**THE SMA FORUM ARCHIVE**

**STOP-MOTION SETS**

*Posted by spirt in black, on 2004-01-26 01:10:30*

**building your set to scale**

I have been reading the book Stop Motion by Susannah Shaw iam on the part about building your set. Iam haveing trouble on figureing out what she means by building your set to a 1/6 scale. does this mean that if my armeture is 10 inches and i want a floor area of 10 feet does that mean that the set should be 5ft by 5ft. please help

*Posted by teabgs, on 2004-01-26 06:02:49*

it means everything should be on the same scale. So if a person is 5 foot 5 inches and the floor is ten feet wide, the ratio should be the same with your puppet. I'm horrible at math, so Im not gonna even try to do the math for you but. Real Person : Real Set ratio is the same as puppet : set
does this make sense? I'm very tired and just got up, so Im not thinking clearly yet.
Basically if it was real life and a floor was twice as long as your actor you want the floor to be twice as long as your puppet.
1/6 scale means everything including the puppet is one sixth the size of real life.

*Posted by MovieStuff, on 2004-01-26 07:18:21*

> I have been reading the book Stop Motion by Susannah Shaw
>iam on the part about building your set. Iam haveing trouble
>on figureing out what she means by building your set to a
>1/6 scale. does this mean that if my armeture is 10 inches
>and i want a floor area of 10 feet does that mean that the
>set should be 5ft by 5ft. please help
It's easier if you look at 1/12th scale, which means that one inch equals one foot. Therefore, if you wanted to create a model of typical 6 foot man, then his corresponding armature would be 6 inches. If you are using 1/6th scale, then two inches equal one foot and the armature for a 6 foot man would be 12 inches. In general, even though 1/12th scale means a slightly smaller armature, it is easier to build sets for because all doll house furniture and props are ready made in 1/12th scale and are abundant in hobby shops.On the other hand, if you are building your set in a slightly forced perspective (and your animation never ventures into the back of the set), then you could create your armature in 1/6th scale for foreground use and still use 1/12th scale furniture and props for the back of the set. Conversely, you could also use the 1/12th scale furniture and props near the camera (with normal 1/6th scale armature and set in the distance) to help control depth of field considerations, which can be more complicated in miniature. In general, though, it is best to keep all your scales the same size so as not to hamper your animation or creativity.

*Posted by Strider, on 2004-01-26 07:20:52*

*Roger posted at the same time I did. This refers to what Teabgs wrote...*
Wow, I'm all confused now!!! ;-)
I understood the last part though. Yeah, one sixth. A good way to think about it is, if a man stands 6 feet tall, then a 1/6th scale puppet would be one foot. To figure the scale for your set you'd have to divide 10 by 6. Sorry, that's beyond me without a calculator. Whatever a sixth of 10 is, mark it off on a little cardboard ruler or something, and use it to help figure the sizes for everything. Make yourself a little 1/6th scale yardstick.
That sounds like a lot of work, and it's probably unnecessary. Personally I just eyeball everything. Interiors are all built around the human proportions... chairs, doors, windows, etc.. all made to fit the average human body. For exteriors, things are a lot looser. You can get away with a lot more lattitude.
Any more questions?

*Posted by MovieStuff, on 2004-01-26 07:24:31*

STRIDER wrote:
> Make yourself a little 1/6th scale yardstick.
Actually, that's what architects do all the time. They have those funkly little triangular rulers that are marked off in different scales. Making a miniature version of a ruler is actually a pretty clever way to do it and short work if you have a scanner.

*Posted by Nick H, on 2004-01-26 17:21:35*

Here in Australia we use metric measurements, and the scale rules on sale have 1:5, 1:10, 1:20, 1:50 and so on. Initially I thought it would be easy to go with 1:5, but there is nothing you can buy ready-made in that scale. But you can buy Barbie or action figure accessories in 1:6 scale, and a few good 1:6 motorcycles. There are lots of 1:12 household items, bikes, and a few car models. 1:18 and 1:24 cars are common. So I changed over to 1:6 for my main puppet scale. If you work in the quaint old feet and inches, 1:6 is easy, that's 2 inches to the foot. Change feet to inches, then double it. A ten foot room is 20 inches. A foot-long hot dog (if it really were a foot long) would be 2 inches.
I work in millimetres, and my math skills are pathetic, so I use one of them there new-fangled electronic calculators to work out what size to make things. The seat of my chair is 400mm off the ground and about 400mm square, so my puppet's chair seat is 66.66 mm square. In inches, the real chair seat is 15 3/4", divide 15.75 by 6 to get the model seat size of 2.625 inches. 2.625 inches is, umm... probably about 2 and 5/16ths... (See why the civilised world changed to metric 30 years ago?) If you have a tape measure or ruler in both inches and millimetres, you might find it easier to use the metric to measure and scale objects. I also made a metric 1:6 scale rule by reducing a 1:5 scale on a photocopier so it was the right size. If you can buy scale rules with 1:6, just use that. If not, do some measuring:
For your set, measure the height and width of real doors and windows, also the width and thickness of the framing around them. Measure the size of a brick, a book, a loaf of bread, write them down in a little book and convert them to whatever scales you use. For a chair I would have a little drawing of plan, front elevation, and side elevation, with the real measurements on it. then I would have the 1:6 and 1:24 measurements written as well. For some termite closeup scenes I actually needed some oversize sets, so I had to work out a 6:1 scale as well.
If you work a lot in one scale, you get a feel for it and don't need to measure so much. You get so you can spot little keyring or fridge magnet miniatures in shops that might fit your scale world. And you build up a props store of things you've made and bought that you can use again.
If your puppets are not realistic in their proportions, you might find exact scale for everything doesn't work. Mine have slightly big heads and definitely oversized hands, so a true 1:6 teacup looks too small. If it's a hand prop that the puppet holds it needs to suit the size of the hand. So the height of the door the puppet goes through is true 1:6 scale height, the door handle is a little oversize, a compromise between what looks right on the door and what looks right in his big hand. Maybe that foot-long hotdog, if your trying to get across the idea that it is reeeaallly long, needs to be 3 inches, not 2. Go with what looks and feels right.