Thursday, October 15, 2009

100 Days: Perverse Vision = Pervision

I think I'm onto something I like. It not only perverts the scale of a giant miniature stop motion set but also leads to a workable solution for how I can handle the design the edges of the set landscape.

I was experimenting with tilt shift visual effects with Halfland still shots a while ago. Tilt shift is essentially a technique of selective image blurring, directing the viewer's eye towards a middle band of focus that fools the eye into thinking the place depicted is in miniature. There have been several videographers lately using the technique on live action footage to brilliant effect.

It intrigues me that I am building a miniature world, albeit a large miniature world, filled with as minute detail as I possibly can, and then I turn around and use film technique to increase the illusion of scale, making the world I make seem even smaller. This effect on the long shots, like the one above, will make the cottage seem very tiny, too tiny to be as detailed as the macro/close up detail shots will reveal it to be.

It is a perversion of perception, amplified, and I love the idea.

An additional twist will be the obscuring of realism at the large set's edges. I realized the other day that I could simply increase the impressionistic effect of the landscape the further out the view gets from the cottage. In other words, I can approximate the misty hazy look of a blurry vision at the set's edges so that the distant grassy hills, sky, and additional stands of trees are merely suggested. The only detailed area of the set will be its center; Tree, cottage, porch, and middle stream section. The rest will resemble an impressionistic painting, merely suggesting the view continues on endlessly.

This idea enables me to not only the freedom to finish the massive set more crudely and quickly, but also the way I can integrate the 2D cardboard trees at the edges that are meant to parallel/mirror the paper puppets with which my beautiful live actress will be acting out the story in the last sequence.


  1. It's all so pretty!

    I left you an award on my blog, you're welcome to pick it up if you wish :)

  2. Lirael, Lovely to meet your lovely named self here. You are in the Netherlands and sound an interesting person indeed. I love what you wrote on your blog:

    "...My big dream is making a movie one day. An animated movie, made in stop-motion-technology. Can't really explain why, it just feels like a sort of calling. My head is filled with stories and I would like to contribute to the world by making something beautiful and meaningful. "

    You articulate that desire so well. I earnestly hope you do make your films. If it's for you to do, it will indeed contribute to the world.

    I thank you for your kind words about the blog and for thinking of awarding it. I take that to heart. I have a personal no-award-policy for my work, and so I won't take any actual award. But the appreciation I'll take in full. Thank you!

  3. How neat! As for me, I was just tickled I could figure out how to use the paintbrush feature on Photoshop (which I have but have never learned to use) to blur the Gothic mirror I listed on Etsy today!

    Mini Leaps and Bounds

  4. Let's see, Carolina Quilter! I couldn't find you Etsy link from your blog.

    If you ever want to use the fake tilt shift look to an image:

    Select the top third and bottom third, feather the edges and use a blur filter! That's it! Our brains make the mini illusion!

  5. Nice effect! I love the idea of getting impressionistic with the edges of your set during actual construction, as opposed to spending the time creating and detailing an expanse of set that you know will end up blurry anyway. Definitely a time saver, and could lead to some interesting shots in-camera.

  6. Interesting. Are you going to film the entire thing using tilt shift? I like the dreamy effect it creates but I hope also to see all of the details of the props and set dec that you've so carefully and beautifully crafted.

  7. Oh, I forgot to tell you. I finally posted a few pics from my visit to Halfland. It had taken me forever due to technical probs with my old camera, which the pics were on. I should have just used my phone like I did with most of that trip, then I could have emailed them to myself. Oh well, better late than never. And it was fun finding some shots on there that I had completely forgotten were there. Also there is a pic of me when I visited, which I will print out and send off to you, signed, haha! x

  8. This is a great idea! I think this will fit very well into your story as a dreamland; halfland. And yes, having those 2D cardboard trees at the edges inside this impressionistic look could be wonderful.

  9. Thanks, Jeffery! I'm hoping you're right that it'll be quicker.

    HI Dj, I won't shot the whole film in tilt shift, actually, tilt shift may not even work for frame by frame animation. Unless I manually blur a lens filter perhaps. In any case, no, the miniaturization effect would only be used for the long shots. I'll actually be using some macro obscura effects for some of the close up detail as well, so it will be a melange of approaches. All with soft painterly quality though!!!!!!

    Yes, please! I need to add you to the Guest Artist autograph board from your visit.

    Hi Yazzle Dazzle, I hope it'll look good, I'll try. I'm hoping the large paper trees Peggy made for me will relate to the little paper puppets I'll be sending to Rose Red to use in the live action scene.

    You know, I just thought of reducing a photo of one of the large trees and printing it out to cut out as one of her puppets for that scene!? That should do the trick! Thanks for making me think of that! xoxox

  10. I can't believe your productivity in the last 2 weeks!

    I love the tilt shift. A fantastic find. I'm wondering if I couldn't have it built into my prescription glasses somehow. And I love how losing the details around the edges allows you to dive into the teeny tiny world.

    I took quite a bit of personal interest in the crepe paper - naturally. You should note that it can fade quite quickly - often for a more naturalistic effect. But as half my world is built out of paper (and the other half glue) I have had many opportunities to be shocked by the fading. I'm not so sure about your time line but if it will be years I recommend keeping the grass covered. Just my two cents.



  11. HI Karima! Thank you very much!

    Yes, I am so interested in the luxe double crepe papers your shop carries. I understand it's the best made.

    I'll have to get a few greens to add in.

    Could you please tell me if you mean that the crepe paper color will fade just from exposure to air and light inside a room? Is that so even if not left out-of-doors in direct sunlight, or even in a window?

    That's a key point you make if so! Hmmm. I suppose I could "freshen it" quickly if it faded badly (it's a touch bright at the moment) with a spritz from dye in a mist bottle?

  12. Obviously direct sunlight and moisture (humidity) are the worst. The paper is dyed so anywhere that will cause ink to fade will cause it to fade. I have wonderful looking displays in the shop (which is quite well lit) that have been up for years but if you hold them to the fresh crepe you do wonder what color they could have been originally. Fortunately the greens tend to go toward olive. Otherwise crepe is just about the most ideal medium out there. And it loves to be freshened!
    It becomes a huge issue if you are working with anything in the pink and magenta palette. Those turn white if you so much a look at them!
    All my best,

  13. do you remember the post a few posts back on the kitchen tools?
    The wooden stick you found in little tokyo...?
    IT is used in grinding..they usually have a clay heavy bowl with no glase inside... they cut textures inside so that when you use the stick to grind the bowl also helps to is used for everything from sticky potatoes...rice... to sesame seeds and cooked soybeans. And yes herbs.. green onions too.
    Here is a image to show you the bowl and the stick is lower down.

    "The Bowl (Suribachi)
    The mortar is an earthenware bowl, glazed on the outside. The inside of the bowl has a ridged pattern (kushi-no-me) to facilitate grinding. There are several common interior patterns, the simple circlular pattern shown above, as well as a pattern made up of a series of "commas", and a daisy-wheel design.

    photo: suribachi bowl

    The Pestle (Surikogi)
    The pestle called "surikogi" is made of wood rather than clay and keeps the pestle from wearing down the ridges in the mortar. The traditional and less common pestle is made from the Japanese pepper tree (sansho) and the bark is left on the pestle. It is said that this pestle imparts a slight peppery flavor to the food it grinds. I think a case could be made to obtain this version simply for its natural beauty."

    Hope that clears it up for you sweetie!
    This stick is as traditional as rice and kimonos! And sooo old a style! Hope you have a lovely day!


    forgot to post the site..LOL!

  15. Thanks, Ryan!

    THanks forthat information, Karima! That makes perfect sense. And with your extensive experience with this fantastic material I am tipped off to the bright green fading to olive. That should be accidentally perfect!

    Your windows at your shop in Berkley are always works of art and always so fitting seasonally or heralding a new addition to the goodies you carry.

    I am a new found crepe paper convert thanks to your discovery!

    Woo! I made a sansho surikogi with rough bark shaft! who knew!? Thanks so much for telling me in that detail, Rane dear! I thought the tool fit for Rana, now I know how it's really used!

    I have THE BEST readers here! Gah!

  16. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Genial fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

  17. Hi Anonymous, The English isn't clear but I believe you are saying thank you for the information in this post. You are most welcome. Best of luck with your assignment.

  18. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Opulently I agree but I dream the brief should secure more info then it has.

  19. Hi Anonymous, I feel you are sincere and trying to comment using a translator. I think you are saying that you want more details about how I'll be making the set look small? Is that correct?

    Perhaps try typing in your native language as well, and I can try to use a translator to better understand what you are saying that way as well?

    I wish you well.


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