Posts Tagged With: set design

Arena Model Render: First stages of model making

As part of the project I have to produce a section of set that is rendered to show model making skills. I chose to do the arena space because it contained several different textures including textured sandstone walls, concrete, iron, metal grille flooring etc. The first stages of the render were the walls. I chose to use painted sandpaper as it gave just enough texture for both the walls and columns and to provide interest and a realistic look when lit.

The images following are the various stages to date.

render stage 1

render 2

The next stage is more focused on the fixtures and fittings including a door, railings, lights and a central metal wheel that chains are fixed to. I also need to complete the ceiling.

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The Practicalities of Green Screen 2

It’s surprising how many films and TV shows use green screen to create set extensions. Some like Game of Thrones, The Hobbit and World War Z are more obvious productions in which green screen is used to add effects of explosions or distant landscape. Others like The Wolf of Wall Street,where the locations are more achievable using actual locations still use green screen in a studio. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m amazed at how real they look or whether I’m shocked at the lack of in camera effects/location work but it shows what can be done entirely on computer. Given the video that I watched from the making of Titanic in an earlier post, you can speculate that the CGI choices are made based on the cost of building a set or flying cast and crew out to appropriate locations or the preference of the Director.

This is a selection of pictures that demonstrate green screen usage.

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_04

The Wolf of Wall Street

 

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_05

The Great Gatsby

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_06

Game of Thrones

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_08

World War Z

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_11

Boardwalk Empire

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_14

The Avengers

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_18

The Hobbit

visual_effects_hollywood_before_after_19

The Lord of The Rings

All available at  http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced on 12/07/14]

The choice of location is important for some of these productions but maybe less so for others as entire backgrounds, buildings, even windows appear to be  digitally added.  But whether there is a small amount of set build or location used, decisions are made creatively, even down to the choice of floor or lighting in The Wolf of Wall Street image that is filmed in a studio. The production designer will have to be involved in this decision-making at some point in the creative process. The use of CGI can mean more time for the production designer to oversee other aspects or so that streets don’t have to be closed. More often that not, budget controls the choice of set/CGI etc as does the script or the type of film.

I’m taking the route of “as much in camera as possible”. The street alteration that I’m designing is perfectly achievable in an actual location using set dressing with CGI doing the job it was intended for, visual effects; that of extending a location which would be difficult to achieve purely on location given the story is set  50 years in the future . CGI is a tool that can enhance a scene, make it possible to suspend belief for those few moments rather than be imposing, obvious and synthetic. Some of the films work better than others. Personally  I thought The Lord of The Rings worked better than the Hobbit; The Lord of The Rings films appearing much more organic on-screen and real.

 

References:-

Before And After Photos Show How Misleading Visual Effects Can Be In Our Favorite Movies. Available at http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced online on 12/7/14]

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Street Location Alteration 2: Matte CGI background

Before placing all the visual and set dressing elements into the street scene I need to portray what the overall look of the CGI back ground and sky will look like. It is night-time but there has to be some light. As there is a fair bit of pollution I’m going with an orange green cast to start with. This can be altered at a later stage.

alteration matte 1

This is a white matte to make the layering easier. Below shows the sky and the start of the background, along with a building design that is partly influenced by my interiors, partly by a gothic/art deco combination.

pen build 1     background with pen 2

The image above was created by altering a pen design that I found.  I then changed the sizes, inverted them to create a collection of buildings. This will sit at the back of the scene as a CGI matte painting. There will also be an addition of a CGI burnt out building using the existing high-rise block of flats.

alteration darkened

 

With the background near completion I can now add in some of the design elements to the foreground.

street alter with shop windows a

The next phase will include altering shop and street signs where necessary and adding in some rubbish, broken glass, maybe a burnt out car etc.

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Street location Alteration 1: Graffiti and posters

I wanted at least one street alteration that incorporated CGI/VFX as part of the set extension. I chose Shadwell as it provided some interesting urban views that could be added to or manipulated. The main action is focused on the bridge end of the street and some shop fronts, one of which is used in the action.

I gathered some visual inspiration from my Pinterest page of urban dystopian/post apocalyptic streets and some of my own photos.

 

mood board apoc

 

A short excerpt from Chapter 3, The Huntsman in which one of the characters Switch walks the streets of London.

A couple of streets away he found a dirty fast food joint and bought a burger which he ate back out on the street. In a bin he found an old newspaper from two days ago which had little of interest, but he wasn’t much of a reader anyway. Most of the news he did glance at concerned crime within the city, murder, robbery, arson. The only mention of the world was from opinion columns that criticised the European Confederation’s trade blockades, and there was no mention of America at all. (The Tube Riders by Chris Ward)

Description here is mainly about the world around him and the character himself so it was fairly open in terms of design. Reading through other parts of the book though gave me visual ideas to work from. It had to say city, London, future, dirty, uncared for etc. Because the story revolves around a gang I wanted to make the streets have a gang-like feel with graffiti and posters. I also wanted to incorporate elements of resistance in the wall art, such as doves wings. The eye was used as a resistance poster, “they are watching you…join us…”. It adds to the sense of dystopia and being watched.

eye for poster aposter mask 2graffiti wall mask c

 

poster graffiti wall 2 final

 

Above show the visuals for one of the walls. I used some of my artwork and adapted it, combining it with some tag street art.

I worked on some visuals that could be part of a boarded up shop front. This was inspired by some of the abandoned buildings around Nottingham that were boarded up with wood panels and joined together. This would also be part graffiti’d and would fit over the front of one of the existing shops.

shop fronts boards 1        shop fronts graffiti 2       wing wall darker

The finished boarded up shop front using my building photo, artwork and graffiti wall. The image was produced in photoshop with layers and digital painting.

This image shows where it will fit.

alterations visual board

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Matte Painting and Set Extensions

As part of my project I need to look at set extensions, both for the reception space to extend the height and also for the external scenes to change the sky lines. Matte paintings are used behind a built set, filmed action or scale model to extend the set or create a world that would be impossible or too costly to build. In the early days, matte painting was done on sheets of glass. Today it’s a digital composite.

Craig Barron, once matte cameraman at Industrial Light and Magic discusses matte painting.

“Good matte paintings are as much about design and planning as anything else,” states Barron. ” Long before anything is filmed, a matte shot will be carefully planned by us and the film’s production designer. This usually entails producing a number of small test paintings in which we figure out composition, colour schemes, lighting effects and how live action will integrate with painting.” (RICKETT, R., 2000)

matte_painting_5_by_astrokevin

http://slappylafunky.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/creative-inspirations-ron-crabb/ [sourced on 7/05/14]

An image like this would take many hours to produce, so a production designers job is to produce images or collaborate with artists to design scenes that portray the overall look of the film and act as a guideline for VFX artists.

The videos that I’ve found so far about Matte painting either use photographs or images to start with or draft up drawings then paint over, adding photo elements on top. This video is an example of how the image is built up using stages or layers to produce a realistic view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-kdXbjwAME

 

 

From this I have thought about how I go about designing with matte painting in mind. I’m not trained in the art of digital FX like the VFX artists of  companies such as Framestore but I can design concepts  that convey the colour palette of the film or a certain look to some of the architecture.

I had a go at using photos and digital painting in Photoshop to try to produce concepts/matte painted backgrounds as a guideline image for colour schemes and lighting.

skyline1

skyline 7 purple

 

blend panorama C

This image is a progression from the first drawing with  background and foreground pieces inserted. To finish this digital Matte/concept I would need to add some detail and some more buildings in the foreground. When designing my locations where a CGI is needed or a space that needs green screen I will create a matte concept that will give a good idea of how I want the scene to look as part of the set design.

 

References:-

RICKETT, R., Special Effects: The History and Technique. London: Virgin Books, 2000.

You Tube and videos:-

http://slappylafunky.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/creative-inspirations-ron-crabb/ [sourced on 7/05/2014]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkYWop-G0p4 [sourced on 7/05/2014]

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, Post Production, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department, workshops and skills | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walkways and metal floors

 

Below is one of the mood boards that I produced for the walkway design.

walkways and metal floors

Both of the main spaces that I’m designing use walkways of different kinds. The main reception uses a basic straight design that acts like a bridge. As it needs to allow some light through I went for a mesh floor. This is will provide an authentic design because many walkways are made from metal, they are also made from a material that is ridged in some way to act as an anti slip surface. I also decided on semi opaque side glass panels to allow light to pass through while continuing the blue glass theme that I’d already used in the rest of the set/model.

walkway design 2

The arena space is no different apart from it is a circular balcony design. Again I’m using the mesh floor but have designed it so it is made from interlocking pieces, partly for building purpose and partly because it creates and interesting pattern. This will have a rusted metal finish like the doors and railings that I designed a few weeks ago. The image below shows a quarter section that will be repeated all the way around the perimeter of the space.

arena walkway for model 2

The production designer has to design or oversee the design of all features of the space including any fixtures and fittings. These are designed during the pre-production phase.

 

 

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Completed White Card Model:- Medical research centre reception

The white card model for the reception is now complete. The photos show some of the construction process and completed images with a selection of views. I will add some further details and information concerning the green screen area next and complete some visuals to show what this will look like in relation to the model. I will also look at various ways that this set could be produced using CGI.

white card model a

white card model b

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Practicalities of Green Screen 1

I thought it was important to understand the green screen process, particularly within the sound stage environment as I am designing a set that incorporates green screen elements. I looked at various videos and books and came up with a few pointers in terms of what is needed.

The position of the green screen:– This needs to be at least 8 ft from the actor being filmed (though video suggests 10-15 ft)

Lighting:- Both the screen and the actor have to be lit. The best results can be achieved by using a three-point lighting set up to lit the screen as evenly as possible.

Green Screen:- Needs to be hung in such a way that there are no or few creases or shadows that will make the post-production process more difficult. Fabric needs to be non reflective.

Footage:- Two sets of film footage is needed, one of the actor in front of the green screen and one that is replacement footage such as a matte painting or scene.

(BYRNE, B., 2009)

A good colour for a green screen is anti-reflective Rosco chroma key green, this provides the cleanest green screen  (info at http://greenerystudios.com/green-screen-studio/)

 

greenscreen_graphic

Image available at http://www.innovativethinking-inc.com/greenscreen.html [sourced on 29/06/2014]

 

I also found a video that explains some of the processes.

My problem is that the area that needs to be green screened is the ceiling. I found some studio images showing part of the ceiling screened but there needs to be lighting rigs and the image shows this.

green_screen_sm

Image available at http://www.halastudios.com/studio/studio.html [sourced on 29/06/2014]

The question is, is there a way to green screen a ceiling and allow lighting or does the scene need to be pieced together filming several scenes with more than one green screen shot? Or, does the screen even need to extend that far?

This studio image below  shows a green screen ceiling with lighting rigs in front of the screen. I need to research this further in terms of the practicalities and find out how easy it is to film this and whether the lighting rigs would just be digitally painted out like the scaffolding support was in Inception.

l

Image available at http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/greenery-studios-burbank [sourced on 29/06/2014]

 

References:- BYRNE, Bill. The Visual Effects Arsenal. Oxford: Focal Press, 2009.

Visual References:-

http://greenerystudios.com/green-screen-studio [sourced on 29/06/2014]

http://www.innovativethinking-inc.com/greenscreen.html [sourced on 29/06/2014]

http://www.halastudios.com/studio/studio.html [sourced on 29/06/2014]

http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/greenery-studios-burbank [sourced on 29/06/2014]

 

You Tube :-

 

 

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Location Choice and Alteration

I revisited an area that was a potential location for a night scene. In this scene one of the characters wanders the streets reading old newspapers and visiting a dirty burger bar. Shadwell provides a lot in terms of a slice of London with its cosmopolitan shops, railway, views of surrounding buildings, brickwork etc. It’s a fairly self-contained area that could be shut off for filming as it’s not a main thoroughfare. There are plenty of side streets for parking and access for electric. I will have to look into the times of the trains that run into the night as this might cause problems in terms of noise, however a few trains might add to the dirty urban feel of the scene. Below are a few photos of potential areas of alteration, including CGI. I also gathered useful measurements and guidelines for heights.

location shadwell

 

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Floor and Ceiling Detail for Medical Research Centre 2

Once I’d designed the floor for the main reception space I did a white card mock-up of part of the room to see what it would look like. These pictures show some of the wall positions in relation to the ceiling and floor designs.

final ceiling board

reception floor 1

I also finalised the ceiling design for the arena space below, with the position of the metal wheel, tops of columns and various girders. There is going to be a void in the centre which could provide extra light.

ceiling 1

 

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