Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by liamliamliam, on 2005-06-18 21:09:44

I want to make a tree.

A mighty oak with many branches, possibly leaves too. Anyone have suggestions for materials in which to make it? thanks

Posted by Sasquatch, on 2005-06-20 19:02:06

Hi, go looking around a park or your yard or the woods and try to find a nice branch that you can imagine as your trunk then you can make leaves out of paper or other materials. Some miniature foliage or plastic plants for holiday arrangements have good little leaves. Plastic aquarium plants can also be utilized for leaves.

Posted by Sasquatch, on 2005-06-20 19:07:40

Forgot to mention; you can glue smaller sticks and branch parts to your trunk piece to get a fuller tree. I've drilled holes into branches and then glued other branches in for a stronger tree. If your trunk branch is cut off straight at the bottom, you can drill a hole into it and mount it to your stage with a wood screw and some carpenters glue -white glue will work too tho'. Good luck, Stan

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-06-20 19:26:53

For an Oak, I'd probably make the trunk and main branches in order to really define the overall shape, then incorporate a lot of real branches for the smaller branches. I usually make the trunk by sculpting a rough shape in clay, flat on the bench so it is 3/4 round. Then I lay plaster and fibreglass matting over that to make a shell, and just plaster over that, textured while still soft with brushes and modelling tools. Then when it's set I lift it off the bench and dig the clay out of the back. I shape the main branches from wire and build up over that. I mostly use plastic foliage attached with hot glue for the leaves. Sometimes, if the tree needs to be fully round and seen from all sides, I start with a real branch and add spreading roots at the base. It depends on whether you find something with a good shape. A couple of times I've built up in gap-filling urethane foam over a cardboard tube or bit of pvc pipe, then carved the foam. For bigger trees I've cut a profile out of particle board, shaped chicken wire around that, and put plaster and fibreglass over it.

Posted by Strider, on 2005-06-21 17:18:03

I think that I shall never see, a prop as lovely as a tree. ;)

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-06-21 20:58:24

Somehow I keep hearing Freddie Mercury in my head, singing "I want to, make tree-ees!" :P

Posted by liamliamliam, on 2005-06-26 19:47:38

thanks for the suggestions guys

Posted by Strider, on 2005-06-26 23:19:52

You're welcome... for the poet-tree. ;)

Posted by webster_c, on 2005-06-27 19:28:11

Here's a tree that I made back in '92 for a Fila commercial directed by Chel White: It had to be animateable, so we molded a big gnarly root (about 2 feet long) in silicone, made a casting in urethane foam (self-skinning, and the skin didn't have to be perfect) and retro-glued that using contact cement to a wire armature. We ended up lashing small branches to it as well, to fill it out. Animating it was another story. You can see a quicktime of the final spot here: You might think about making your leaves out of thick metal foil- like blackwrap, so that they can be animated. You could maybe use one of those special paper punches to stamp them out- I wouldn't be surprised if there's one out there in the shape of a leaf.

Posted by Strider, on 2005-06-27 23:57:56

Wow Webster... that tree is awesome! At first I was scratching my head, wondering how the heck you could mold that thing, but I guess the little branches were added later (as you said). One of the first things i thought of was the trees Josh Jennings made a while back... there used to be a thread in here with like 50 pictures of them... io rmeember you had to like go eat dinner or something waiting for them all to load! :7 But they were great. I found the thread, but all the pictures are deleted. I think he made them from a crazy mix of copper tubing, chicken wire, wooden forms, and expanding urethane foam (Great Stuff... sold in hardware stores as an insulating foam).

Posted by Nick H, on 2005-06-28 01:07:02

I remember Josh's trees, very gnarly nightmarish trees. But Wow from me too Webster! And I haven't even watched the animation yet...