Saturday, March 16, 2013

Queen Cloud

Yeah, I'm sitting in the hay bed on the set. Yeah, that's the Caterpillow frowning next to me. Yes, I am comfortable, thanks. No, I didn't ask first. Whatever.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Seasons: Time is a Place


Stowed all together backstage, an 11 Birch tree forest rests its seasons shoulder to shoulder. When the forest gets installed on the set next week, Spring frames the foreground with budding branches, Summer frames the main set edges to obscure the edges of the sky, Autumn near the back of the set, and finally Winter behind the atmosphere scrim in front of the blackest, coldest Night.

Tarn comes out of the Winter Night.

In Halfland, all the Seasons are happening at once, only separated by distance. In this land, time is a Frog and the past, present, and future are distant or near depending on where you are.
Summer branches added onto the previously made tube trees with masking tape, a LOT of masking tape. Some of the tubes had been left to plain and so I spent a lot of time giving them more texture with flexible cement. My beautiful talented angel Christine has been coming twice a week (!) and mixing colors, painting the shading on the entire forest and making the sky.
For the Winter trees I was out of previously made trunks so I took pvc pipe and bulked them out with paper and masking tape as the branches were added. I found that Nova Color's Course Lava Gel Medium made perfect snow on the tips of the mica sparkled branches. Brrrrr.
The Spring trees at the very foreground of the wide shot, are made from dead branches I picked up off the street. Bare twig branches were added (in the technique below) and the joins were textured with, again, flexible cement, my second favorite material to build with. A dry brushing of dark umber picked up the horizontal cement lines on the other trunks. A sprig of Spring emerges on the Spring trees with small paper leaves attached with masking tape. These joins will get covered and painted to blend as if grown.

The opening titles happen as the camera passes through the Spring tree curtain/proscenium. A budding leaf animation will reveal nearly normal words.
This is an excellent method of making branches grow on trunks that developed after several score had been done less successfully.

1. Take a small strip of brown paper and twist it into a skinny coil, attaching it with tape to the cut end of a twig branch with masking tape.

2. Fold up the excess paper twist to one side of the stem end bundle so that the branch grows at the desired angle. The bundle should be tight and firm.

3. Secure the bundle with a band of masking tape tightly at just the bottom edge.

4. Now saddle the top of the bundle with another length of masking tape from the top and press the ends to the trunk.

5. Blend with flexible cement and paint as shown in the previous image above this one, far left, and paint to finish.

How Little Acorns Grow

All the little acorns with fancy hats and knit caps have been installed on the Answer Tree as if they have grown there. I put them all, like an organically grown habidashery, around the set for the Birds in Hats.

Here's how to attach growing things so they won't move during animation: Above, was the first step, and this technique applies to attaching anything, branches, fruits, anything. I twisted fine steel wire around the stems of the acorns and secured the tight wrapping with flexible cement, glue would work too.

 As the Answer Tree is being patched and repaired right now from the move, I'm taking care of adding in all the other things in that need to grow on her, before her new paint job completes the makeover.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Day Kisses Night: Paper Sky Tiles

Painted paper tiles 10 feet tall, 12 feet wide, mosaic a new sky backdrop. Features the new 1/2L sky concept of Day kissing Night, depicted in shifts of color and a large rendering of face shapes on brown paper. A concept sketch from an old picture of the set and a (unknown source) artist rendering of the day time sky kissing the night time sky as backdrop. I placed PS guidelines in the sketch on my computer and taped a clear plastic envelope to my monitor to trace the face shapes onto a grid. Then I grided up a large swath of brown paper to scale and drew the shapes into it. Filled in with slight shading and attached to backdrop wall with tape until it was papier machéd into the paper tile mosaic. It was Christine and I struggling at a loss for how to complete the sky backdrop that had us brainstorm the papier mach´solution, so fitting for this project. It gives me control over the blend of shades and shifts. And since the machéing was done on top of an unsuccessful layer of cloth and plastic backdrop, it allows me to color the entire area needed for this without harming the room I'm using. Plus, it's safe to say that all of Halfland has been made in this same fashion; brown paper and Nova Color Matte medium maché!
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