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Sets & Props

Set for "Abandoned"

The short clip "Abandoned" uses two sets. The first set is an isolated area beside a road in a forest. The forest background is a large colour print of a photo I found on a blog and was lucky enough to get permission to use. The grass is artificial turf. The fence was constructed from balsa wood and painted with a watered-down paint fo darken it. I added the plastic plants around the fence to help it blend in with the photo background. There is a painted wood kerb and the road surface is printed paper.

Abandoned set 1

The second set is inside an animal rescue shelter reception area. The set is constructed from foam board. The board tends to bend when paintied, so it is necessary to paint it on both sides to keep it straight, or use strengthening bars. The window has been recessed to give the wall the illusion of being full thickness. The image outside the window is a colour print, but it is set a few inches back with a white light to give the appearance of daylight.

The door is made from balsa wood. This allowed me to press the door mouldings into the surface. The counter is just cardboard with a few accessories to give it some realism. The posters on the walls, the light switch and the clock also help to set the scene.

Abandoned set 2

doorThe image to the below is the area behind the window. This shows how the window was made to look like it was set in a full thickness wall. The outdoor scenery photo is set behind the window with enough gap to light the area with a daylight globe.

The image to the left is the balsa wood door.

The set floor is colour printed paper on a hardboard base.

Behind the window

Set from "Archery Champion"

Archery Set 1

Archery Set 2

Set for "The Machine"

The MachineThe machine prop in the animation "The Machine" was made with various materials to allow it to function. The main cogs were cut from ply wood. The smaller cogs and the body of the machine were made from foam board. The brickwork for the furnace was made from Das modelling clay. The fittings and accessories were made from sculpy, cardboard and drinking straws.

The set itself was made from foam board with colour printed walls and floors. The door was made from balsa wood with the grain carved in before painting. The pillars were plastic waste popes painted with stone effect paint.The Machine set

The cafe set was also made from foam board with colour printed brickwork and wallpaper. The pavement and lampost were reused from a previous animation. The signwriting on the window was made using wired paper as there isn't actually any glass there. Both sets were built on the same stage to make use of the camera dolly for the pan and zoom effects. All of the props in the cafe are made from plasticine except for the counter which is made from foam board.


Cafe Set

Camera Dolly

Animation Stage

My home-made animation stage now has a camera dolly. The dolly in the attached picture has threaded rod to take the camera back and forth, side to side, up and down, pan side to side, and tilt up and down. I have used M6 rod which means the thread pitch is exactly 1mm. This means a single turn of a handle will give me exactly one millimetre of camera movement. The pan and tilt are both 'pivot' actions and can be used in combination with level up and down or with level side to side to create sweeping camera shots.
In hindsight I should have used longer rods for the back and forth motion and then I could have used a bicycle sprocket and chain rig behind the stage to allow both rods to turn with a single handle.
The aluminium structures above the stage are the gantries I made previously for flying objects.

BBOM SetThe set for "Colin and The Big Book of Magic"

Set LeftThis set was constructed with a hardboard base and foam board walls. There is a gap between the back wall and the outside backdrop to give the windows a more realistic look. The side walls lift out to provide access for animating and adjusting the set. During filming the set is screwed down to the animation stage, but it can be lifted away in one piece.

The wallpaper on the side walls and the floorboards were created on Microsoft Word and printed on a laser printer. The brick back wall was printed from a library photo.

The bookshelf is made from foam board and covered with wood effect printed on a laser printer. The books spines are from a photo library and are held up in cardboard props. The bottles are made from Sculpey and the file boxes are simply made from heavy gauge paper. On the other side of the set there is a basin made from Sculpey, a foam board shelf and a kettle and mug made from Sculpey. The basin and shelf are both attached with screws to support the weight.

The large table is made from wood and stained to keep the wood look. The round table has a hardboard top and is painted. Both are tied down, the larger table with wire and the round table with a screw. The round table has a plastic peg attached to hold the scull figure in place.

Set right side Filming Hands Set left side Bottles

The Set

SetThe Set for "Cake Factory Caper"

The Cake Factory Caper set had just a back wall and floor, no sides. The back wall was built on a sheet of foam board and the floor was simply printed paper placed directly onto the floor of the animation stage. The back wall brick effect is printed paper. The pipes are made from wood dowel with plasticine joints, all coated with copper leaf to give it a more realistic look. It is then held to the board with thin steel wire. The tap, the pressure gauge and the light switch are all made from Sculpey.

This animation required the factory conveyor and "Choc-O-Matic" machine. The conveyor table was made from wood painted to look like metal. The rivets help with this effect. The belt itself is simply made from printed paper. The belt is continuous and goes under the animation stage with a weight to keep it flat. This was to make animation easier. The Choc-O-Matic machine is made from cardboard and foam board Again it is painted to give the appearance of metal. The spinner on the top is made from Sculpey.

The pother props were the cakes, all made from Plasticine, the Sculpey mug and the picture on the wall made from painted cardboard with a laser-printer photo.

Pipes Conveyor Choc-O-Matic Lever

The Whole Set!

Bluescreen filming for "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"


Animation with 'Animate IT' from Aardman Animation.

The Set for Ivor's Birthday

Ivor's Birthday

Street scene for the sort anomation " Ivor's Birthday".

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