As I finished in the studio earlier today, I did a quick count, 5 pieces completed, with another 5 now under construction, I’m probably half way through the whole collection for the town, which is faster than I expected. It come down to where I draw those guidelines on the complete pieces, ready to be remade.
Today I place 3 more on the shelve before making a start on adding more detail the 3rd round for the barbers and the 2nd for the stores. I’ve made the decision to add more detail to the signage with the barbers as it was looking a little flimsy, so I needed to strengthen it before moving forward, whilst trying to make it looked ruined still, that still needs some work on it. Whilst the stores just received more detailing and some cracks/tears in the walls.
The next piece was the bank, which I know that the more detail that’s added it’s going to be harder to keep reaching in to work on it, so I’m having to add detail strategically before my hands are trapped.
The next two are new pieces, the jail and saloon, which both have external stairs. I really went to town with how much was burnt away, leaving elements on all sides show. It was really fun to plan and construct these pieces. With the saloon I’ve had to add the posts under the balcony (that’s still intact). There’s a pattern with the balsa detail to suggest two floors. I want to replicate that with the jail to a certain extent. I got so carried away with the saloon, that I ran out of time to add any balsa to the jail, meaning that it will potentially take 4 rounds/days to completed. It’s not a big deal but shows that if you get carried away with yourself in the design that you can lose time.
I’m surprised with how many I’ve done to date, the system works, I know that where I plan determines how much balsa will be added. It’s an enjoyable process. I should be starting 2 more next time, that’s after making a start on the jail.
It’s been well over a week since I was last in the studio. After my output over the past month I needed to switch off and relax. Batteries recharged it was time to return. Making good progress on the models of the ruined town.
The first set of pieces came out of the masking tape to become completed, allowing to make a start on more pieces during the day. Now I know that it takes about 3 days (in the studio) to make one of these pieces. It felt good to have something finished and an idea of how these piece will look.
Allowing me to add slightly more detail to the next set (I’ve forgotten which buildings they are at present). Hopefully the last pieces of balsa are going in place for this pair now too. I’ve begun to add more detail around the roof, a few angled pieces for the structure that holds the roof in place.
Moving onto the next set including the train station, which I believe is all but finished after this round of detail being added. There’s definitely some work to do on the other piece. I’m only held back where the masking tape restricts me.
Lastly I made a start on two more pieces. The first was a challenge I set myself. A building that has been attacked on the left and right, leaving the roof still very much intact. Making it difficult to add the beams of the roof underneath. So far I’ve made good progress, my main concern is having an even distance between them when it comes around to adding more. The final piece was the stores, which is much the same as the train station, taking off the roof completely, with more height in the walls to play with.
It looks like I’m beginning the next batch of these now…slowly but surely, which is the way this is going. I’m OK with that too. Next time I’ll be making sure I add some jagged gaps in the walls of the new pieces before moving on. I’ll hopefully be starting two more pieces next time too. I’m enjoying the process as each piece slowly but surely develops in a matter of a few days in the studio. I’m looking forward to distressing and painting them all too.
I think I’ve reached a point with these pieces that I can’t really start anymore until I know at least one is complete. I’m now at maximum workload before the days over.
I began with adding what I believe are the final bits of balsa to the first two pieces (I’ll be losing count soon), hopefully (in the best possible way) they’ll be at the next stage of distressing next time.
I then moved onto the next two pairs, adding the respective levels of detail to them, slowly becoming more like a ripped frame of a building. This process is going to be very repetitive for me, but as pieces are completed I know the second half of my days in the studio can be dedicated to making more pieces. To get anymore into production now would be crazy, I have to just make and wait.
I finished the day off with a new piece (the last for now) the train station which is almost obliterated by the aliens, leaving very little left for me to work with. In that respect it should be a quicker build so I can move onto the other pieces.
I’m glad I’ve reached this point knowing my limits and working within them. Next time it will be more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing, where cardboard and balsa are concerned.
I’ve entered a state of mass production again with the cardboard down that I have returned to over the weekend. I have now got a total of fives pieces under construction. I’ll probably have more soon too.
I began by adding extra detail to the balsa to the church and other buildings. Again I’m limited as to how much for now due to the masking tape holding the pieces in place.
Before making a start on two more pieces, which are at the same point as the first two yesterday, however with a few major differences. First because more of the buildings are exposed I’ve been fitting out more of the framework, which ultimately means more work. I’ve also grown in confidence as to where I make the cuts, having a few jagged holes in walls, not just whole blasted out sections. This way I can reveal more of the framework, and create new viewpoints to work with.
I finished the day by making a start on a 5th piece, which I left at just the cardboard element. I must try to be more daring and remove more of the fronts in future designs too. Also I’m aware that the broken framework has clean edges at the moment, I’ll try to rectify that with my knife, working into them once finished. At one point I will potentially have many pieces on the go at once as they all slowly get brought up to a finished standard, with at least 3-4 days work on each, whilst making a start on 2-3 each time too. It’s a lot of work which with each piece gets better as I go.
I could say my day began with Wild Wild West (1999) as some form of research, but it was more out of curiosity for what turned out to be an awful film. Having aired my views on that I feel much better able to share what has seen me enter another long period of making.
Beginning with the finishing touches on the entrances for the gold mine. First some extra shape on the external and wrapping over with brown paper. Then turning my attention to the false boarded entrance piece (I can’t think of a shorter label), which was just about fitting, but needed some of the tray cutting away before fitting perfectly. I then moved onto the internal piece adding a trail of grey toned paper to the opening of the entrance before it fades out. These final details bring these two very detailed pieces to a close for now. I’ll only be returning to add paint work before animation begins.
Moving on, or back you could say to the cardboard town I made a few weeks ago now, knowing that they will be practically destroyed by the invading aliens I need to have the pieces in a ruined state. I’ve begun the very slow process of remaking and modifying them all. First drawing onto the originals where I want to cut away, opening up the buildings, using a lesser quality of cardboard, which I have plenty off at the moment, (this will hopefully made some space) which I’m combining with an exposed wooden framework, using balsa here to suggest the construction. Some of them will require extra framework, where the floor is very much on show.
Looking at today’s progress alone I could probably start 2-3 a day, whilst I go back and forth to add the balsa frame in stages, needing to ensure that everything is fixed before moving on. Also where the buildings are exposed will also determine where the lasers will hit the buildings in post-production. It’s going to be a slower process as these pieces are more involved. I might have to pause at time when I require more material to keep this process going, otherwise I believe I have a good system in place.
I had a shorter than usual day in the studio, still giving me enough time to make a few little pieces, emphasis on the little. Making some little additions to the external gold mine entrance.
First beginning with a boarded up front that I wanted to sit just inside the door frame. A small tray was made first to sit inside, allowing me to build up using mainly spare pieces of balsa to replicate a boarded up entrance. Hopefully when the masking tape comes off it should look OK. It’s not an easy piece to make really as there’s no set look to this.
Moving onto make my first boulders, which I had greater success with. For days I was wondering just how do I approach this task. The only way I could think of achieving this was to first construct a shape to build upon. I went with a cube – of sorts made from cardboard that I then began to wrap around using strips of cardboard with the first layer removed. Once I built up the form I went onto wrap them all in brown paper. I could see that it looks like a rocky ball, so I went into production with a few in various sizes.
Staying with the boulders I had to make a number to sit above the entrance, whilst below I had to construct another tray and attach them to three more pieces so they would sit in-front of the entrance. This is only for one scene, I don’t know how I can animate falling rocks so I’ll be using a sound-effect and cutting to a different view of the boulders in front of the entrance. There are still somethings I can’t work out, as much I’ll be pushing myself in terms of effects that will have to wait for a future piece.
I’ve ticked another item off my list as these two entrances still require attention before I can move onto another item on the list. When I enter the painting stage the two inserts (the boarded up entrance and boulders) will be painted black.
I now have two pieces on the go in the studio, both different angles of the same location – the gold mine entrance. After adding the final touch to the lift, the bars that sit across during the descent and ascent.
I then moved onto the internal entrance which saw me carry on through lunch. Adding the balsa beams in place was not as straight forward as I thought it would be. In terms of still allowing the vehicles to pass through – the tallest being the stagecoach (which is constantly out for reference) I had to carve into the beams to allow it to pass under without getting stuck. Exhausting my supply of the type of balsa I have to wait before I can construct further internal pieces. I was then able to move onto create a false entrance that will block out the light, adding balsa around the edges to create a entrance that appears to be supported by wood.
I then moved onto the external entrance where the cowboys will be reaching before going into hiding. I have made a good start on fleshing the piece out, adding the raised entrance which for now looks like a pill-box. A sloped entrance for them to ride up. I’ll then be adding pieces to flesh out the shapes of the surrounding rocks that will hide them from view. Now this is just the large scale version, I am seriously considering a smaller version which will be for the tiny figures I purchased accidentally, these would be used for dramatic effect. I think I need to see all the riders and vehicles out to be sure if it’s worth it.
Returning to the internal piece I’m going to constructed a pull away section that will be another wall, blocking out more light that I can use to block out more light, which can be moved in between shots. Before I left I found hidden in the studio a livery stable that needs to be upgraded using cardboard I’m currently short of. I’ll be holding back in that one until I have s fresh supply and will redesign. It’s really going rather fast at the moment, I just hope I have enough room for it all.
I can’t explain why things are moving so fast. What I thought would take far longer to produce is moving at breakneck speed at the moment. I currently have 3 pieces on the go in the studio, the lift, the brown paper belt and just started today I have a new internal entrance to the gold mine.
First up I made a start on the lift, beginning work on the bars that will sit across either entrance to the lift. Hopefully I have put in place the pieces that will hold the bars in place. I’m not too sure how this will go, it maybe a few days work to ensure I have achieved what is a minor detail could take a few attempts.
I then moved onto the finishing touches of the brown-paper belt, adding the roof to reduce the light. I may add another piece in-front to remove more, if it’s achievable with the lift in situ.
Moving onto a completely new piece that I decided to turn to, sticking with the lift, as it’s under construction and easily accessible I decided to carry on with pieces connected to it. Now that I have a stand for the piece I can adapt the piece to work in a number of settings. Here I have made a start on the internal view of the entrance to the gold mine. I’ve kept it pretty angular now, indicated in my research. I’ve also made a start on the beams, bringing out the balsa for the piece. Fixing to brown paper maybe a challenging, I’m happy to tear through the paper to ensure it has a grip on something more substantial, Hopefully the work I’ve done today will carry through to next time. In terms of construction, it was sped up as I didn’t box in all the elements, only constructing what needs to be covered in brown paper. I like how it looks, leaving exposed what is unnecessary. I’ll carry this through to other pieces that I need to make for the animation. It’s moved really fast, partly due to the test pieces which have put in me in good stead.
Next time I’ll be hoping to add the remainder of the beams into place. I’m unsure about the addition of buttresses also. I know that the beams in the shaft have reduced the width in place which will make it a squeeze to get the lift in. I should be OK though. I won’t be doing all four sides (unless practical) just enough for the camera to capture.
Another really productive day in the studio as I have made real progress with the low-fi special effect I started yesterday.
I began by adding more detail to the model miniature that will sit in front of the brown paper belt. Focusing on the bare sides which were left from last time. I have also closed in and made the frames on the other sides flush. Before moving on I added the framework for the rope/string to be tied to. I just need to wait for these additions to fix before I go any further.
Freeing the rest of the day to focus on the brown paper belt which I had achieved yesterday. Now I have a working piece I had to build on it so it was substantial and produce a more effecting visual. First raising it up onto a stand to match that used for the lift itself. I then went onto work in-front of it to construct a shaft with a frame for the belt. I wrapped up the interior. Now I’m getting really close to having a completed visual effect that I control and capture, with only the need to minimally edit the raw-footage. In terms of making I need to add a bar to loosely tie the string/rope to.
Again I must say how pleased I am to have achieved this much in a short space of time. I do know that I will have to consider building a new shaft (or sections of) for the lift to work with (due to the extra detail I’m adding). I’m starting to build up a better understanding of set construction, how portions of a larger piece are broken up and move around to build up a larger image. With the entrance that I will have to eventually make I’ll make it so deep to hold up the lift and the shaft so wide to hold it. All these considerations that come with pre-production that I now need to re-evaluate my making list.
It’s been an incredibly good day in the studio. My making skills have made a massive jump today, taking a basic idea and develop it to actually achieve a special effect. I’m so pleased with my progress today it’s unreal.
I began by returning to the lift which I feel is entering a longer period. The dimensions are restricting me from doing too much at one. I came back to find that it’s all held together, even after the reduction in size that I knew would make or break the piece. Pleased with that I moved on to add balsa wood to 4 sides of the exterior, leaving only the entrances to the lift bare for more. Carrying on the level of detail that I began the other day.
Having made some good progress I moved onto a piece that is essentially a special effect using very low-fi in-camera technique. I had the seed of the idea after watching the special features for a film that simulated the moving of a lift, by simply running a background on a belt continuously. Now I had to turn that effect into reality without the big budget to support me. I began by making a stand for the lift to sit on in front of the piece I was going to build. Before moving onto cut a cardboard tube to three lengths and two sheets of cardboard up, ready to begin plotting where things would go. Once I had constructed the framework I had Initially thought that two of the three tubes would be fixed leaving one to turn the belt of brown paper around. I found that this wasn’t working, so decided to refix at only one end for all of the pieces. I was thinking a handle on one piece would do the trick. I soon learnt that the belt needed to be gripped in order to be pulled around continously. This meant fixing strips of card to each tube in 4 places. Still nothing. I then thought about how to somehow connect them all, a piece of elastic or a rubber band. I had neither to hand. String was the nearest and still got no movement.
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Keep your eyes on the tape. . I've made a breakthrough just now. If I hold together the string and turn two of the wheels at the same time I can complete this piece soon. Ultimately I have to fix the brown paper belt to the string belt – if that makes any sense. . #wip #workinprogress #testing #makingprogress #cardboardmechnics
This all changed when I added guides in-between the card grips for the string to sit in, and just for an experiment I taped up a section of string to see what that did. The string needed to move together, whilst being guided around the structure, allowing it to be pulled through. Once I have achieved this I them moved onto add a more substantial replacement for the tape test. I carefully prized one side of cardboard strips, fixed the internal corrugated between the string for a fixed width before covering over with the piece I tore away. I was starting to get somewhere now. The tubes when turned were pulling through the strips on the string, but getting stuck in places. This needed to be rectified, using more strips of card I used a single layer and built up a belt that ran underneath the strips and would allow a smoother motion to occur. Once this was tested out I knew I could apply a strip of brown paper that would be the rock face that would be passed through either going up or down.
Looking back It was simple mechanics and trial and error. All found through pure experimentation and understanding what was going on. I’ve made a real jump into a level of making, whilst still being relatively low-fi, I have an in camera effect that won’t need further editing or animating, It’s just point and shoot, operating the piece and then added the audio later.
I still need to work on the piece (I need a name for it) before I can say it’s complete, a trim on exterior to mask the frame and also some extra trim for a smoother run. It’s never going to be a fast piece, but that can be sped up in the edit if necessary. I also need to work on the lift to added the new locking system, a bar of wood that will slide in front. Above I need to add the framework where the rope/string will be tethered to. Today’s progress has been really satisfying giving me the confidence that I can achieve more with this work. I honestly though that this lift and effect would take far longer than it has so far, even with the reduction in size.