When I first started to make my backgrounds, I used Maya and Zbrush. I had a clear vision of what I wanted this room to be but during APME my concepts stretched only as far as assets rather than full room designs. I spoke with a friend, Annie Bennett who helped me by doing a layout of the room as I described it to her:
When Modelling this I made a few minor alterations but this gave me a solid base to refer to.
I wanted the room to come across as quirky and sweet, and even though this wasn’t at a finished level yet, I could feel that this wasn’t heading where I wanted it to.
Something I was toying with was the possibility of making my sets physically. I started my doing some research into this, and put together some moodboards:
After also researching various methods within this I then did some tests to decide whether it would work.
First, one of how I might make the walls and the flooring- The foundation of the set. This test was done using lolly sticks for the floor and wall cladding, which I cut to size individually and glued together and then added patterned paper for the wallpaper.
I then thought about how I would fill this room, I played about with a lot of different materials, air-drying clay, cardboard, home-made paste, chipboard and fabrics. Some of the tests were successful but a lot of them showed me exactly how not to do it. I ended up deciding to go with chipboard for the furniture because it’s sturdy, although hard to cut out. Other parts I made, like the bear, I made was made out of silk clay. I hand sewed the mattress cover, quilt and pillow and the mattress itself was made out of a sponge.
I also did some tests for the exterior model of the house. This ended up being a large portion of the modelling. I started out by making a base from cardboard and then layering on top of it with lolly sticks and then painting on that. Each piece was glued on individually, and to make this I ended up using between 600 and 700 lolly sticks.
Here are some of the tests I did before I started making it:
I played about with using cardboard instead of lolly sticks because it would be quicker and easier but it just didn’t look as effective.
I also tried making texture with air-drying clay but that cracked as it dried so wouldn’t work for this.
Here are some process photos I took so you can see the development of the sets.
Overall I enjoyed making it all physically but it was a lot harder than I initially anticipated. I didn’t expect to need to use a saw for the lolly sticks, they were a lot tougher than I thought. I also didn’t anticipate burning myself countless times with the glue gun. As much as this was a long and difficult task, I found it to be an enjoyable one and I’m pleased with the overall outcome of it. I feel it has a lot more charm to it than it would have done had I made it all digitally.
I put together a turnaround of the house before painting it, so you can see the level of detail within it.
You can see the showreel for the house and assets below:
I also decided to do a quick test on keying out the space behind the window in the room and add an animated cloud movement.
I started by creating a photoshop file with a couple of layers and painting individual clouds. I took this into Adobe After Effects to make this into an animation. Shown below.
I then edited a photo I took of the set in photoshop, making it more vibrant and blocking out the part I wanted to key out.
Here is the test once I edited it in Premiere Pro.
It’s not quite perfect but that just comes down to me not colouring the green keys out cleanly enough. Other than that, the way I lit the photo, the cloud effect and the overall look of it really works and I plan to do this throughout my film.