Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by Eric Scott, on 2004-04-15 19:18:25

Doug Henderson's Miniatures

Posted by catizone, on 2004-04-15 19:42:41

I'm tellin' ya...this kid could go places. Nice work Doug! Best, Rick

Posted by David Rosler, on 2004-04-15 22:06:03

Hollywood, or New Zealand, is calling, and he should call them.... NOW. They're waiting for him, they just don't know it yet. Outstanding. .... in my opinion. I hope all his work is this good.

Posted by Eric Scott, on 2004-04-15 22:47:34

I believe Hollywood has called several times already. ;) I really love the lighting on this one. The spill on the floor is a nice touch too. There's a lot of character in that face, I've got no trouble suspending my disbelief. If I had a basement, I'd be double checking it just before bedtime. You never know what's down there. Great job, Doug! I've got this one set as my desktop wallpaper. I like it. :7

Posted by Henderson, on 2004-04-20 13:00:11

Wow! Thanks guys! I appreciate the kind words. Desktop wallpaper, huh? I'm honored! Thanks also for the comments on the lighting. It's really very simple. Two Arri 500w fresnels on either side, shining through the windows, which have blue gels on the outside, then two 100w bulbs in domed work lights with black wrap cones bent into oblong shapes on either side of the camera to simulate indoor lighting. The set is fogged and there are three amber LEDS. You can see one above his head, but there are two hidden behind things to throw a little light onto his face and fill in the shadows. There's no stop motion in this (RC and hand puppeteered), but I'm honored to be mentioned on this site. I'm a HUGE stop motion fan. BTW this set is about 2' square. Thanks again! henderson

Posted by Eric Scott, on 2004-04-21 20:26:17

Hey doug! Thanks for the popping in to give us the details. :7

Posted by Stix, on 2004-04-22 08:11:53

Can you discuss the set construction and photography ? Thanks.

Posted by Henderson, on 2004-04-22 10:21:50

Sure. The floor is thin plywood with a frame set onto saw horses. The back wall is entirely foam latex glued around the edges to a wooden frame. The eyes are molded from ping pong balls. The side wall are made of 2" thick insulation foam sheeting. All of the bricks were pressed in with a homemade stamp. It's just a piece of wood cut to the desired size of the brick, then wraped around the edge with a piece of alluminum that sticks out about 1/4". You just set it in place, press down hard and move over to the next spot. A whole wall can be done in less than 30 minutes. The windows are plexiglass with small wood molding. The ceiling is made of thin plywood with plywood floor joists and tongue depressor cross braces. The duct work is pieces of scap wood with alluminum foil laminated onto it. The water heater is made of a spray paint can turned upside down on it's lid. The pipes are made of plastic sprues from model kits and alluminum wire. The heater is made of scrap plastic boxes I had laying around the shop. The knobs on the pipes are lock nuts. The table is made of tongue depressors. The boxes are made of card stock. And the misc. junk are all barbie toys from the dollar store painted and weathered. I may have left stuff out, so feel free to ask if you have any more questions or want me to be more specific. I'm really glad you like it. henderson

Posted by Henderson, on 2004-04-22 16:16:44

I forgot to give credit on a few things: First off, my wife art directed, wrote the scripts, shot, directed, edited, and did the sound design. I sculpted the face and back wall and a friend of ours, Jerry Warner (a greeat illustrator) pressed the bricks on the side walls and helped fabricate the ceiling. I painted everything except the toys, which were based out by Ben and Jake Rich (students of mine). I weathered and aged them. Andy Hosmer and Jerry puupettered the eyes and brows with Rc controls and I did the mouth with standard hand puppetry. A friend named Craig Handleman ran camera for some of the shots. henderson

Posted by Nick H, on 2004-04-22 17:59:17

I love the look of the face, but I also like the very effective way the water heater was made from a drink can! Totally convincing! Great use of found objects. I've also found that with a bit of aging some pretty ordinary toys can be made to look good, but I'd really like to find someone who can make really good wire spoke wheels for bicycles since that's always the weakest part with toys. Somewhere I've got a photo of an ice face inside a fridge who looks like he's a cousin of the brick wall face, must look for it.

Posted by Eric Scott, on 2004-04-22 20:12:09

Hey Doug, can you tell us a bit about the photography? What kind of camera (film or digital), aperture, shutter speed, and approximate distance from the set? I think that just about sums it up. Thanks! ;)

Posted by Henderson, on 2004-04-22 20:37:45

Sure. This was shot with a little canon digital still camera for use in their brochure (we do print advertizing, too). All automatic settings for the still. We beefed it up a bit for the brochure in photoshop, but this isn't that file. For the commercials, we shot on DVC PRO 50 (50 megabites per second digital format as opposed to the 25 mps of DVC PRO). I don't know the exact setings on the aperture (I let it go on auto and dialed in a digital filter until it looked good). Cathy (my wife) hates locked off cameras. We shoot almost everything hand held or on a steadycam. This was just hand held to get into the set. The camera is huge and it weighs 30 pounds! We often had the camera right in the set, inches from the props. It was slightly overlit to get better depth of field and then Cathy has some custom filters she has built in our Media 100 editing system to make the shadows and colors richer. When the clients first watched the rough cuts, they wanted to get their pictures taken in the set! They had no idea it was so small in real life. I made sure we always shot from below his eyeline to keep it all big looking. They really couldn't believe it when we took them to our basement to show it to them. henderson

Posted by Eric Scott, on 2004-04-22 21:04:42

Thanks, Doug. The camera angle is perfect. It certainly gives the character a slightly larger than life quality. It's easy to see why your clients were so pleased with the results! Thanks again, very inspirational. ;)

Posted by Stix, on 2004-04-23 08:15:50

Where exactly do you teach ?

Posted by Henderson, on 2004-04-26 14:50:08

I teach at the Art Institute of Piitssburgh in the Special Effects track of the Industrial Design Technology Program. We are starting up an all Special Effects Bachelor's degree sometime soon (waiting for state approval) and it is going to include all of the stuff we do now, plus tons of new stuff. We currently have classes like Basic Fx makeup, Lifecasting/Foam Latex, multi piece appliances, mechanical masks (cable and RC), mechanical creatures (RC and computer controlled), FX props, and more related to model building (practical and digital), CNC machines, rapid prototyping, laser scanned maquettes and such. You can build a model and scan it or build it in the computer and PRINT it out in 3D. CMU has hired Andy Hosmer, one of our grads, to build a robot for them (and they're one of the leaders of robotics in the world!) and he is printing the parts out on the rapid prototype macnine and assembling them, molding and casting them in resin. They look awesome. The new program will have stop motion armatures, miniature sets, movie making, advanced appliances (silicone), acting, script breakdown, even more computer related courses that will include 3D modeling and compositing,etc., etc. Plus students will choose a thesis that they will have at least half a year to work on. And this is really just the tip of the iceburg. It's going to be very cool. Take care, henderson