THE SMA FORUM ARCHIVE
Posted by Ryan Pierce (Guest), on 2001-03-17 12:36:19
building a set
NOTE: the following messages have been transferred from the original SMA.com Message Board
User ID: 0352454 Feb 20th 6:10 PM
I have a few questions about how to build a good set. What materails do you use? Is cardboard a exceptable backdrop as walls. I used cardboard with "stone spray". I thought it looked ok, but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.
User ID: 0352454 Feb 20th 6:13 PM
Some light card can sag or warp slightly under hot lights, too slow to see in real time, but speeded up when you play back your animation. But it can be ok if supported by framing. I usually use 16mm particle board - solid, stable, doesn't need framing and easily nailed, hot glued, or screwed down. And takes plaster, paint etc well for texturing. Triwall cardboard (thick triple-layered corrugated card) is good if you can get it - has the thickness of chipboard, but light, and you can cut through the back layers and fold it for seamless interior corners. It can be hot glued to the set floor for stability.
User ID: 9265663 Feb 20th 9:58 PM
how easy is it to cut the partical board? I imagine i need a saws all or something.
Other than the set, I'm feeling over joyed about my movie, but lost as soon as I try to put it all together. Any suggerstions as far as procedure toward making a short preview for a up coming movie?
User ID: 0701364 Feb 21st 1:08 AM
Yes. You need a saw for particle board. An electric hand-held jigsaw is useful, so is a small made-in-Taiwan bandsaw. For Tri-wall card a snap-off blade knife or Stanley knife will do. Solid is best - you can bump the set while animating.
As for a preview - Since you can't edit it from a film you haven't made yet, maybe you could think of just one scene with some good stuff in it, (probably in the middle or at the climax,) set it up and shoot it. (You should have the overall story worked out first.) Make it several shots that cut together to tell a part of the story. Don't worry about the rest yet, just focus on this bit. If it looks good, you'll feel encouraged. Then think about another scene.
User ID: 0339064 Feb 21st 4:09 PM
Thanks Nick...means alot to me! I tend to try to do it all at once and get in over my head. I think I have just the scene too!
User ID: 9265663 Feb 23rd 8:03 PM
I figured out the scene, drew out the act, now I'm building the set for the begining of my movie. I have a question. As far as supplies go, I'm using partical board as told in another message. But i was wondering if anyone had general supplies that they used often in building a set, and what they were used for? (example: I found using old CD covers were good for windows.)
User ID: 0701364 Feb 23rd 10:34 PM
Modelmakers use lots of things for something they weren't made for. Like the clear caps on spray bottles - the thimble sized ones make great glasses, bigger ones became flashing lights on an ambulance. Useful raw materials are thin plywood (3mm) for tables, shelves etc.; pine 3x1 for making rostrums (folding supports to put the set on), various timber put through a ripsaw to make miniature lumber for window framing, weatherboards; MDF (medium density fibreboard, customwood, craftwood), like chipboard but made from fine sawdust rather than rough chips, for cutting & sanding into lots of things; Plaster with fibreglass matting for rough ground, or over chickenwire for rockwork; Liquid latex for casting shoes, hats, flying ducks on wall; There's no limit really.You're making a world, so you might have to make or fake anything God, Man or Alien can make! Anybody else got some ideas here?
Nick H. again
User ID: 0701364 Feb 23rd 11:30 PM
I've just seen elsewhere that you've built an alleyway set. Do you have grimy brick walls? There used to be mini plastic garbage bins for sale that I've used in an alley set. Hard to find now. I had to make a full size closeup section as well (my main characters were a rat, a fly and a cockroach) and the fullsize bin was a good match. Expanded aluminum mesh is good for metal treads on a fire escape. Aluminum generally is good for metal fittings because it can polish up like chrome, but can be cut on a bandsaw and sanded to shape.
User ID: 9265663 Feb 24th 10:26 AM
I am just at the stage in building my set that I'm adding the little details. I use a wooden dowel, strips of duct tape, and gray paint..made a great piping along one wall. On the top of the Dowel rod I used a curved pipe fitting to make it look as it went into the wall. Old CD covers for windows (broken with trusty screwdriver), and stir sticks cut in half as boards over a door and broken window. HOWEVER...I still need a fancy car of some sort (maybe limo), I also need Motorcyles in a fairly large scale. Anyone knows where I can go online to get these please let me know..supplies are limited in Fairbanks Alaska. Also, Nick, those trash cans you spoke of. where can I pick up a few of those?? what scale are they in? if that doesn't work I guess I'll just make them, I do have liquid latex. thanks Nick You ever so helpful!!
User ID: 0909594 Feb 27th 3:47 PM
I also wanted to know how to make those "grimy walls" you spoke of, I can't seem to get the brick wall to look real.
Nick H again
User ID: 0701364 Feb 27th 6:30 PM
I work in 1/6 scale - cars I have to make from scratch (Beetle, Morris Minor, and garbage truck), but motorbikes are available both as kits and diecast models (Guiloy in Spain make 1:6 '48 Indian Chief, and 4 cyl Yamaha). Bikes also exist in 1:8 (Harley mostly), 1:10 (lots), 1:12, and 1:18. Some cars in 1:12 exist, lots in 1:18 and 1:24, but these are too small for character animation. I'll look for online source.
I'm in Australia so whats available will differ. I've got trash cans perfect for 1:6 and 1:8.
I make brick walls with 3d texture (to catch light better), cutting out lots of 3mm thick bricks, rounding & chipping edges, & sticking on board. I vacuum-form styrene sheets, but you could make latex mould and cast plaster with fi-glass matting sheets of brick. After painting brick and mortar, I spray & splatter dark & dirty colours, half wipe off. Maybe clear gloss dribbles from dog ( or male human) height down wall...graffiti...
Nick H again
User ID: 0701364 Feb 27th 8:32 PM
Found Guiloy 1:6 Indian bike for US $89.99 at www.phoenix-model.com/guiloy.htm Smaller scales cheaper, usually. Still looking. What's the scale of your set?
User ID: 1655274 Feb 28th 11:10 AM
I've just finished making an armature for clay animation with nuts on feet. When drilling holes on the set floor for the bolts should I drill them all over the place or to form a path the character would walk? How should I patch up the holes so they won't be visible on the film? I've been thinking about small square pieces of wood glued on the floor like a chess board. Some of the pieces could be detached, revealing the hole for the bolt... I think the floor would look like a real wooden floor, but it would be real hard work to glue all those small pieces to place... Any suggestions?
User ID: 0909594 Feb 28th 11:15 AM
not sure exactly, but looks to be close to 1:6 or 1:8. I need a harley, Any Harley will do, but HAS to be a Harley. The main character is a black ninja biker! He fights the crotch rocket gang! thanks ever so much!
User ID: 0352454 Feb 28th 3:21 PM
To Herr Doktor: I drill holes as I animate and then fill them with clay after the character leaves that position. Usually you can mix clay up to match pretty closely and it isn't very noticable.
User ID: 0909594 Feb 28th 3:33 PM
to bolt the feet down, do I have to make the feet out of something other than clay, like wood or something?
You said that you build your cars from scratch...that seems alomst impossible for me to make it have that manufactured look.
User ID: 0701364 Feb 29th 5:47 PM
Herr Doktor - I drill holes in path, beforehand because drill shakes set and makes sawdust. (at least when I do it.) More holes than I think I need. I fill them with coloured plasticene. Some sets have a coarse velvet "carpet" which can have little slits where the holes are, which don't show. And with rough ground, shot from low angle, sometimes the holes don't show anyway.
User ID: 0701364 Feb 29th 6:29 PM
Dungbeetle - re cars, yep, it's not easy. My 1:6 Morris is just visible in photo at http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/ca.html in street set. It's a tiny bit crooked but ok on camera. Rounded car bodies I sculpt in clay, make 4 piece plaster mold, cast in plaster, and smooth and correct shape. Then Vac-form or silcone mold, and make in fibreglass. Motorbikes, with all the visible mechanics, are worse. One day I'll attempt a Norton (like I ride) but wire wheels in too-hard basket. Harley plastic kits come in 1:8 ($60?) and 1:6 ($120 -180?). Very detailed, but a bit fragile. I use a plastic Sportster as set dressing. Rumble Chopper toys look somewhere in between in scale, and cost far less. Painting and dirtying down can sometimes work wonders. I think there's even a Chopper Barbie. But avoid cheap police bike toys with engine just a flattish bit of chrome stuck on the side of a big box. A 1:6 character would be 12" tall for 6 ft tall man, like action and barbie dolls. A 1:8 man would be about 9" tall. A Harley needs to be big and imposing, so not underscale. (Like barbie stuff, her cars are closer to 1:8.) Will search.
User ID: 1655274 Feb 29th 6:32 PM
What's plasticene? Some sort of clay? I've thought about making the whole floor of clay so the holes wouldn't show, but I think the characters could get stuck on it pretty easily. Do you always take the characters off the set when you animate them? In my previous works I've always animated them on the scene, but it was quite easy, because I didn't actually have a scene, just my desk for a floor and the corner of my room for walls...
User ID: 0701364 Feb 29th 11:15 PM
Plasticene is just one name for modelling clay The kind that doesn't dry out, as used for claymation).
I've been searching... big 1:6 Harley kits are made by Tamiya, but their web site no use at all. Cheapest bikes in this scale are by New-Ray, found Indian, Honda dirt bike at ashvillediecast for $20 each. All plastic, ready made.Might do for crotch rocketeers?
User ID: 9182423 Mar 1st 1:18 PM
FOR SET CONSTRUCTION: I usually use foam core (available at any art supply store) it can be cut with great precision and still maintain structural integrity (such as window frames, bars on windows, etc.) I cover the windows with a heavy grade wax-paper (I find a lot of plastics reflect light too much)and usually paint detail with acrylics.
User ID: 9719083 Mar 1st 2:56 PM
Dungbeetle: Check out the ARMATURE page in the HANDBOOK on the site. Once you have an armature, you could cover the feet with clay or you could make them hard by using Super Sculpey (a soft clay that hardens when heated) Then you could paint them.
User ID: 1125704 Mar 14th 9:39 AM
Heres a quick way to make a brick wall. Find a piece of wood that is the dimensions you want for your wall. Lay the wood on a flat table top, and then mix up a batch of plaster of paris until it is the consistancy of honey. Pour the plaster all over the top of the wood, and use a flat tool such as a spatula, and spread the plaster evenly over the wood. Once it is spread evenly, take a pencil tip and scribe lines from left to right over the still wet plaster. Then quickly scribe lined from top to bottom, but space these lines so that they are in a brick patter. Once the plaster gets really firm, take a piece of paper towel and blot it all over the surface. If done correctly, some of the plaster pulls off the surface and leaves a brick-like texture. After it is dry, paint the bricks with some reddish brown paint. When that paint is dry, thin down some black paint and let this paint drip down into all the cracks you scribed and into the texture you created with the paper towel. When that is dry, take a lighter shade of the reddish brown paint and dry brush it over the surface. Dry brushing means that you dip a brush into the paint, and wipe off most of the paint until the brush is almost dry. When rubbed over high spots on the brick, it highlights these areas for a great effect. All that is left is to attach the wall to the frame of your set with some screws or C-Clamps. Kewl! Marc ~http://www.animateclay.com~
User ID: 0701364 Mar 14th 5:17 PM
Hmm. Sounds quicker than my method of cutting out lots of brick shapes and sticking them on a board. Might try that, I can picture how the paper towel texture would be good. I've got some buildings with lots of window frames and mouldings that can't use my stock brickwork mould, so I'll have to make them up as one-offs.
User ID: 2268254 Mar 31st 0:37 AM
Somebody please suggest me, how do I cut plain square small doors(for a cabinet) with cutout carvings in it.I have a unimatt 1 which doesn't give me the proper rightangle finishes. Rather proper curves to in continuation. I have to sand it with sandpaper quite a bit.
User ID: 0115944 Apr 1st 11:02 PM
Chhaya- Is this a frame-and-panel type door? I build doors up from layers. I make the outer frame from thin plywood or card planks, same as real door with the grain going the right way. The recessed panel layer is actually the size of the whole door, the framing glues on the front. If I want the look of mouldings around the panel, I use 2 layers of framing, the top layer a little narrower to reveal just a couple of millimetres of the under layer. If both sides of the door need to be seen, I stick another layer of framing on the other side.
User ID: 0081374 Apr 22nd 4:46 PM
Another cool way to make a brick wall:
Get or cut a sheet of styrofoam (beadboard) which will be backed by plywood (or whatever you want).
You will need to cut out a handfull of rectangles out of wood. Lay these on the styrofoam. You may need to tack them down, if they are small, and the reason why is because you are going to now spray over the styrofoam with spray paint. WHat happens is, the spray paint eats away the foam. So when you remove the wooden blocks you have a nice brick pattern eaten into the wall. And its very textured and uneven if you look close, which is nice.
If you were spending $$ you could then make a mold and make multiple plaster copies very quick...
User ID: 9934403 May 22nd 1:27 AM
Have you ever used this foam insulator that is used for boat repairs.I think it is a 2 part foam that expands and then sets up.I want to build several 1/6th scale building's and need something to make walls with this set is outside (do to the size) and is very big does anyone have any idea's.This is going to be a military base for a short film with 12" action figures and vehicle's
User ID: 0701364 May 22nd 4:02 AM
Mark - I've used 2-part urethane foam, a clear liquid and a brown liquid you mix together, expands into pale brown rigid foam. (Note: toxic fumes released when mixing, use outside only! And don't breathe the gritty dust you get from sawing or sanding it. ) Easily carved, you can just poke trees into it, but surface easily damaged. Mainly useful for very irregular surfaces, rocks, caves, trees. Don't think I'd choose it for buildings, you need a base to pour it on anyway. I can see how chipboard and plaster wouldn't stand up to the weather though. Can you cover your sets with plastic sheeting when not shooting? I usually have to resort to a smaller scale of set to do wide shots, I'm working on a 1:24 scale town because I can only fit a house and a half in my studio in my usual 1:6 scale. A problem with outdoor stopmotion is sun won't hold still, and clouds come and go, unless you can shoot at night.
User ID: 9725373 Jun 25th 11:59 AM
I know how to make the props and set up scene for my movie but i dont know what kind of camera to film with? Or where i could find a camera, or where to get the film developed? If any one could help me i would be thank ful. Thanx
User ID: 1069864 Jul 5th 8:31 PM
I completed a stop-motion short about two years ago in which I had to make some cobblestone walls (it takes place in a castle dungeon). Rather than cut individual cobblestones from some kind of material, I opted for foam core board. It's basically like styrofoam, but not nearly as coarse, and can be fund at most building supply house.
To simulate the stones, I took a small Radio Shack butane torch and melted small cracks into the foam core, making sure that the pattern simulated cobblestones. I had to use adequate ventilation, though, because when the foam core melts, it puts out a rather disageeable odor that is somewhat toxic and "a little loud" to the nose, as Billy Bob Thorton says in Slingblade. After it's melted you can paint it a rock color, and put texture on it if you wish. It looks pretty darn cool
User ID: 8743893 Jul 31st 4:34 PM
Recently I went to staples and found a product called foam core board it was both strong and inexpensive. I was wondering if this might be useful for a backdrop if it was painted. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
User ID: 1181464 Nov 23rd 6:57 PM
I have a problem with one of the sets of my shortfilm: The set is outdoors into the forest...Yes, that's my punish...The whole set is some realistic, only plasticine in face and hands, but I haven't found the way to construct realistic trees...I've searched in Terragenesis (very useful) but the trees got a lack of realism...Please send me information how to build more realistic trees...thanks.
User ID: 0701364 Nov 23rd 11:21 PM
Hi! I've made a few trees. Here is one way: To make the trunk, I sculpt a 3/4 round trunk in water based clay on the benchtop. This will be the inside. Then I cover it with plaster and fibreglass mat, and when that is almost set I add more plaster. I sculpt the shape and texture directly in the plaster. When it is set I lift it from the bench and dig out the clay from the inside. This gives me a hollow tree trunk with no back. I build up thinner braches with wire, and plaster over them. Or sometimes I can use bits of real branches. If the leaves are small and look ok I let them dry and paint them green. Otherwise I use plastic plant foliage. A couple of trees were made for me by sculpting in clay, letting it dry, then covering in tissue paper and pva glue. Sometimes a tree branch can look like a tree, just sculpt a wider base with some roots and blend in. You can see my trees to see if you think they work or not in the Once Upon Australia, and Turtle World albums in my website. (Below, under Post, Stopmotion Photos, Hilligossnic)
User ID: 2616364 Jan 7th 8:36 PM
Here's a trick I learned from master model maker Mark Stetson ( a past Cinefex issue) in making leaves for miniature trees: use oatmeal. It works great! So I tried it myself and yep, it looks totally cool.
User ID: 1752694 Jan 9th 6:53 PM
I've got to try that Tom!
User ID: 9732463 Feb 10th 11:39 AM
Thanks for the information...but another tip:
One of the trees aquires great protagonism on the story and it's an Oak and it needs a lot of foliage. I'm really seaching the way to give the tree a good foliage but liquen seems not real...I'm trying from dry leaves from Bonsai Oak (also similar trees) and then painting green...Finaly I got enough leaves to make the tree seem very very real.