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Posted by birdseed, on 2009-05-19 05:18:10

Creating a planet set

I'm looking for advice on how to build 2 entire miniature planets. I'm not a newbie when it comes to the sculptural detail of the set but I am one when it comes to the logistics of it. My armatures are going to be around six inches and i want the diameter of my planet to be around 24 inches...so i'm obviously not going for a realistic scale. The whole thing is meant to look pretty ridiculous (i.e they're going to be about 1/4 the size of the planet etc etc) ANYWAY, my major issue is how do i go about tying down my armatures if i'm trying to make a complete sphere. Should I create a hole somewhere in the planet to put my hand into? Also what materials would be best for the planet's interior...i.e to give it structure? If this were say, just a prop in the background (i.e like that planet in the introduction to Nick H's L'animateur) I'm guessing things would be much simpler but because the planet's meant to be fully functional as a stopmotion set I'm running into a lot difficulties. Any help would be much appreciated.

Posted by PaulVortex, on 2009-05-19 07:26:06

Why not make the planet a sturdy hollow half-sphere, and shoot it directly from the front. That way the reverse is open and accessible for using tie-downs. Also, the planet could be mounted so that it can rotate (clockwise/anticlockwise).

Posted by Nick H, on 2009-05-19 07:27:15

I'm reminded of Aardman's clay animation film Adam, or Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "Le Petit Prince". I'd cut a big hole in the back of the planet, to reach in through. If the planet had to rotate all the way around the equator without the puppet on board, you could keep the bit you cut out and fit it back in as a removable hatch. If it has to rotate al the way around, with the puppet standing on the North Pole, you could place the puppet on a separate rotating stand behind the complete globe, and turn both together so it looks like he is rotating with the planet. If the puppet is standing in one place anywhere on the planet, he can stay attached and just have parts of him moved. You open the hatch to tie him down, then close it and turn the globe. But if he has to walk around while the globe spins, you're screwed! :P Actually, it's not impossible, you'd need 3 hatches evenly spaced around the planet, so one is always completely out of sight at any given time. Conceal the joins by working them in with natural crack lines in the ground texture.

Posted by I_make_cartoons, on 2009-05-19 10:29:22

In adam, I think the moon set was a semi sphere of polystyrene, covered in plasticine, and the puppet was held on by the stickyness of the plasticine. The polystyrene ball had a pole through the back which held it up, and went through the background. And when adam runs around the globe, the set and camera were turned on it's side, with the puppet leaning against a sheet of very clear glass, with a hole in the middle that the planet went through. http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/210/sigaroonie.png

Posted by Strider, on 2009-05-20 00:57:49

Possibly you could get away with cutting a hole in the south pole. If your camera is mounted a little above the equator, looking slightly down on the planet, you'll never see it, even if the planet rotates all the way around several times. As for how to make the planet... maybe buy a big globe?

Posted by groovista, on 2009-05-24 11:03:40

Gosh, no advice to offer on this one, but the proposed solutions are so clever!

Posted by PaulVortex, on 2009-05-24 11:51:35

I guess they got the answer they were looking for - Would be nice to know what they decided on... But look... No response. How nice.

Posted by birdseed, on 2009-05-24 23:57:34

thanks for all the advice guys! to paulvortex, nothing's been decided yet. my late response was unavoidable but a little pre-judgment never goes astray. anyway! nick: i checked out Adam and it was a great visual help! however it might come as a surprise - but we're not actually thinking of having the planet rotate on its own axis. the planets will have their own orbits which we'll do by mounting them on sticks or maybe through some CG method. so need need to worry about multiple hatches i guess. i don't know why i didn't think of covering the hole with a hatch. so i'll keep that good idea in mind. i guess it depends on the materials i'm using...which i'm still at a loss for. the globe idea sounds really good, its a perfect size. i guess i just drill lots of holes in the plastic to tie down my puppets? or does anyone know where i can find these suggested large polystyrene balls? (n australia) thanks again.

Posted by PaulVortex, on 2009-05-25 05:01:05

[div class="dcquote"][strong]Quote[/strong] thanks for all the advice guys! to paulvortex, nothing's been decided yet. my late response was unavoidable but a little pre-judgment never goes astray.anyway![/div] People often come here and mine people for information and then leave without so much as a thankyou. You are actually the exception that proves the rule. No hard feelings. Glad to hear back.

Posted by Nick H, on 2009-05-25 20:17:45

Hi Birdseed, When I made a globe, I bought an old perspex hemispherical lampshade from an Op shop, around 400mm diameter I think they were. They must be from the 70's, they come in hideous orange or lime green colours. Maybe red as well. They may be getting hard to find by now, they were a dollar or 2 when I bought them. For a full globe, I used the lampshade as a mould and cast 2 halves in fibreglass. But if your globe never reveals the other side, a hemisphere should do. I suppose an old globe, where the countries have all changed since it was made, might not cost much either.

Posted by birdseed, on 2009-06-02 23:39:13

cool, thanks for the suggestions. i'll have a look around some op-shops.