Vitruvius: Set Development Update

The main set for the Vitruvius project was constructed between April and May 2006. The following is a general description of the process and some photographs.

Materials used:

  • Pink insulation board for making set mock-ups, the background hills and buildings
  • Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty to cover the insulation that make up the background hills
  • Acrylic modeling paste for smoothing out areas that were too textured from the water putty
  • Balsa and pine wood for constructing the temple ruins
  • Epoxy putty (called Quick Wood at Home Depot) for detailing and smoothing some parts of the set pieces
  • Shades of green and brown acrylic paint
  • Poly-fil and spray adhesive for making foliage and wire covered in liquid latex for tree trunks (see previous post)

The stage is made out of pine and mounted to a metal shelving unit on wheels. I used insulation board and hot glue to mock up some architectural ruins and explored composition by using the camera viewfinder to check for positioning. For the initial test of the stage and materials I used pink insulation foam and water putty to make a sculpted background.

I found the materials and stage to be adequate and proceeded to work out the final design. I sketched rough visuals of set pieces that I would need and compositional arrangements for the overall set design.

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The foreground architectural pieces were made from balsa and pine wood and carved with a Dremel. I chose wood for the foreground elements because it affords some strength and stability during the animation. I also think that wood is easer to modify and repair in case I need to drill, carve or glue things during filming.

Insulation board covered in water putty was used to build up the vertical dimensions of the stage floor, especially to either side of the central area. The idea is to break up the ground from being a totally flat plane which should help the foreground visually blend into the background. The background is made of 3 planes of insulation board covered in water putty. The buildings are also made of insulation board covered in a plaster-of-paris fabric wrap. Everything is smoothed over with acrylic modeling paste and then painted.

For the trees and foliage I used poly-fill and wire coated with liquid latex (see previous post). Once all the set pieces were constructed, textured, and painted, I secured everything with wood glue, hot glue, or screws.

Photos of set development.

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4 responses to “Vitruvius: Set Development Update”

  1. Astonishing! Inspiring! Wow — your set looks just superb. 😀

  2. Well, Sven took most of the superlatives, but that’s just incredible! Stupendous, colossal, insane, sick, bada$$!!

    (Heh, sorry, others will just have to scrape the bottom of the superlative barrel!)

  3. CLEVER. D.G.!!!! Thank you so much for writing this up and posting the photos. It was very helpful to see, I learned a lot. I especially like the way you tried out the compositions for the camera’s eye, not just what looked good to your eyes in general. And the way you got the shadows to fall against the hills was sublime! And the foliage was perfectly rendered to the style of the set. Your work is wonderful.

  4. Well, lets see….no one’s used beautiful yet….BEAUTIFUL!!…truly…..and amazing too…