Monday, June 30, 2008

A couple crappy snapshots. It's getting to the final-ish stage, finally. Though there's about another 10 pounds of junk to load in there.

When I design/layout the thing, I always use the camera; either look through the LCD viewfinder, or bring snaphots into Photoshop and draw on them. I drew the stack of stretcher frames before I built them. It's kind of funny - the set actually looks a bit dumb in real life. Strange placement of furniture, and tiny little piles of props in a huge set. But when you turn the camera on the thing, it looks good. Must be doing it right, I suppose.

I'm feeding armloads of props into the hungry maw of the set. Still a good whack to come. Though its going to be more random junk than fancy stuff; i.e. quick and easy. Going to start piling crap on the floor next.

The mannikin is the first prop that I just went out and bought. No point trying to make one from scratch.

Also made a bunch of stretched frames. They're tedious to make.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More of less finished the table o' crap that will sit to the left of the painting. Didn't take too long, all said. I'm almost at the point where i'll be attaching these props to the set base, and piling junk on the set base itself; really rounding off the edges with assorted studio debris.

I'm trying to make the painter look like a slob who is indifferent to worldy concerns; I received a suggestion to put old, moldy food with painting supplies. A very good idea. Probably will be hard to notice, but it'll be effective.

A jar full of brushes. Worth the time for one little prop? I think so. Brushes didn't take that long; the first time I do something, it takes ages. Then I get a system, and I can knock them off by the boatload.

Its hard to motivate yourself to work on a weekend when its very hot out. But I can't afford to take the summer off; I am in some kind of a hurry. I also keep putting in 6 hour days, and 12-8 hour weeks. That ain't enough to get this huge project done in reasonable time. Just gonna have to pick up the discipline level.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Too many pictures for a day's work really, but piles of junk are fun to photograph.

I was trying to imply that Cornelisz (the painter) doesn't care about his possessions and tools; hence the paint dripping on books, the mess, etc. So far though, I don't think i've made him look any more slovenly than the average artist.

For the record, I have used books as painting palettes myself before.

I got sick of making bowls/cups out of clay (I don't like the stuff). So a bolted some blanks to a bolt, stuck it in my drill, and used it as a makeshift lathe. Spent too much time on it just for some bowls, but like I said, if it isn't fun, I just can't make myself do it.

Wallpaper book pages make pretty good Sears-portait style backdrops.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Piles of artist junk. Spent most of today working with modeling clay; i've always hated clay, and sculpting in general. Not sure why; prefer wood.

I just made little clay cylinder blanks, and then sanded/carved the pots. I dried them under the oven broiler. I discover that they explode if you leave them in too long. I'd just wait until the first one exploded, and then take them out.

Made a little old table; going to be buried in painterly debris. Notice the missing leg braced with wood blocks. Details like that may never be noticed, but it's hard to motivate yourself to do stuff if it isn't cool and detailed. So its not really a waste of time in that respect. If it was just 'C+' type stuff, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More HDR pics. Bottom one is a bit over the top. Ain't gonna make the film look like that.

Took some more HDR pics. They didn't turn out as well as I hoped; Needs more careful lighting. HDR can be pretty unpredidictable, too. Or at least we haven't done enough of it to become experienced with it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

More books. Very easy, and fast. Quick gratification. Finishing the props for this set shouldn't be too hard, motivation-wise.

The 'Van Ostade' fireplace.

I spent most of today building the big wall opposite this one. Getting pretty damn tired of it though. Didn't even feel like taking pictures. I'm at the hard part; I now know exactly how cool or not cool the thing is going to be, and there really aint much excitement left. Just have to finish the thing.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Did a bunch of stuff today, but nothing worth looking at yet.

I'm happy that this angle is looking good. There was some crappiness going on before. Lighting this thing is going to be touchy; lots of little highlights to be picked out.

The plan is to make huge 2' armatures and greenscreen the suckers in. Should be easy on most shots, but there'll be some challenging ones.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Its hard to tell what will or won't be an important visual element when designing a set; for example, a large section of architectural detailing will seem to be important, but it could very well be less prominent than a little prop that happens to catch the light.

So from here on in, there's going to be alot of moving things around slightly, and taking pictures. All prop making will be very considered from here on in too; the last batch was made without any real reference to the set. Hence some of it won't be used.
Designing sets is pretty hard; i'm still learning alot about it. The best way to do it, still, is to do a mockup with foam core or the like, and even to try lighting it a bit. Every time i've used a 2D drawing, its always ended up biting me in the ass; there are awkward or weak angles that don't make themselves apparent in a 2D design.

For this set, i've been doing mockups as I go along; set something up with crude pieces of wood, then take pictures. Move things around, and repeat.

Been using photoshop for the wall designs; i'll take a picture, then draw lines/curves on it, indicating where the beams and pillars go. Works very well, i've found.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A little 'detail' shot. Dave was right - he said I don't need so much detail in the proprs. The books in the left foreground have embossed spines. Can you tell?

I popped off about three hundred snapshots today; trying to decide on the layout of props. I've planned all along to put in some pillars (see picture with pillars); probably not going to use them though. The point was to create a separation between the painter's subjects (who would be on the well-lit dias) and the painter. But it seems to be happening anyways with the lighting.

Built me up a window shutter. It opens and closes, just like a real shutter! Full opening and shutting action! There's even a little wooden jiggy where you stick a pole to prop the window open.
I wanted to be able to change the light source and composition; otherwise, i've got a bunch of bright squares in all the shots from this angle.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Couple more grainy-ass snapshots. The curves on the wall make the thing look a little elfin Lord of The Rings-ish. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Still snapshots, but with some directional lighting. The little raised platform, in case you're wondering, is m 'dias'; the umplication being that its intended as a stage for props and models for the painter, where it can catch the light.

Gonna be two main types of lighting for this set - this type, in which the dias is emphasized and the painting is thrown into shadow, and noon-type overhead lighting, which will throw a spotlight on the painting and the area in front of the painting. Both types will therefore completely different compositionally.

Curvy enough for you? You know those little flute things where you pull the rod in and out and it makes a loopy dive-bomb-ish sound? Thats the sound I hear in my head when I look at these things.

I'm feeding it some washes of colour; flat oil paint and paint thinner. Would rather be using water based, but it raises the grain like a bastard. The thing is gonna be grey-brown overall; going to be covering up the overly-golden looking wood. I'm also using a deep charcoal grey to shade in areas, impying mold and dampness. Cornelisz needs a dehumidifier in this place.
One of them older HDR pictures, with the painting photoshopped in, just for shits/giggles.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Almost done making the 'right wall'. Lots of curves. Its a bit odd architecturally, but it feels right for reasons I can't articulate. I like the way its working - sort of gestural architecture. Like if Arshile Gorky or Willem de Kooneing designed an interior. Or maybe more MacIntosh.

I just stained the thing in these pictures, so it looks quite dark and blotchy. When it dries, its nice and even; looks like cookie dough.

Pretty soon i'm going to be adding paint; very thin washes of brown and grey to reduce the grain, even out the appearance (a little more graphic and 'cartoony' looking) and make the wood look a bit dead and soggy.

The paint is also going to allow me to pick out details and emphasize parts that need it.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

One more of the HDR pictures that I forgot to post. Whenever I look at my crappy snapshots, I have to remember that they'll look better with proper photography.
Inside the big tower thingy. I might do one brief shot in here. But it won't be seen, generally speaking.

Replanked the big window wall. Its previous state was unappealing. This whole corner is still bothering me; I have plans to fix it though. Hopefully it'll improve.

Pretty much done the 'central tower' thingy. Lots of planks and whatnot and hey hey hey. Went pretty quick - finally learning how to just power through the whole process. Not being too finicky with it either; you can't tell whether or not two pieces join perfectly in [what will be] the darker areas of the set.
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