Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stream of Consciousness

Still unfinished Rana stand-in comes out on the porch to see what the flash photography's about. I put digital water to indicate the general location of where the water will run.

Ugly photos but I gotta just show what's happening not just what represents. Today I took plastic tubs I had on hand and topped them with scrap lumber to block out the surrounding landscape from the cottage's front porch down to the stream's edge a few steps away. I roughed in a stairway path with cardboard boxes. I will need to make larger landscape patches for the left side of the hill and another for the right as well. I'll need to find higher bases to build those on, maybe something with lockable wheels, eh?

My plan is to papier maché these smaller set pieces, as the main centerpiece will be, but then strengthen the actual animation pathway the characters will walk across for tiedowns, before dressing the whole area with dirt, sand, rocks, moss, etc. There was a perfect material for doing that that a craftperson, Mari Tobata, used on Micheal and Julie's prop team. It was similar to plaster bandages, except smoother and made of highly toxic fiberglass type material instead. She frickin had to use ACETONE!!! to soak the dried sheets in to soften them enough to apply to the rounded shapes of the sculpts. After air drying, and adding 2-3 layers, these masks and other elements were drillable and hard as nails. That won't do in my home/shop so I'll have to come up with a no-tox idea.

Tomorrow I'm out for large quantities of masking tape, brackets, hardware, lots more paper, joint compound, FlexAll©. I feel a set coming on!

Take care!


  1. Anonymous1:58 AM

    Any idea what that toxic material was? (Not that I'm looking to use it...) It wasn't "celastic" perchance?

  2. It does sound like Celastic, and I believe that's no longer being made.

    Nick uses fiberglass cloth and plaster to create landscape shells over chicken wire supported by plywood forms.

  3. Just took a better look at your pic, and you're probably fully aware of all this, but a couple things that concern me -

    If you're planning to use tie-downs, you'll need to substitute something like a ramp for those crates so you can get a hand underneath to work the screws. That could be a wooden ramp with thinninsh ground cover bult over it that you can drill through, or could be a shell made of the fiberglass cloth/plaster mix.

    Also, I'm assuming the lower level of the set will be higher than the actual studio floor, since I believe Kira needs to be submerged in the water (for Rana to pull her out, or however it works)? And of course the need to get under that level as well for tie-down purposes. Not to mention your aching back if you try to animate on the floor!

  4. Ding, ding, ding! YES, Celastic, that was it. Well done. I used to order for them from Unnatural Resources in New Jersey or H.G Pasternack, Inc. in New York I think.

    Great points, Mike, of course I was imagining that the boxes would be open underneath or at the side for reaching the tiedowns but I will have to think more about exactly how. And yes, the water would be slightly above floor level. There's not much action taking place in the water at all.

    The entire Halfland set is primarily for setting appearances and will not have animation taking place on it. Just the walk down from the porch and back, a chicken with his feet in place, and a snail which could/will be done in close up on another swath of larger scale landscape and then dropped in later.

    There'll be wind blowing through the quilt on the clothesline and in tree leaves but those things will be in reach from the edges of the set.

    It's great to get me to think hard about these practical aspects now, Mike.

  5. Oh, duh, I get what to do!!! I'll build as planned in paper base and then make a "cut aways", slices into the set top like a anatomy diagram, along the whole side of the descending steps for EASY access to underneath the path.

    In other words, for "show" situations the entire set assembles as if a real world, but it can also come apart where needed in order to animate. yay.


  6. Anonymous2:49 PM

    What a pleasure it is to watch and learn how this unfolds and becomes. Thank you for showing us the steps of your creative process.

  7. Yeah....Its so awesome to learn from you guys.

    All of us on the blog trail are creating pretty drastically different looking films or artwork.

    And we are running into very different problems.

    very cool to learn through you guys for future projects.


  8. Majorly same here, Justin! I'm learning so much about proper project organization, what it looks like to be highly self-motivated, and all the technical things you are documenting over at the Mission.


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