick foil (cut from a disposable aluminum pie pan or something) glued (hotglue is good for this ;) ) o the back side of the door. Or hey, just thought of this.... you COULD use cloth hinges or something similar, as long as you secure the door in place with a little chunk of clay or something where it won't show. That would let you move it just a small fraction and keep it there while you shoot the frame. I haven't got a YouTube account - I really don't like what they do to clips as far as compression goes, plus I prefer QT clips because people can scroll through frame by frame using the arrow keys.... really great for studying animation closely. I haven't done very much animation, but what I have is posted on my blog in the sidebar (the Darkmatters link in my sig) or the On The Table page of my site:

Posted by sidmjam, on 2008-03-18 08:12:31

thanks, and one other question, in those american cowboy styled deserts, the ground is like rusty orange and has a specific texture, how would i go about giving it proper colour and texture, while using tiedowns?

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-03-18 17:22:33

I've done a few desert sets - ok, Australian deserts so no cactus, but the ground is similar. I start with a sheet of 12mm particle board, then put on plaster and stipple it with a 2 inch brush for a rough ground texture. Sometimes I use Agnew's Water Putty (different brand name in the US, Strider will know it) which is plaster based but has cellulose in it so it's tougher and less prone to flaking off. You can also sprinkle materials like coarse sawdust on it while it's still wet. Sand works, but it wrecks your drill bits when you later drill tiedown holes, so I avoid it. If the ground is rough enough, the tiedown holes won't even show up when the camera is down low. I may make some little rocky outcrops with styrene foam, or more plaster. Then I cover with water based matt acrylic wall paint, tinted to a pale red-orangey colour. When that's dry I splatter it with darker shades of watered-down paint. I might dry-brush a lighter shade back over some of it to pick up the high points, then splatter again... until I like the look of it. Some shots of this kind of ground are in My Left Shoe and L'Animateur in my video showcase at the Stopmoshorts link below. There's also a few frames of making a desert pool with plaster over aluminium foil and styrene foam in a sky painting tutorial.

Posted by sidmjam, on 2008-03-19 03:19:17

thanks, but i live in uk which i think is where its called water putty.....

Posted by Nick H, on 2008-03-19 22:35:56

I googled "water putty" in the UK google site, and the only hits I got referred to the American brand, Durham's Water Putty. Here's a reference to it in a terrrain modeling site: